Rock Music: Secularisation and Its Cancellation


  • Deena Weinstein


Postmodern questioning of the sacred/secular binary, when applied to the cultural form of rock music, yields the understanding that rock music is saturated with types of weak religiosity ranging from the use of rock to convey the messages of established religions to the appearance of distinctive forms of religiosity endogenous to rock that involve the relations of artist and audience. The discussion moves from a consideration of religious symbolism and ideas in rock lyrics, through a formal analysis of rock stars as charismatic artist-heroes who are worshipped by their audiences, to an interpretation of the rock concert as a religious ritual. The religiosity found in rock music indicates that in the postmodern condition piety floats free, ready to attach itself through specific forms to a succession of transient contents.