No they were not trapped in a time capsule. This really is a song from 2004. But this is one of the most anthemic 80’s rock ballad I have heard in the past decade and I am really disappointed that what we called Rock today is really just a version of pop. Or do you really believe in Coldplay? At the very least, the definition of what mainstream media thinks rock music is has changed.
The MTV effect which occurred in the late 80’s when video killed the radio star was as follows. Epic rock stars (even if they were balding) who made great music while wearing bandanas were replaced by choreographed dancing and catchy tunes from pop music. Once MTV decided that it was possible to just show pretty people playing or ahem… pretending to play music, that ruined things even more. And then there was auto tune.
Today, with streaming music and all the hue and cry of albums not selling, the only way it seems anyone is successful is by appealing to the masses. And so we have a string of awful, awful videos with people shrieking and cursing each other all in the name of music. And the definition of Rock music has changed. Is it just semantics? Are people just using the word differently?
The essence of a rock band is drums, guitar, bass and vocals. You need the 4. its a quartet. And for a long time the formula worked. I was okay if Jennifer Lopez or Iggy Azalea were most watched on YouTube. After all… no one was listening to their music. But then Lorde wins an award for best Rock song because maybe ‘Royals’ was a little different from what people had heard… and Paramore won the grammy for Aint it fun. Which is likely the worst song they wrote in their self titled album from 2013. The only song that would qualify as more awful than Aint it fun was Ankle biters. But hey… that’s rock music for you today.
And so I am digging in the past to find something I like.
But it is not all bad news. Some singer-songwriters are doing really well. Youtube has also made artists like Kina Grannis and Mindy Gledhil possible. And for every awful song from a Carly Rae Jespen, there are artists like Maria Taylor, Allo Darlin and Rilo Kiley.
You just have to dig deeper. It takes more effort. But the rewards are worth it. Beautiful tunes and the smugness of being a hipster. Why not embrace it? We are having to work so hard for it.