From day one, rock and roll was never meant to be the most comfortable genre. Since it was the kind of music that made parents think Elvis Presley was the devil incarnate, we didn’t listen to these records just for easy listening in the background. This kind of music had the power to change the world, and some may have tried to use that power for evil.
Outside of the rock and roll genesis, there are plenty of tracks on the more ominous side of the spectrum. Whether it’s the story that unfolds in the lyrics or the way the song is constructed, these are much scarier than the traditional party songs that many of us were used to back then. And funny enough, not all of them necessarily fit into the metal category either.
While some of the greatest metal bands of all time have earned a spot on this list here and there, the toughest songs don’t need to rely on distortion and screaming vocals to get their point across. . All they need is some music to really get you off your feet. Music is always meant to put you in a certain headspace when you listen to it, and we’re about to enter some dark material on the horizon.
When talking about the most dangerous rock and roll ever made, Tom Petty doesn’t automatically come to mind. For most of the new school, it’s the kind of rock from the heart you’d expect from someone like Bruce Springsteen back in the day. Again, even the Boss never had the guts to accept a track like Something Big.
From the first licks, it’s a far cry from anything like Here Comes My Girl, with the whole thing feeling like you’re in some sort of drunken haze. Once Tom opens his mouth, the lyrics are extremely serious, about a man on the wrong side of the tracks who was finally caught up in his demons. Even though he worked to build himself up, his shady practices came back to bite him, leaving him completely helpless in a motel room.
Nor is it some sort of metaphor on Petty’s part. Just wait for the last verse and you actually get the autopsy of the man’s corpse and the authorities attribute it to another idiot who was working on something big. Since a song like Refugee was the previous album, it might as well be a song from an old western. In just a few years, Petty grew up and inherited the genre of writing reserved for someone like Johnny Cash.