The World Needs Rock Stars
March 21, 2001
Why is it that today, especially in music, we have to choose between entertainment, meaning performance, and sincerity, meaning emotion? It frustrates me to no end that nobody's doing both anymore. I tend to have fleeting fondnesses for contemporary music, but nothing lasting, because it doesn't lend itself to being both appreciated and enjoyed.
I guess the two extremes in popular music are the Radiohead/Britney Spears continuum. And I love both their musical styles, which really aren't all that far apart. (Yes, yes, spare me the examples, there's tons of other stuff out there that I listen to and love that's much more underground, chock full of indie cred.) But I think it's more likely that Britney will grow into making introspective, challenging music than that Radiohead will ever strive to put on a spectacle for my amusement.
And that's a shame. Because it would make for a better end result. It would be Rock And Fucking Roll. I've never, ever, been one to say "music was better back when..." but I'm slowly becoming one of Those Guys. Not because there isn't great music out there; There inarguably is. But no one wants to write it, record it, and most of all play it for me.
The Stones didn't apologize about making great music. And they didn't apologize about Mick strutting around with his tongue out to sell it. I dig that. Is there anybody doing both these days? Remind me. And don't bother with your cousin's really, really great stuff up on MP3.com. I'm sure it is genuinely good. But I want a Rock Star.