The art of hard rock sheet music is not really hard to understand. No matter how many ways you try to hijack it, same sex, drugs, and rock and roll seem almost interchangeable since the beginning of time. However, when you think outside the box, you also get some of the strangest quotes in rock history.
Compared to the more accessible love stories found in pop music or the wise old tales of old country music, these songs seem virtually incomprehensible from line to line. For so many words that are shouted at you by the singer in question, they don’t really come together to make logical sense at the end of the day. Again, are they really obligated to do so? I mean, since music is an art form, are these lyrics more about the way they sound than the overt meaning?
While there’s a believable argument there, even these songs feel crazy on those standards, with some of them almost seemingly designed to confuse word-for-word. While it can be easy to write the typical love song or the badass party anthem, these are the songs that are going to give your brain a lot of work.
The transition to Styx as a synth rock band was not something everyone wanted to start with. Seeing how these rock giants had always been castigated by critics, the worst thing they could have done was try to be taken seriously. They did, and the rock world got one of the most confusing “commentary” tracks on Mr. Roboto.
Set in what may or may not be a dystopian future, lead singer Dennis DeYoung begins to buzz endlessly over the terrors that accompany the changing landscape. I mean, right? Since there is so much going on, you have to assume that this is sort of the end result. On the flip side, the message of the consuming nature of tech gets thrown out the window when we start talking about a man pretending not to be a hero, a modern man (?) And the inner workings of a certain Kilroy.
Are you still confused? Don’t worry, the band were too, with Tommy Shaw going on about how he disagreed with the concept from the start. Since DeYoung’s ouster, Mr. Roboto has been removed from most of Styx’s setlists for the foreseeable future. While this is one of their most notable hits, it’s one you only revisit for its unintentional hilariousness in retrospect.