Friday, January 18, 2008

Rock is dead! Long live Rock!

Editor's note: Alright, everyone, pay attention. The post below was penned (typed? tapped out?) by a guest poster. A fellow blogger who goes by the name Blackcrag. If you'd like to read more of his writings, by all means, hit that little link to the right of my blogpage, the one that says 'Blackcrag.' You will be transported instantly northwards to Canada. That's right! The flag he flies under bears a Maple Leaf!! (that's right, isn't it Crag?).

At any rate, I really enjoy his writing and point of view. And Lord knows, you all could use a break from me, so I asked him to write about anything he liked and I would re-print it verbatim (including the subject line). Which I have now done.

Enjoy your vacation, everybody. I promise it won't last near long enough. Take it away, Blackcrag!

Dan wanted to douse his blog in a little maple syrup, having got his pancakes and his blog confused. So he offered a little space to me. It is quite an honour and a responsibility to write for someone else’s blog… you know keeping up their exacting standards and all. Some might question whether Dan actually has standards, but I am sure he does… somewhere.

Dan and I share an interest in music. He’s making a list of 500 songs he either loves, can’t live without, really, really likes, or well, can kind of tolerate (see? There’s those standards at work again).

Me, I am just looking for some new music to listen to, because I seriously think rock is dead. Given that I was a teen during the Eighties, my most cherished music has its roots there; Dave Matthews Band, Blue Rodeo, Blues Traveller, Bob Seger, Heart… I could go on. I tend to go on usually, but I will show a guest’s manners and forbear.

I know, Dave Matthews hardly strikes anyone as a hard rockin’, wailin’ guitarin’, big hairy Eighties rock band. What can I say? I have a strong pop streak running through my musical taste—blame it on the three years I spent in England as a preteen.

But the state of rock these days? Who’s carrying the banner and waving their bic in the darkened arena? (a bic is a lighter brand up north of the border, if you wanted to know). Collective Soul? Like ‘em, but they have drifted from their rock roots. Counting Crows? They can rock, when they’re not being all introspective and angsty. Nickelback? If you think unshaven posers are 'rock', sure. Matchbox Twenty? They are consistent, at least. Solid band, certainly. But are they ‘rock’? As close as anybody these days, I guess. Red Hot Chili Peppers? Certainly, but again, they’ve been around since the Eighties/Nineties so don’t qualify as ‘new’.

I turn to the radio for inspiration, for new sounds, a little new music to titillate the taste buds, or whatever the ear’s equivalent to the taste buds are. But what is on the airwaves? Electronica? Doesn’t charge me up. Gangsta rap? Umm…yeah but no. Dance? Despite my handle, I’m white. White men don’t dance. Not this one, and definitely not like that.

But wait! If I want to discover new music, all I have to do is turn on the TV! There have been a slew of shows over the last ten years all about ‘discovering talent’. American Idol and its Canadian equivalent are a six month long extravaganza of new talent! Actually no; it’s an extended, over-wrought, glitzed-up, over-hyped marketing ploy.

Ever since the Nineties’ boy bands and pop princesses, there has been a lot of hype and no true talent to back it up. Dancing monkeys primed with calculated ploys and written-in emotional lyrics. Backstreet Boys, n’Sync and any of the other woulda-beens from back then—they are all plug and play. Take ‘em out, shuffle ‘em round, you couldn’t tell the difference. As for the pop princesses… honestly I can’t tell the difference between any of them in the last fifteen years.

And if someone points out Justin Timberlake as an exemplar of talent out of this particular wasteland… I’d say you’re making my point for me.

No, if I want something new to listen to these days, I reach back. Reach way back, to the back of the shelf. Reach back to when I was born and beyond. Dust off the Van Morrison, turn up the Lynyrd Skynyrd, reach higher with John Hiatt, feel a little Phish-y, get “Superstitious” with Stevie (R.I.P.), get Led-ed with Zeppelin and keep rockin’ with the Steve Miller Band.

And if Dan will let me add a song to his list, I’ll add Song #202, “Simple Man” by Lynyrd Skynyrd. Turn it up, and tune out.


Blogger Just Dan said...

Fine post, BC! You went and classed the joint up -- kudos!

By all means, Song #202 is all you.
Thanks for dropping in!

4:01 PM  
Blogger blackcrag said...

Thank-you for inviting me, Dan. It was a pleasure.

8:10 PM  
Blogger kimber the wolfgrrrl said...

Yay, BC! Nice to read your ranting in a brand new venue, and thanks for coaxing me this way...

12:18 AM  
Blogger Just Dan said...

Anytime, Crag. Your post was thoughtful and well organized, two benchmarks I rarely reach.

Also, thanks for stopping by, KTW!

4:27 AM  
Blogger AaroN said...

If some Zeppelin didn't make an honOrable mention in here, I was about to cry foul! ;)

4:42 AM  

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