Tuesday, Septembert 3, 2002

Rock is Dead

It has occurred to me lately that:

a. I am over thirty; and
b. I am part of Generation X.

A number of separate events have brought these two points into sharp relief in the past little while.

It began with the “rock is dead” conversations. I now have a couple of friends – neither of which has met the other – with whom I sporadically have the “rock is dead” discussion. This discussion consists of the initial thesis that rock is now no longer a thriving, cultural driving force – it has become simply another style, like jazz. Rock as a musical style can still be vibrant and entertaining but has lost the possibility it once had (real or imagined) to change the world. The rest of the conversation consists of: a desperate search (usually on my part) to find a band or song of today that still ROCKS, and the brief but harrowing thought that rock is basically the same and we’ve changed.

(The realization that I’m part of Generation X came about as a result of the confusion and glassy-eyed indifference of a young woman I met at work to whatever “School House Rock” might be. Bart Simpson’s words, to the effect of: “we need another Vietnam to thin out their ranks,” echo in my head.)

Yesterday, I heard the new Queens of the Stone Age single “No One Knows” – hope springs eternal. This track has that ineffable quality missing from most of the rock I’m hearing these days. The Hives, The Strokes, Weezer – all fine bands – sound almost quaint right out of the box. “No One Knows” gives me that “what the fuck” feeling I got the first time I heard Iggy sing “The Passenger”. There’s a creepy decadent feeling to Queens of the Stone Age that is largely missing in rock today. Some of those Emo and Pop-punk bands are quite good…but earnest. The rest of the rock landscape is mostly calculated cool. Queens of the Stone Age seem genuinely weird. I applaud them.

Is rock really dead, then? Probably.


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