In fact, it has sucked on a consistent basis for about ten years now. Seriously, I challenge any of you reading this to tell me about an album or an artist that has genuinely excited you since 1997. And hell, I’m being generous here. Realistically, I should say nothing interesting or worthwhile has happened to rock-n-roll in a good fifteen years. Think about that for a minute. The last time rock-n-roll music had an impact on our culture socially, politically, and economically, was fifteen years ago. Good lord, Dubya’s daddy was still in the White House the last time anybody gave a shit about rock music.
Don’t even think about pulling that “Oh, he’s just an old man and doesn’t understand or appreciate todays’ music” card. Fuck that. Even 13-year olds are bored to tears by the banal, derivative shit clogging up CD racks and the iTunes store these days. A good friend of mine is a guitar teacher with several students in middle school. Know what they ask him to teach them? Beatles songs, Metallica songs, AC/DC songs, Alice in Chains songs, do I need to go on?
Let’s say you’re a 14-year old kid in 1992. You go down to the record shop and start flipping through the “new release” racks: Pearl Jam-Ten, Alice In Chains-Dirt, Soundgarden-Badmotorfinger, U2-Achtung Baby, Pantera-Vulgar Display of Power, Nirvana-Nevermind, Jane’s Addiction-Nothing’s Shocking, Rage Against the Machine (self-titled), Stone Temple Pilots-Core, Nine Inch Nails-Pretty Hate Machine, just to name a few. All amazing albums by great bands, each with a distinct sound.
Now, let’s say you’re a 14-year old kid in 2006 (to be fair, we just entered 2007 after all). You go down to your local big-box electronics retailer and peruse the “new release” CD racks, or you log on to the iTunes store and start browsing: My Chemical Romance-The Black Parade, Fall Out Boy-From Under The Cork Tree, Panic! At The Disco-A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out, The Killers-Sam’s Town, Evane…..ZZZZZZZZZZZ…….Oh, huh? What? Sorry about that, looks like I dozed off there. Anyway, you get the point. Dull, dull, dull. Over-produced, sugary, empty bullshit. All of it. And don’t even get me started on hip-hop, “modern” country music, and the glorified pop karaoke stylings of American Idol and their crappy talent-show ilk.
Where the fuck is the anger? The desire to inspire people? The will to incite individuals to make real social and political changes to the world? Where are the balls, man??? Yeah, we’ve got some gems in there amongst the festering piles of shit, but you have to dig real hard. The Foo Fighters and Radiohead are still out there producing good stuff, Wilco is genius but their best albums may be behind them, The White Stripes are decent, as are Audioslave, Wolfmother, and maybe a handful of other new bands. That’s where it ends though, kiddies. We’re stranded in a musical wasteland with no end in sight.
Fuck, this depressed me. I’m gonna go put on a flannel and listen to my grunge playlist on iTunes now. Bye.