The age-old question: what is the real difference between being a rock star and a pop star?

With notable exceptions (i.e., Madonna, Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus), pop stars are usually seen as more acceptable to the mainstream (thus, pop...ular) because the lyrics are profanity-free and uplifting, melodies are pretty, and you see their squeaky-clean faces all over TV entertainment shows and magazines.

Examples like Taylor Swift, the Jonas Brothers, and Katy Perry come to mind.

Rock, on the other hand, is vile, dirty, and drug addled. And loud. Like Guns 'N' Roses, Motley Crue, and Black Sabbath.

IMHO, I think the answer to the question lies more in the basics. Can they pull it off live? Sure, Guns 'N' Roses, the Rolling Stones and even Metallica have added to their live performances with additional musicians -- maybe even an orchestra. But at the end of the day, strip them down to the basic guitar, bass, drums and vocals situations and they can still kick your ass live.

Pop artists, on the other hand, often "track" their shows. Even when their backing band is actually playing live, the star is simply lip-syncing along while they prance around the stage. With that in mind, I feel safe in saying that the major between rock and pop comes down to one word: TALENT.

To back up my theory, I give you a pop superstar Britney Spears and what she REALLY sounds like live (if you could actually hear her over her recorded 'track') vs. up-and-coming rocker Taylor Momsen from The Pretty Reckless, stripped-down and unplugged.


TAYLOR MOMSEN (of The Pretty Reckless)

Notice a difference? Yeah. I thought so. OK, so it's only one performance, but probably typical of both. Which one would you pay your hard-earned money to see? Without all the studio tricks, that is.