New rock ‘n’ roll: not dead, just boring

Tyler Downing

Maybe I was born in the wrong decade. Or maybe I appreciate rock ‘n’ roll music more than most people these days. But I get kind of depressed when I hear what most people are listening to.

Hip-hop and rap music still continue to dominate the charts for the most part. Nashville-style country music (in other words, pop music with a “twang”) is still very popular. But the most popular rock bands these days do absolutely nothing for me like the vomit-inducing Nickelback, the vapid Coldplay and then there’s the Kings of Leon (who I don’t know how to describe except they’re just really weird, yet somehow manage to be boring at the same time).

And that brings me to the main problem. Rock bands these days are boring. There’s no sense of excitement, danger, originality or integrity.

What happened to the idea of a group of people getting together in a garage and just making a lot of noise and annoying the hell out of their parents? That’s what rock ‘n’ roll was originally about.

Bands like King’s X, Chainsaw Kittens, the Replacements, the Pixies and Husker Du all had something in common. They were, or still are, all great bands who were never quite mainstream because they embraced the idea of rock music as a form of rebellion and they didn’t sacrifice their love of music to become rock stars.

Some of the bands listed above followed the punk rock DIY (do-it-yourself) ethic and made music for independent record labels. The ones who were, at some point, on major labels were either dropped due to lack of record sales or just quit because they were sick of not getting adequate promotion from their labels.

So I was initially wrong. I wasn’t born in the wrong decade. I guess I just care about the integrity of music, rock ‘n’ roll in particular, more than most people.

Perhaps this sounds odd, but I keep having nightmares about generations of kids to come who listen to “music” that’s completely generated by computers with absolutely no humanity intact. You may be laughing now, and I hope I’m wrong about this, but just wait 20 years or so …