Well shit, it finally happened. The chart achieved peak stagnation this week. A single new song, and one that jumped up from the fifties (presumably because it was featured in an advert, you consumerist bastards. So maybe it’s time to look a bit more in-depth at pop music, and why it does(n’t) work.
#3 Onerepublic – Love Runs Out
While it isn’t an ebola smoothie, it isn’t groundbreaking, or visionary, or interesting, or particularly good, or even noticeable. It’s functional, but outside of being not-terrible hold music I don’t see what it contributes to the world.
#1 Nico and Vinz – Am I Wrong?
Another overly repetitive lyric which could be effective if sparingly used but is chewed up and spit out until it becomes as utterly meaningless as Have I Got News For You. No longer a phrase that is understood, merely the name for that thing. This seems to be the default position for chart music now, to annihilate the verse entirely and focus on instantly and constantly repeating the chorus for the length of the song. It doesn’t work as a device for triggering memory, for accessing meaning using repetition or individuality, it’s simply memetic.
Well, didn’t get much mileage out of that, at all. So I took a gander at the rock chart for the first time and HOLY SHIT THIS IS WHAT IS WRONG WITH MODERN ROCK AND ROLL.
Rok ist tot – Or why NME’s covers were a predictor of the apocalypse.
To misquoth King Cunt himself Alex Turner “rock and roll isn’t dead, it always comes back”; crawling its way out of the grave with dirty fingernails, old Jimi and Zep tracks, and frigging Metallic post-Glasto explosion. Although, who is buying Metallica records at this point? As far as I can ascertain my grandmother (87 at the time of writing) is the only person who doesn’t own at least one Metallica record, I can only assume the entire market for Metallica is people who already own Metallica records who have lost them. It isn’t that I mind people buying old records, I was born after most of those artists disbanded/died and so had to buy them at some point, but it’s a testament to the shoddy state of modern rock and roll that sales of All Along the Watchtower and Stairway to Heaven (presumably by enthusiastic youngsters like I once was) completely outstrip sales of records released in the same century in which they were bought.
Small comfort that the new Slipknot song is number one (Whatever you think of Slipknot, I think it’s the only song in the current top 40 that was originally released this year). There are a couple of theories coming to mind about how and why this may be the case. I run a column on another site monthly where I explore quality rock and roll, and there’s bloody tons of it. Now, either rock and roll is as young and virile as its practitioners and people are just buying it in forms the chart company doesn’t recognise or unfairly undervalues (that’s the one for all you optimistic jonnies who’ve never missed a bus); the other theory is that nobody buys rock and roll anymore and fans of guitar music are basically left as the last people who really liked horse-drawn carts back when cars were coming into vogue.
Written under duress by Steven.