Today I saw this random post by a fan (Alex) who posted the following on a blog entitled “rock ‘n’ roll is dead”: “I don’t think it’s a flat plane as regards music. Sure a lot may be produced in every period but I don’t believe or take for granted that the creation of art is separate from the culture or society we live in. It’s kind of a neoliberal position to assume a division between independent creatives and the environment they’re placed in.
What I mean by this is that when people say there’s never been a better time for music, that you can find any band you want on the internet they’re half right. It allows a guy like me to get my music out there (such as it is), but when I ask people to name said bands, well on the off chance that they do, I can’t say I’m impressed.
So much rock music out there is derivative and I say this knowing full well my own music isn’t original. But why? I think the environment isn’t there to innovate, maybe it’s also the fact that rock has reached maturation but a lot of bands are just interested in playing to a scene, sounding exactly like one band or just playing covers.
There’s a limited audience for music, people are more interested in the culture of social media, music isn’t their primary medium for self expression. There’s a whole confluence of factors I’m not smart enough to articulate precisely but we’re living in an age of the rich running corporations have put a stranglehold on culture, corporatised it and made it difficult for artists to break through, this isn’t just in music, it’s in film, literature and beyond culture, in areas like social policy.
What they fail to realise is that profit driven motives are like oil to the water of artistic creation. You have the stagnation of the West via hyper capitalism, a broken system that’s about to collapse under the weight of its contradictions. But in the age of the corporate it muddles on, it’s supported by rank and file. And there’s just a collective willful ignorance, a reaction against art or culture in favour of instant gratification and superficiality, it’s a dynamism or zeitgeist, intangible, certainly not quantifiable for the neoliberal/capitalist informed mentality but there all the same and even more apparent retrospectively.
The same ignorance and crappiness of culture could be seen in the 1930s/40s, there’s very little I like about that era, or in the ultra limited art of the feudal era. Every so often the coporate mentality dominated and then is either broken or implodes under its own weight. So rock reflected a positive moment in human history, it was part of a postive dynamism with respect to the civil rights movements and counter culture of the 60s and since we’re in the age of the “Jerk”, it’s no longer popular.”
I was a big fan of Francis Schaeffer, a philospher that seemed to have a very solid grip on reality: “The consequences and despair of modern man can be found in three areas. alling prey to nihilism or embracing a worldview that offers no hope. The second is found in the fact that he accepts a false dichotomy (what Schaeffer calls an “absolute dichotomy”) between nature and grace. However, the modern scheme is presently a dichotomy between contentless faith (no rationality) and rationality (no meaning).
“All the new theology and mysticism is nothing more than a faith contrary to rationality, deprived of content and incapable of contentful communication. Rationality and faith are out of contact with each other Third, since there is no integration point between rationality and faith man engages in acts of desperation in order to find meaning, namely, he accepts a mysticism which gives an illusion of unity to the whole.
Hence we understand why the influx of eastern religion such as Hinduism, i.e. the New Age Movement has gained such a popular foothold in America today. If there is no hope of a unified field of knowledge one must cling to a mystical world-view that has no rational base but promises hope for the present and the future.
Schaeffer enhances his discussion by contrasting the Christian faith with modern man’s faith which has turned inward. In Christianity the value of faith depends upon the object towards which the faith is directed. So it looks outward to the God who is there in space and time.”
Back to the original question, do I think rock ‘n’ roll has seen its day ? Taking a wild guess, probably not if the world can regain its hope again. To quote Dylan “we were so much older than, I’m younger than that now.” Meeting so many younger artists today, I am encouraged that things may just change for the better.