Soft Rock and Hard Rock

The phrases “soft rock” and “hard rock” are bandied around but how many of us actually know what each is? And what exactly is the difference between soft rock and hard rock?

The music industry is always quick to catergorise music. You can no longer just be into “music” - you must like a particular genre. Nowadays it’s not even enough that you like rock or pop or soul. You have to specify exactly which part of that genre you like!

There are many different sub-genres for each genre of music and many more are created every year. For pop music there is brit pop, indie pop, r’n’b pop and several others. Soul has nu-soul, northern soul, reggae soul - it’s difficult to keep up!

Rock is no different. There’s pop rock, skater rock, punk rock, heavy metal and a whole host of others. Many of these differ completely and some may not even sound like rock music at all! Two of the most easily defined types of rock are hard rock and soft rock.

Soft Rock

Soft rock has all the usual elements of rock music but is more melodic and toned down. The instruments used are the same as in other forms of rock including electric guitars and drums but the music is not as aggressive as hard rock.

There are also recurring themes in soft rock songs such as love and heartbreak.

Soft rock was very successful in the 1980s. Artists involved in the genre were known for their big hair and even bigger ballads!

While it is less popular now it still has a huge fan base, particularly among older music fans.

it is also commonly featured on compilations of 1980s music and themed cds such as ‘drive time’ music.

Soft rock is quite different to hard rock and so too are the fans.

Hard Rock

Hard rock is a much edgier type of rock music and encompasses subgenres like heavy metal and thrash metal. It is louder and more raucous than soft rock and usually avoids themes such as love and romance!

Fans of hard rock range from teenagers to much older people although all share the same passion for rock music.

Hard rock music has not had a particular time period in terms of its popularity but  instead has always had a considerable fan base without being considered ‘mainstream’.

Rock music is a staple of the music industry and whilst it has evolved and developed various sub genres it is still one of the most popular types of music amassing millions of record sales every year.