Sunday, March 6, 2011

2010: A Bad Year for Rock....Or Was It?

I just read the latest issue of Rolling Stone. The one with Bieber on the cover. No...I did not read the article about "the Bieb." I don't care about him.

But, there were two articles that caught my attention.

The first and most obvious one was the concise, honest and passionate history of my favorite band, the Clash. I know the story nothing new for me except a couple pictures I had not seen. However, two thoughts here. One, if you don't know much of the Clash or their records, read the article. You may find yourself compelled to check them out. Two, the last line of the story says, "The tragedy of the Clash is that we no longer allow the room for their sort of voice."

Which leads me to the other story in the magazine that caught my attention - a story outlining how in the entire history of rock, 2010 was a commercial low. Rock. OK...not dance, country (or what passes for it these days), pop, techno, rap or anything like that. Rock. Rock and roll has hit an all time low in terms of selling music. The article goes on at some length as why this is and that rock bands actually can do well by just touring and/or releasing their music on their own via the Internet. However, it's disconcerting to know that frickin' ROCK AND ROLL is not something the American public wants to hear enough to buy records. That's just depressing. Of course, it may just be the thing the doctor ordered as often when things get stale, boring and predictable...along comes a blast of aggressive great music. See the UK in the late 1970s or the USA in the early 1990s.

Anyway, the article does not mean there were not some really good rock and roll albums out new in 2010. For example, check these sets out if you have not:

  • The Gaslight Anthem - American Slang
  • Manic Street Preachers - Postcards From A Young Man
  • The Courteeners - Falcon
  • Sound of Guns - What Came From Fire
  • Vampire Weekend - Contra

Throw in new ones in 2011 already by Social Distortion (Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes) and British Sea Power (Valhalla Dancehall) and things are not all that bleak for the last 12-14 months.

Oh, and finally, there were two other really good stories in the same issue: apparently Bevis and Butt Head are coming back as a TV show and Matt Tiaibbi's expose on why key figures on Wall Street are not in jail.

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