Rock Music Has Worst Year Ever

It's old acts clinging to relevance, and new ones aping them: Critic

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 29, 2011 2:25 PM CST | Updated Jan 1, 2012 1:00 AM CST

(Newser) – How dire is the state of mainstream rock? So dire that “Sublime With Rome,” a band with no higher ambition than mimicking Sublime, has had a song on the Billboard charts every week since May. “2011 may well be remembered as the most numbing year for mainstream rock in music history,” declares New York Times critic Jon Caramanica. “Declaring a genre dead is the worst, least imaginative sort of proclamation, so let’s call it zombified.”

Rock is, after all, still shambling around, but “the genre didn’t produce a single great album, and the best of the middling walked blindly in footprints laid out years, even decades, earlier.” Critics are praising the likes of Foster the People, even though it basically rehashes “the soul-infused lite-rock of the 1980s.” Sure, there is good work on the fringes, and on independent labels, but “it wasn’t so long ago that major-label rock had bursts of vitality,” Carmanica laments. Now “it’s a living funeral.”

The band Sublime with Rome performs during the iHeartRadio music festival on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2011, in Las Vegas.
The band Sublime with Rome performs during the iHeartRadio music festival on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2011, in Las Vegas.   (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
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At this point rock is becoming a graveyard of aesthetic innovation and creativity, a lie perpetrated by major labels, radio conglomerates and touring concerns. - Jon Carmanica

Even major-label country, no firestorm of originality, has been riskier in the last decade than major-label rock, which is hiding out in a few comfortable modes, hoping no one will ask much
more of it. - Jon Carmanica

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