Is rock dead?

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Dez 26 2008, 13h06

Matt Rowe, music guru at MusicTap.net made a great post recently about the possible "death of rock" music. While I would certainly mourn the death of rock music, there is so much great music from the past 50 years that you could constantly discover new "old" music, and never tire of it.

I have fears that Rock, as many of us have come to enjoy it, will be a sad picture in the decades to come. Here’s my take. In the decades of the past, we have had very noticeable rock bands that we remember to this day. Examples run the gamut of Elvis Presley, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin…the list goes on and on. However, in this time, we have but scant few that can command that kind of notoriety into the future, Coldplay being one of them. But try and tick off on your two hands a list of notable rock stars and bands that have changed our way of listening or that carry the same level of visibility as Led Zeppelin or The Beatles have. Frankly, I can’t do it.

Having stated that, are we witnessing a death rattle of sorts? We have our music and can pass it down – and we have. But the bands these days have no identity. They dress in jeans, same as we do; they act and talk like they’re merged with us. I’d be hard pressed to recognize a Rock Star on the streets these days, whereas, back in the ‘70s, they rather jumped out at you. They were icons. They were style-changers. They were celebrated for not only their music but who they were as personas. I don’t see any of that these days. Yeah, there are some fine bands to listen to. But they never really seem to produce albums worth of memorable songs. Just a good song here and there.

I understand that we live in a new time where music can be made on a laptop, be good, create some fans, and then be gone in a heartbeat because the artists who recorded them couldn’t muster the talent needed to make more of them. Why? Little talent to speak of. There are only rock chords learned rather than creating hybrid chords from Jazz, or R&B, or Blues backgrounds. No basis on which to build. No talent.

There are also little to no talent that is being recognized and nurtured in all of this music. I hear some genuinely great music but it never moves past the chart-toppers and so they lanquish. We tend to blame labels for not fostering bands like Ertegun did at Atlantic. But it isn’t really them, per se. It is the transient love of song that eliminates the shelf life of a promising Rock band. And young adults and teens seem to be happy with the ‘here today, gone tomorrow’ stream of Rock music. Blame iPods, blame younger audiences, blame labels, or blame whatever else seems to work, the bottom line is that young adults these days don’t need the definition of a single band to underscore their lives. It’s all a Various Artists soundtrack to them. They won’t look back and remember a band like we remember Led Zeppelin because there are none as well defined as Led Zep in this time. U2, you say? Hangers-on from the ‘80s. Rolling Stones? Working off a successful catalog of hits.

Today’s music is a product of the time it represents. And today, younger audiences are there for the experience, much less the lasting ability of song. Fix that, and we might be able to create a wider bridge. But, Rock isn’t going anywhere; it just changes its face. Recognizable to the youth that it sells to but not to us older people who can only remember the way it ‘used to be.’

Was there a point to all of that? Yeah, I miss Rock in its more diverse, experimental style. It was challenging, it was fun to listen to, and it made heroes for us. I see a lack of that these days. And there shouldn’t be.

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