Has Rock Stopped evolving? Yes It has. Is the Psyche to blame? Could be.

vietcongIt kills me to say it, but I believe that rock n roll has stopped evolving. Listening to my swath of artists over the years and the best genre tag I get it post-this and neo-that. Not to say that I don’t enjoy that because I do. Old Chicago and Delta blues along with the coming of Captain Beefheart churned out The White Stripes. Nuggets, The Velvet Underground, and the 13th Floor Elevators helped influence the Black Angels. The sound of Incubus includes everything from the grunge of Alice In Chains and Soundgarden to the funk of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Primus. Of course these are just small examples in a very, very large pond.

Since I’ve started writing, for almost three years a lot of my top review scores have gone to constancy, reinvention of existing genres, overall energy, and placement. It’s been really hard to say that band X is foraging ahead because of a new technique used or sound heard. I’ll give two specific examples of what I mean.

1. In a past review of the band Rose Windows I say “With its great production dynamics, honed focuses on mood and atmosphere, and narcotic heavy grooves, with The Sun Dogs Chris Cheveyo’s Rose Windows have coaxed a distinct newness out of old classics.” While I was captivated by the listen, it still gave me the same feelings as their influential forefathers.

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2. Even with a debut album in 2015 the same could be said. The band Viet Cong (pictured) sprung out of the remains of Women. Women’s guitarist, Christopher Reimer, sadly passed away in his sleep at age 26. To quote me again “Combining elements of post punk, industrial, drone-rock, krautrock, art rock, and new wave-ish tendencies, Viet Cong is an easy act to become lost in.” Again there’s always a label and or band to follow a certain sound.

While the new rock genre hunt is dead, I have to pose another question to your question. Is this a psychological issue? As music journalists write, do we feel the need to classify and relate it back to something our base feels comfortable with? While we see Pitchfork trying to “push the envelope” a lot of their reviews barely focus on the music. I like to think their pinky fingers are held up high as they plink away on their keyboards, but let’s not turn this into an attack. Do you think we psyche ourselves out when writing and defining to make things easy and comfortable? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Photo credit: By Joecuba (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

2 comments to “Has Rock Stopped evolving? Yes It has. Is the Psyche to blame? Could be.”
  1. Pingback: Rock Rolls On. Or Not… | Rocknuts

  2. Gotta love the Beefheart! I think it’s really hard to know what’s going to withstand the test of time. Did people really think Buffalo Springfield would be just as popular today as they were 40 years ago? There are going to be rock bands that define this era, I just don’t think we can discern them yet…

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