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Tuesday, February 08, 2005

What's New Pussycat?

From Piero Scaruffi's A History of Rock Music:

The British media made rock music fashionable. If rock music had remained the music of Dylan, Fugs, Zappa and Velvet Underground, it would have remained a cultural phenomenon with a huge impact, capable of producing artistic masterpieces and generating intellectual debates, but, most likely, it would have never captured the imagination of the masses the way it did during the late 1960s. In the USA, rock music had been perceived as a revolutionary event, very much related to a generation gap (between the "great" generation and the "hippy" generation) and to an ideological gap (between the Establishment and the underground). In Britain, rock music, while not reneging on those premises, morphed them so that they could appeal not only to juvenile "delinquents" but also to the bourgeois masses. In other words, rock music in the USA wass antagonistic, hostile, conflictual, whereas, in Britain, rock music made peace with society at large. Thus it became a commodity, destined to become, like cinema, one of the arts that exerted the strongest influence on the costume at the turn of the century.


I'm glad rock music became commodified. I'm glad it took off commercially. I'm glad it "made peace with society at large." It's probably true that if rock music remained an underground phenomenon, there would have been a greater number of innovative, limit-pushing bands, but nobody would care. Instead, we have an enormous amount of shit that has to be waded through in order to find good music, but it's that huge pyramid of shit on top of which the existence of those good bands lies in the first place. If it weren't for more commercially successful rock bands, "alternative", "low-fi", "indie", "emo", and "shoegaze" would all be terms that had nothing to do with music.

1 Comments:

Blogger Laane said...

Interesting entry.

I've always enjoyed some of the more underground bands.
The texts aren't as smooth and far away from real life, and the music has more heart.

8:03 AM  

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