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When it comes to rock critics, nothing new under the sun

Posted by Chance on August 30, 2006

I used to read music magazines; I don’t anymore. This was about from 2000 to 2004 or so. One recurring theme I noticed is that critics complained about how there was no good rock music anymore. They talked about how groups needed to come and save rock. When garage rock was popular, Spin or Rolling Stone would talk about how the Strokes or the Hives were the new saviors of rock (actually, it was new saviors of rock with a ‘?’, I suppose to keep us in suspense.) They went on and on about how true rock was dead, and how certain groups were going to come along and revive rock ‘n’ roll.

I thought, man, music must really suck for this time period.

But then I bought an NME (a popular rock mag in Europe I suppose), which had a collection of all the articles about U2 that magazine had written since about 1979 or 1980 up to the All That You Can’t Leave Behind album and tour, around 2001/2002. It was interesting to see them talk about U2, especially in their early days, not knowing how big they were going to be.

In this magazine, I got a sense of the same stuff I was reading in modern magazines. “Rock was Dead.” “Was U2 the new savior of rock?” Same old stuff throughout the entire period of U2 (1980 – now). If there was actually a rock music crisis, I could understand. But when the same rhetoric about rock needing a revival is carried on throughout decades, their complaints seem less genuine.

So is rock music going through a crisis today? It is really hard to tell. It may be that I am getting older and am not with the latest fashions, watching MTV or the local radio station or whatever, but it seems that there is no coherent music scene. Or whatever music scene there is, it is centered around hip-hop, or pop heavily influenced by hip-hop. I could be wrong, but it seems that the most common groups I hear about are hip-hop groups, who I will not even try to name, because I will probably list groups no longer around.

There is good music around though. In a previous post, I expressed a satisfaction with the adult contemporary stuff they were playing on the radio. I did not realize though that it was mostly one station playing that stuff, until it went away. Now the radio stations where I live are total crap.

Many blame media conglomerates for decreasing radio quality. I think they are right. Part of this problem is due to more relaxed FCC regulations. However, I don’t think the answer is to tighten these regulations again (after all, if an owner of a private station wants to make a lot of money and send his kids to college, more power to him, he should have that choice). But I think the downward spiraling quality of AM/FM radio has led to satellite radio. Yes, satellite radio costs, but who said someone is entitled to free music? Despite this, increasing satellite radio programming quality will provide competition for AM/FM radio stations, causing them to up their quality again. Or, one could start listening to country. There seems to be no shortage of those stations.

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2 Responses to “When it comes to rock critics, nothing new under the sun”

  1. The Prophet said

    If anything, I think Rock is experiencing a revival now. It may not be a great revival, but just go on MySpace Music, and look up how many bands there are nowadays.

    And the bands aren’t just Rock. There is Emo, Indie & many other kinds of Genres that stemmed from rock.

  2. Chance said

    Yeah, there is plenty of good music, it is just a matter of finding it. You typically will not find it listening to many of the mainstream channels. I say that not to be a snob, but it may have something to do with teeny-boppers being such a large demographic.

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