Atlantis Alumni

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Fragmentation Of Rock Music

David Brooks in today's New York Times:

"...cultural history has pivot moments, and at some point toward the end of
the 1970s or the early 1980s, the era of (musical) integration gave way to the
era of fragmentation. There are now dozens of niche musical genres where there
used to be this thing called rock. There are many bands that can fill 5,000-seat
theaters, but there are almost no new groups with the broad following or
longevity of the Rolling Stones, Springsteen or U2. People have been writing
about the fragmentation of American music for decades. Back in the Feb. 18,
1982, issue of Time, Jay Cocks wrote that American music was in splinters. But
year after year, the segmentation builds. Last month, for example, Sasha Frere-Jones wrote an essay
in The New Yorker noting that indie rock is now almost completely white, lacking
even the motifs of African-American popular music. Carl Wilson countered in
Slate that indie rock’s real wall is social; it’s the genre for the
liberal-arts-college upper-middle class."

Interesting. The age of the super-group is gone. I suppose that's not a bad thing because there is such a variety of musical expression out there. There is something for everyone, even me. I am not a Springsteen fan, or a U2 fan, or for that matter, I've never been a great fan of the Rolling Stones. I like a lot of the music of the Beatles, but I suppose I've never been much of a fan of the super groups. I've always tended to like the less wildly popular, more unusual rock bands. The only exceptions I can think of are Chicago, which I liked a lot in their early days, and more recently, Brian Wilson, who does seem to be able to pack large houses when he performs. Brooks seems to be unhappy that indie rock is completely white, or upper middle class. But rap is almost completely black, isn't it? So what? Each to his own.


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