Rock is Dead?

So says Jerry Coyne, but I think he's listening to the wrong stuff.  Using the word "rock" loosely (he seems to be using it loosely too), I think there's plenty of awesome music out there.  Our house playlist (by which I mean, what all four of us enjoy) includes:  Arcade Fire, Animal Collective, Kanye West, Bjork, Sigur Ros, Wilco, PJ Harvey, Joanna Newsom, Grizzly Bear, Alabama Shakes, The Decemberists, Fleet Foxes, The Shins, Daft Punk, The Antlers.  And that's not including the vast amount of music my kids play and that I can't keep track of because I'm soooo old and too obsessive (I tend to listen to the same stuff over and over again).  I don't think I enjoy this music less than I enjoyed Joni Mitchell, The Rolling Stones, Jefferson Airplane, Neil Young, etc., etc., way back when.  In honor of rock, let's have a song. I do truly love this (as well as the entire album):


Aeolus said...

I hate to agree with Jerry Coyne, but he does have a point. There is a reason why the "classic" rock of the Sixties (i.e., roughly 1963 to 1973) was the pinnacle of the form. Rock 'n' roll was in its infancy in the 1950s, its adolescence in the early 1960s, and then exploded with creativity in the Sixties. It was rock's Age of Exploration -- evolutionary radiation, in biological terms. Almost everything since then that could legitimately be called rock has been derivative or filling in little niches. That's not to say there hasn't been good rock music in recent times, but the great age is long gone.

As a vital popular form, rock was succeeded by rap/hip-hop, and while I'm no authority on that, I suspect its best days are over now too.

Jean Kazez said...

Oy! Plenty of music today sounds both terrific and "fresh" to me -- people aren't just applying a Rolling Stones formula over and over again, or what not. Even when there are resemblances (Arcade Fire sounds a bit like Neil Young) I find that so-what-ish. I can get what I want out of music without continually thinking "how ground breaking, how utterly original!" Then again, there is some ground-breaking stuff around--the electronic sounds in Bjork, Sigur Ros, Daft Punk, etc. The level of collaborativeness in hip hop and other music (sampling, featured artists, etc.). PJ Harvey's album "Let England Shake" sounds to me like something completely new--I can't think of any 60s album with anything like the same feel. Also Joanna Newsom--there is no 60s Joanna Newsom. But again--things can just be really good, without breaking new ground. The Decemberists are awesomely good, but I can't see what's stunningly original about them. Alabama Shakes--great, but Janis Joplin-ish. So...what?

I would be surprised if anyone who really loves rock music felt "the great age is long gone", so may I ask...what do you listen to?

Dave Ricks said...

My favorite thing about the mockumentary Yacht Rock is the mythological hero theme of Kenny Loggins mentoring Michael McDonald to maintain the status of Relevant Pop Star as the music changes from the 1970s to the 1980s.  Loggins and McDonald ultimately achieve the status of Immortality on PLANET EIGHTIES, a.k.a. THE EARTH.