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Wednesday, March 13, 2002

Rock and Roll Will Never Die

Perhaps rock and roll will never die. Perhaps medical science has reached such a pinnacle that it can keep this dying patient alive indefinitely. But can't you smell that? That! That god awful stench that permeates practically every level of our pop culture. That horrible fetid odor that is rock and roll. Perhaps rock will never die, perhaps the forces of marketing are so god-like that rock will be around forever. Keeping it alive hasn't been too pleasant this past decade, it has been like the gangreneous character in Hemingway's The Snows of Kilamanjaro who suffered and slipped into delirium. I think that many would agree that the Hemingway character, and rock and roll, are better off dead.

It was fun while it lasted. It was a good run. Now it is time to face the facts and admit to ourselves that it is over and it is now time to find a new popular music that is completely different. For the past decade most of what has been happening in rock has been remakes. Covers of everything and we have taken almost every song from the past 30 years in rock and used it for some sort of advertising jingle. It is as if our pop culture was like the Berlin Wall that we tore down and sold, bit by bit, to the highest bidder. This trend has been just as disturbing in films. It is as if there is nothing in our pop culture past that is too insipid to be remade and remarketed. Lesson to be learned here: nothing is sacred and nothing is too big of a piece of shit that it can't be resold to the youth market. OK, I got it.

Most people that I talk to don't seem to mind that rockers have sold their product to advertisers. Perhaps that's what these artists had in mind when they were starting out in some garage somewhere. Perhaps they were thinking, "I want to write a song that will make people want to buy an SUV." Maybe that's what Sting had in mind, who knows? Perhaps in these times songwriters are as concerned with product tie-ins as they are choruses. People are free to do whatever they wish. Just don't tell me that you aren't a jingle writer. Andy Warhol was being ironic when he painted soup cans--what's your excuse?

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