First and foremost let me stress that I am not suggesting that there has recently been no great music in the aforementioned genres, just that there has been little in what may be defined as timeless contrasted against the previous decade. Phenomenal new rock/indie based music in the last few years has simply been few and far between.
Maybe I’m being unfair, I’m persistently judging against what I like to delineate as the legendary breakout bracket of bands circa 2005. This consists of the Arctic Monkeys, Kasabian, The Strokes, Bloc Party and The Libertines among others which as a collective is yet to be even closely contested in terms of stature.
They are the top tier of excellence; however others such as Franz Ferdinand, The Fratellis, Kaiser Chiefs and I could go on just do not rank on that level for me. A major factor being the lack of notable length and continuous fan devotion during their careers compared to the above. The Killers are likely to be brought up in conflict but I feel they have a distinct and different sound which distances them from said bands.
Nothing as groundbreaking has really surfaced since, although breaking into the charts in contemporary society is less desirable for such groups it still emphasizes the quality if it can appeal to the masses. It is significant how great of a feat it was when past rock band’s permeated into the mainstream audience. Oasis is a great example considering how many number #1’s they acquired during the ’90s when Britpop dominated the scene despite it being what would now be regarded as slightly niche for the pop genre.
It’s all subjective of course but no household names have penetrated the ‘mainstream’ regarding rock genre in recent years, a lot of it is possibly due to the shift in popular music for example when using an umbrella term ‘house’ based music and all its diverse endeavours has been persistently dominant.
You could always sell out like Coldplay did manifesting their original style of music to fit whatever was ‘fashionable’ at the time. It lead to an abundance of criticism from rock/indie fans due to Coldplay’s initial Radiohead-esque potential following their remarkable debut release Parachutes. It’s rather intriguing listening to the themes of each Coldplay album as they all represent which genre of music was prominent at the time. It may be a slightly pretentious assessment but I doubt Chris Martin gives a shit when he’s rolling around in his millions.
Rock music used to massively appeal to the youth, nowadays it seems like the presentation of the overall musical package is more essential than the track itself. Lead signers seem to perform as conformist caricature like figures that allure to the subconscious cravings of the public rather than authentic outfits that rely on the quality of their music to gain a following, current artists often depend on ersatz tactics such as astutely edited videos and clever marketing techniques to disperse their work and become noticed.
The demographic is a huge issue, during the 1960’s where rock was in its heyday everything was new, innovative and intriguing. Nothing captures a myriad attention now, everybody has seen it all before. It’s understandable that innovation is near impossible as topping such predecessors as Bowie is unimaginable. Elements such as the archetypal rockstar seem non-existent; when was the last time a controversial front man launched a TV out a window or trashed a hotel room, since the 90s behavioural displays from the top rock bands have been tame to say the least. Alex Turner dropping a microphone on stage was the most dubious act we’ve witnessed in years.
The fans also arguably pose unneeded problems regarding the popularising of artists, the infatuation with discovering talent and placing one’s self on a pedestal overrules the simple enjoyment of the music being produced. A subject that can be discussed in due course.
I’m not here to offer a solution, I just pray an inspiring group burst onto the scene once again making adolescents spend all their time picking at a guitar in hope of mastering The House of the Rising Sun. The shift in demographic is a huge affair, once somebody comes along who epitomises rock and roll others will follow. After all; if Elvis gave up when many screamed how awful rock was, where would we be now?
Consider this in relation to the demographic; if the Arctic Monkeys released their debut album tomorrow would it be as popular as it was in 2006? No chance, that particular style which infatuated youth back then is not currently enticing. Rock and roll never dies, it will return in the near future in all its previous glory. Please hurry.