Monday, December 04, 2006

Rock and Roll is Dead (?)

(here's a little rant that some might find interesting. i think it's poorly written and off the mark, but do tell what you think. -- brook)


Rock and Roll Is Dead
"Rock and Roll is dead." So says Robert D. Rayford (sic). You remember him? Scourge of morning talk radio, descending on an unsuspecting sleepy-eyed public long enough to dispense 45 seconds of his half-assed opinion and he's off again until tomorrow. Oh yes, and we're to take his word as gospel because he announced some baseball games 30 years ago. But I digress.

Today he was touting some article (unfortunately we don't have a copy of said article or we'd post it --Ed.) in which the Rolling Stones were held up as pariahs for continuing to make music and tour even though they're in their 50s (actually, Mick is 63 this year -- brook). Specifically they were lambasting Mick's continued lewd behavior and saying this was a symbol of pop music's decline. "Boy, I'll say," Robert announced. "Pop music's horrible. Sure wasn't like back in MY day, the Fifties."

I'll get to that obvious logical fallacy in a moment. First, I'll fully admit that ol' Mick's geriatric gyrations are a bit embarrassing nowadays, unless you get turned on by Depends and the smell of Metamucil, but let's not forget that the Stones have been tired since the 80's. "Start Me Up" was the beginning of the end. I'll be "Dancing in the Street" when they finally retire. I mean you can only beat the riff from "Honky Tonk Woman" into so many songs before people are gonna catch on. But if people want it, who cares? If you're going to blame them for anything, blame them for wanting to continue to make money. They still sell out concerts and sell millions of albums. "Gosh Keith, I've been thinking about it, and people are still paying us millions of dollars to rehash the same act we've had for over 30 years. We're making a fortune to stand around and belt out three chords for two hours every few days. I think we should quit this soft gig and go get jobs at Hardee's."

As for pop music in general, when the hell has it ever been good? I mean something very specific here. Pop music is, by definition, music that is popular. NOT music that's good. "Look at pop music nowadays," you say . Brittany Spears, Ricky Martin, Matchbox 20--yeah, it's fucking godawful, noone's arguing with ya there, pal. "What about the pop music in my day? Wasn't that so much better?" you continue. Well.......hell no it wasn't. When was your day? Five years ago? You had Ace of Base, The Real McCoy, and, well, Matchbox 20. Ten years ago? You had C+C Music Factory and Vanilla Ice. Twenty years? Did you like pina coladas? Well surely thirty years ago? Two words, pinhead: Captain and Tenille.

Do I have a point? Sure. Pop music sucks. It's ALWAYS sucked. It always WILL suck. From the days of Patsy Cline to the current onslaught of this fake Latin nonsense. Rayford of course made the logical fallacy of ascribing value to something merely because it was what HE experienced. Oh, sorry Bob, since that was what YOU had growing up it must have been choice. I'm burning my Screaming Headless Torsoes CDs and buying up some George Jones or whatever the hell you were listening to. Here's a question: who in the history of the freaking world ever grew up saying "man, all this music I'm listening to sucks pipe. I'm just gonna hunker down and wait a generation or two and see what THEY'VE got." No. Why? Because they were all busy screaming their heads off at Deep Purple concerts and Smashing Pumpkins Unplugged. Everyone thinks that the music they grew up listening to is THE music that defined whatever genre. Everyone thinks they're the stars in the movie of the universe, that only what they hold has value. But now I'm starting a different rant.

A note--too many people are going to, because they're idiots, confuse 'pop music' with 'rock and roll'. A simple glance at the radio station listings will tell you this isn't so. So now I get to bitch about rock and roll. It isn't dead, but it's lucky to be treading water right now. There are a finite number of chords in the world, and only a limited number of that to be realistically used in rock, and we've nearly maxed out the Credit Card of Creativity (yes that analogy sucked --Ed.); there's a reason why covers are practically required by law nowadays. But perhaps its sole saving grace is its ability to turn itself into an ideal rather than a style. Rock is, some people will say, just about rebellion, about finding a voice for the young, about spitting at the establishment.

Now personally I think this is bullshit, and just an excuse to justify putting OMC on 99x. Rock is a musical form and nothing else. The ideal of rebellion -is- rebellion. It accepts the current pop music simply because older people don't like it, and any actual merit it has is entirely incidental. (A month after writing this I read Milan Kundera's Immortality, and ran across a better articulation of this in chapter 14 of part 2 --Ed) Rebellion may create music, but music is not rebellion. Screaming naughty words to cover your lack of playing ability is not and will never be rebellion. Throwing molotav cocktails through a courthouse window is rebellion. Driving a truck through a crowded playground is rebellion. Rock never even started as any form of rebellion--it was a marketing ploy that record companies exploited by hiring white boys to play black songs. Rock and roll in the Fifties wasn't anti-establishment at all, it was a product designed to make money by selling records. The melodies were simplistic, the lyrics unchallenging. It was bleached, sanitized, predictable, safe.
Isn't that right, Rayford?

3 Comments:

Blogger Brook said...

(here's a comment that came to my email -- :) -- it's from my Aunt Judy! -- brook)


Brook,
I was there. Listening to R & B, early rock on "colored " radio stations was rebellious and listening on mixed (black and white) stations was down right scandalous. 1954 Brown vs. Topeka Board of Education. I tried to give a current event oral report on this in American history class at Clearwater high and was stopped by the teacher and told I could not discuss it!
She was not mean about it, gave me credit for the assignment. I felt she was afraid. I was afraid. It radicalized me. Been a civil rights activist forever. Elvis was banned from our high school dances. Of course we all went out an bought his records.

After the civil rights thing there was the war. GIVE PEACE A CHANCE was very rebellious for the times. Singers of peace songs were investigated and spied on by our own government. There were tons of anti war songs. We had things that needed to be rebelled against. Too bad today's angst isn't channeled better.

Charlie Watts is so cool. Always was, always will be.

Love, Judy

Tuesday, December 05, 2006 9:51:00 AM  
Blogger tony not Tony said...

(mick has granny flab under his upper arms that is more disturbing than anything in his lifestyle.)

... someones cd collection (nee record collection) is an absolute 1 to 1 indicator/qualifier of their integrity and quality as a human being. use it as a litmus test. when you meet someone new, dont look into their eyes or try and get a first impression on character without first checking the visors in their car and look at the contents of the cd holder velcroed above them. check their radio presets and the mp3 "recently played" menu or "favorite playlist". (they are usually the same folks who attend movies with roman numerals attached to the titles, so dont do an expensive background check, just check their blockbuster account.)

also, if you mention your "records" and they look dumbfounded, DO NOT go anywhere with them- private places should be considered potential secondary crime scenes, they could be rapists, or something worse... maybe even politicians...

but alas, rock music may very well be dead, i saw online today that U2 has written an autobiography(U2 on U2- sounds like amateur porno to me)- the end is near.

Thursday, December 07, 2006 7:56:00 AM  
Blogger elizabeth said...

tnotT, your comment on Mick's underarm flab was, as usual, so incisive...pity we can't get him near enough to that remark to actually make a helpful incision with it!

And I just had to type "zfryinxk" to post this. Goddamn outrageous, if you ask me.

Thursday, December 21, 2006 10:45:00 PM  

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