Tastemaker: Rock is boring
These days, independent artists scoff at the idea that rock is dead, but the truth is that what we call “rock” is simply a rotting corpse.
A musician myself, I was appalled that I would even come up with this idea, but it’s true.
Local, regional and major label artists alike are practicing an art of recycling, and I am a part of that mess.
Nothing new can come out of what is being created today, because it’s all just a re-utilization of the sensibilities of the past.
Today, we hear a lot of the 1980s’ New Wave and New Romantic style alive and well in the original compositions of contemporary artists. Indeed, we may even enjoy these resurrections of style.
But how could we not enjoy them when they echo so precisely the forefathers of the genre?
Rock music from the Reagan era obviously is not the only victim of imitation.
So many times I have heard The Beatles and Led Zeppelin completely ripped off during the years that the only way I could survive this onslaught was to chuck the CD and revert to listening to the original artist.
There is no need for rock bands to worry, though, because the solution to this is to experience the world behind rock.
Implementing styles like classical, jazz, waltz, funk and blues into rock has the potential to make the music sound fresh and enjoyable. It’s not enough to add a few keyboard noodlings. The artist must go all out.
A variety of sound is the key to maintaining relevance.
Rock artists easily can do this. All it takes is the addition of some string instruments, a harp, a piano or even a harmonium. Horns sound splendid as well.
Three- and four-chord rock has become too boring and monotonous.
Anyone can toss together drums, a bass line and distorted guitar.
What separates an artist apart from the masses is that artist’s ability to expand on that simple structure.
This is a must because it gives listeners a reason to care.
Look at a band like The Afghan Whigs.
They mix classic R&B with their punk sound quite well.
On their album “1965,” they have horns, gospel singers and songs with a variety of chords.
The rhythm section captures movement and doesn’t just act as a living metronome.
In addition, the very same musicians of the past who are copied these days followed this path.
Just look at how broad The Beatles got in the late 1960s or how fleshed-out Led Zeppelin’s arrangements got to be on albums like “Houses of the Holy” and “Physical Graffiti.”
This truly is the key to survival in the world of music.
Rock bands, this is a message to you: Just take a chance and go to Borders or Best Buy.
You will find a huge variety of artists who do not delve in rock. It is an experience that will open up your eyes to a new way of conducting yourself.
There are so many bands out there with common goals that adding variety to a group’s work will set that group apart from the rest.
Otherwise, listeners will either ignore the band or move on to something more dynamic, like hip-hop.