FEATURE: The Bloated Corpse of Rock Music



sugar-maroon5There is an inherent danger in someone over 30 talking about how terrible music is these days. It’s very easy to distance ourselves from what’s happening in current popular music, because we aren’t really the ones buying records. I just checked the Billboard Hot 100 (which I never, ever recommend doing) and found that though I was actually familiar with some of the songs (mostly because I listen to bullshit Top 40 radio at work), the first item on the list that even slightly resembles a rock song is “Sugar” by Maroon 5. Anyone who’s ever heard Maroon 5 might agree that we’re playing pretty fast and loose with the term “rock” here.  Maroon 5 “rocks” the way Hawaiian Punch “has fruit in it. “Maroon 5 “rocks” the same way Rand Paul will “be president.” If you want to get all SAT-question about it,  Maroon 5 is to rock as Michelob Light is to beer.

So part of the reason that we’re not necessarily in tune with the developments in rock music is because new music is no longer targeted at us (by “us,” I mean “people that get neck pain at concerts from looking slightly up the whole time and would rather be close to the bar than the band at this point in their lives.” I don’t want to give an age range, but we know who we are).

So is it possible that despite our collective efforts to stay on top of things, the kiddies are simply moving too fast for us to keep up? Think of it this way: You have roughly 45 minutes to listen to music. Do you pick a brand new, untested album, or do you listen to something with which you’re more familiar? Kids (10-15 for these purposes) are constantly consuming new music because it’s being marketed to them in a variety of different media, and because literally everything is new to them. Kids are stupid. Look it up.

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I listened to new music from the ages of  8-25 because new music, statistically speaking, was being created for me at that point. At some point, we cut our hair, get a real job (unless you’re me) and we simply don’t have time to consume as much. We are going to have to work a little harder to find new stuff that’s worth a damn. There has been good rock music in literally every year from 1955-2015, so why should the future be any different? So what if it’s not “evolving” in the traditional sense (whatever that means)? It’s not as if new genres are being created every day in cinema, literature and visual art, so why should we expect it from our rock music? The stuff happening right now is as much a part of the rock timeline as anything else, and that’s good enough for me.

There is also a possibility that some of the shittier modern bands were in fact influenced by some of the great artists of the past, but these new bands just accentuated the parts about their idols that sucked.

For example, this isn’t exactly modern, but the Goo Goo Dolls essentially ripped off the entire idea of the Replacements. The whole drunken dirtbag with a heart of gold thing was more or less Paul Westerberg’s M.O. But the Goo Goo Dolls only paid attention to songs like “Unsatisfied” or “Skyway,” and forgot to add the punk edge that evens everything out. Thus, the Goo Goo Dolls are wimpy garbage, though they are ostensibly influenced by one of my favorite bands ever. Mumford and Sons seem to have taken a cue from the Grateful Dead, CSNY and Simon and Garfunkel. These are all artists that I like. Yet I can’t stand Mumford and Sons because I feel like they listened to those artists “incorrectly” and learned all the wrong lessons.

So, in summary, we have four possible realities. Each reality comes with a corresponding timeline in the Multiverse.

1. Rock has stopped evolving, and in about 2 years we will have a Mad Max-esque wasteland where there is a rock music shortage and everyone kills each other in order to get the last scraps.

2. Rock is still evolving, but we’re just not really part of it and have to work extra hard to catch up with it.

3. Rock is evolving, but it is evolving into something awful (see the theory of Devolution).

4. Rock music does not exist now, because it has never existed. The stimuli and feelings we associate with rock music are artificially imprinted on us by a malevolent demon who secretly controls our mind. We have never actually “heard” music in the true sense.

For the record, I’m actually fine with any of those. I am hoping that there is still going to be new shit to write about because otherwise I’d be out of a job. If the demon set me free I’d be fine with that too.

2 comments to “FEATURE: The Bloated Corpse of Rock Music”
  1. Pingback: Rock Rolls On. Or Not… | Rocknuts

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