Angry Robot

The War Against Rock

This is a war we can win. In fact, we may have already won. Agents from rap,
r n’ b and pop (and to a lesser extent country) have worked together and
rooted out the rock networks from the charts, clubs and the hearts of the
fans. Rock is dead!

(By rock I mean blues-based, electric-guitar-centered music, typically performed and
composed by the same band. By “dead” I mean no longer culturally relevant, like jazz. By “is” I mean “is” [I think].) Look at the <a
href=””>Billboard top ten:
there are two rock acts, Slipknot and Hoobastank; one of which is a
borderline novelty act and the other I know nothing about.* Avril Levigne is
an example of non-rock: all the attitude of rock, without all that rock!

Charts alone don’t say it all; things can be non-profitable but still influential. Rock is not one of those
things. The rock market as it exists now consists of:

Also, there is the indie-rock market. Sorry to burst our bubble here, but
indie-rock as a cultural force is about as powerful as fans of Magic: The
Gathering. It’s a closed circuit, a soliloquy that no longer informs any
other field. Like jazz, or “classical.” More evidence here.

The age of rock is over. Not that it’s a good thing. Hip hop and its
retarded little sister R n’ B have taken over, and with precious few
exceptions all they have to say is “hey lookit me.” The guitar has been
replaced. Some would say by the piano, and look for a return of the golden
age of songwriting. It would be more accurate to crown the computer our new
overlord. But all that doesn’t matter: my point isn’t that rock fans should give up and start worshipping Squarepusher or something. Listen to whatever you like. All I’m saying is: rock is dead.

*since I drafted this, Velvet Revolver debuted at No. 1 in the top 10. I’d say they fit in the has-been section, wouldn’t you? However, it fucked up my paragraph to mention it up there, so here we are.

5 comments on "The War Against Rock"

  1. king says:

    I think the biggest problem facing rock these days is that now, more than ever, people need to dance — and rock has proved itself fairly useless in that regard. Where are the beats that’s gonna bring it all together?

  2. lucy says:

    I agree king. I’ve heard rock mixed with beats on several occasions & it sounds pretty rad. Dspot & I heard Seven Nations Army mixed with beats one night & it was sweet.

  3. D says:

    As long as it’s dance culture appropriating rock, we’re fine. Rock’s been trying to appropriate dance music forever, and always fails. It shouldn’t be given another chance.

  4. Mia Cerlar says:

    There is nothing “dead” about rock. You mentioned yourself that Velvet Revolver got to number one in the US billboard charts-to do so people must like them. As for the fact they are “has-beens”-Slash, their guitarist, is unquestionably one of the best guitarists that is still around today. As long as he can continue to play in such a wonderful manner, there is nothing has-been about him, not matter how long he has been around for.

    Whilst the majority of rock music may have dissapeared from the charts (for a short while only!), there are still many bands around today, that get good reviews and at least some of the recognition that they are worthy of-Muse, for example.

    Good rock music may now require more searching for, but this is not because it is no longer around, merely because it doesn’t get the airplay on popular radio stations that it deserves.

    Rock music (at least the majority of it) requires far more talent, inspiration and musical ability than any dance music.

    Rock music is still very much in the hearts of many-take a trip into town any day and you will see an ever-increasing number of “goths” and “moshers”-most of whom, if asked, will speak with more than an average passion for the music that they listen to.

  5. D says:

    As stated above, by “dead” I mean no longer culturally relevant, like jazz. There are plenty of jazz musicians playing excellent music that reaches a devoted audience. However, jazz is less culturally relevant than, say, house music. Obviously it’s hard to measure cultural relevancy, and you may have a different measure of it, but please don’t tell me you think Velvet Revolver are culturally relevant. That doesn’t have anything to do with the quality of their music, of course.

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