A genre of rock music that has had different meanings over time, but which generally describes bands who meet the following criteria:
1. The music is driven primarily by power chord
s, and focuses less on complexity and musical talent and more on radio-friendliness and the emotional impact it has on listeners. As such, butt rock has never been a hit with critics, but it has always enjoyed mainstream popularity.
2. The songs fit into one of two molds -- hard-rocking tracks designed to get the crowd pumped and "rocking out," or slower power ballad
s that are meant to attract female fans. Both types of songs are best played in an arena, which is why they are popular at pro wrestling events.
3. The subject matter of the lyrics tends to be about kicking ass, getting laid, auto racing, hedonism, and other "manly" subjects. Rebellion is also a common theme, with authority figures like cops, teachers, and parents all being portrayed as not understanding their needs. The exception is the aforementioned power ballads, which are often about loss, love, drug abuse, and other, "heavier" subjects. The lyrics in both types of songs are often misogynistic, with women portrayed as either sex objects, harpies, or home-wreckers.
4. The fanbase tends to be frat boys and working-class men between the ages of 16 and 40.
In the '80s, butt rock was used to describe the mainstream hair metal
bands that were popular on MTV
, such as Twisted Sister
, Motley Crue
, and Poison
. This type of music was popular from the early-mid '80s through the first years of the '90s, when it was driven out by grunge
. In the late '90s, butt rock made a comeback in the form of post-grunge
. Bands like Creed
, Puddle of Mudd
, and others came to dominate the modern rock radio charts. These bands had similar music to the above-mentioned hair bands, but wrapped it in a radio-friendly grunge flavoring. This type of rock music has persisted in popularity into the present day.
The name "butt rock" has a few possible origins. First, in the 1980s, the musicians in many hair metal bands often dressed in a "glam" style, wearing tight pants that would accentuate their butts. (This may also be the origin of the term "cock rock
," which has the same connotations, as the tight pants would also accentuate the musicians' crotches.) A less flattering origin for the name is that the lead singers of these bands sounded like they were singing out of their asses. Finally, the term can generally mean that the music sounds like ass.
Dude, turn off that butt rock. We're not at the gym.