Monday, 29 December 2008

The death of rock and pop

There are few surer ways of winding up people under thirty than being over thirty and telling them rock and/or pop is dead. When Rolling Stone published their best 500 (or was it 100 or 1000 or...) greatest albums of "all time" (world history having begun, as every fool knows, in 1956) a few years back and picked a top ten from 1965-79, all hell broke loose. Admittedly there were some turkeys in there - I mean, Rubber Soul in the top five? way above Kind of Blue and Horses? - but it was the dates, not the selections, that riled.

And you can see the point. Lots of people (most people?) stick with whatever happened to be big when they were 18 for the rest of their lives. And if you are 18, then Kings of Leon really are - by that criterion - as good as The Velvet Underground.

However, the "rock is thriving" argument took a palpable hit with this year's Xmas singles chart. To have the same 1980s song in first and second place shows a bankruptcy which is all new. Granted, "Hallelujah" is a terrific song. But what a lack of creativity and achievement is this. One of the versions is a talentless bit of tat by a talentless show winner, the other is so old the guy who sang it is (tragically) dead.

If rock/pop are dead (or at least played out) this is an interesting point in its own right. I'll keep on the look out for any more actual evidence, and not just as a wind-up.

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