Rock ‘n’ roll’s not dead. It’s sitting right at number 2 on the iTunes singles chart.

I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t see it coming. Don’t get me wrong, I liked Walk the Moon’s first single, “Anna Sun,” as much as anybody. I’ve always been a huge fan of The Killers, Franz Ferdinand, Bloc Party and those other new wave revivalists, so if a band can take the characteristics of these bands — huge choruses, disco-influenced backbeats and rough lyrics about “towns” and/or needing to get out of them — and distill them skillfully into a new four-minute composition, my acceptance is basically a given.

That said, I didn’t expect to hear much more from Walk the Moon after “Anna Sun.” It was one of those huge songs that felt like a big hit if you listened primarily to the Alt Nation channel on Sirius and drove around with friends who’d sing along when it came on that station. I put the track on my iPod thinking that in a short time I’d scroll across the title and it would stick out like that guy who wore a Mitt Romney mask to last year’s Halloween party.

Then I heard “Shut Up and Dance” when it was first released, and it pretty much confirmed my prediction. Bland guitar chords, a catchy cookie-cutter chorus and no signs of innovation — this song wouldn’t last the rest of the month. Bands come out with new singles every day, and “Shut Up and Dance” didn’t have what it would take to avoid quickly getting lost in the shuffle.

That was August 2014, and in the subsequent seasons, Walk the Moon slowly slipped out of my consciousness. I didn’t listen to the radio at school, and I got caught up in other new releases — very few of which were from rock bands. I even, regretfully, deleted “Anna Sun” off my iPod.

But, like the whispers of that secret you knew no one would ever find out about, “Shut Up and Dance” came back to me. First, it was innocuous enough for me to dismiss — I caught the closing notes as I walked into a store, and I picked it up from a passing car on State Street. Then, my Twitter timeline seemed unusually excited for Walk the Moon’s show in Detroit back in April — an interesting blip on my radar, but not much more.

Finally, not long after the concert, I go to a party and pretty good music is playing, but nothing out of the ordinary — the great ’00s nostalgia trips and the best hits of this school year. Suddenly, the choppy opening guitar notes of “Shut Up and Dance” echo around the room. I’m confused, but people are dancing. Everyone seems to know this song. And everyone seems to love this song. And everyone screams along to the chorus, because why the hell wouldn’t you scream along? After way too much denial, I realize this plain old rock song is a fucking hit.

Now, I stand by what I said — “Shut Up and Dance” is a cookie-cutter rock song. The four-on-the-floor beat (God bless it), a singer declaring “this woman is my destiny” and a breakdown with the inevitable audience-clapping already inserted (genius!). However, “Shut Up and Dance” doesn’t work despite these clichés, but because of how effectively it executes them, and how great it feels when you can dance and sing along with them. That golden drum beat conducts your body and moves it exactly how it needs to; those audience cues will just ratchet up the anticipation and make everyone’s hearts that much more explosive when you hear it live. And Nick Petricca sells those lyrics with every molecule of air that comes out of his mouth, singing like he’s the first guy ever to call a woman Juliet and fall in love with her at first sight, like he’s losing his virginity and falling in love and getting married and raising children all on that dark, crowded, slippery discotheque floor. And then that refrain just tops it off. There’s no comeback to “Shut up and dance with me!” If you say anything in response to a command that joyful and assured, you’re a gutless asshole.

And even though I admit I was wrong when I first judged the song’s quality in the solitude of my car, I still have no idea how “Shut Up and Dance” made it to the mainstream. This is a song that came out last summer that’s finally peaking and poised to take over 2015’s season of sunshine.

And it was an indie rock song, of all things, from a band with little previous pedigree or name recognition. At the risk of sounding curmudgeonly, right now is kind of a dead period for rock bands. Of course, plenty of bands are making great music, but it feels like ages since rock has been a regular on Top-40 radio. Hip hop, country and even EDM have all earned well-deserved greater relevance today.

That said, I still see rock poking out here and there. I hear it in music ostensibly made for kids, like One Direction’s “Little Black Dress” or Five Seconds of Summer’s “She Looks So Perfect.” (In fact, the girl of “She Looks So Perfect” could very well be the girl of “Shut Up and Dance” before she got a fake ID and traded in boys’ American Apparel underwear for a backless dress and some beat-up sneaks.) And I hear it when our generation’s few alt-rock classics suddenly surprise a room, when “Mr. Brightside” comes on and everyone gets shocked and disoriented by euphoria. I suppose “Shut Up and Dance” just had the power and resilience to beat at the walls of the charts until it was heard, and I suppose that even if rock keeps getting topped on the pop charts, it’ll always be around, waiting to be heard. Because as soon as we hear it, we know it’s our destiny.

Theisen is now reevaluating All Time Low. To reminisce, e-mail ajtheis@umich.edu

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