Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Nitsuh Abebe column from a little while ago that uses Rock of Ages (and the Japandroids record) to talk about the death of rock: 

"These [80s hair metal era] were the decadent final days of an arrangement that now seems nearly as quaint and dusty as the giant front wheel of a penny-farthing bicycle.... If you understand "rock" in those terms, then "rock" is long dead. Don't get me wrong: People have made plenty of wonderful rock music since then. But you'll notice it always has a prefix or an alternate name: It's indie rock, garage-rock, punk-rock, folk-rock, metal, emo, power-pop, etc. It comes from people who cheerfully accept the death of Rock-rock, and are content to occupy artsy anti-commercial niches, to rummage through the deceased's pocket for useful ideas, to bang together its bones to make new sounds, to bionically reengineer the body like the Six Million Dollar Man's, to do whole hilarious Weekend at Bernie's routines with the corpse, or, in particularly bleak cases, to labor with shock paddles over the moldering patient, happily admitting that they're trying to "Bring Rock Back"-- from the dead, one assumes."

Also enjoyed the riffing on the edgeless, degraded version of "camp" that is so ingrained in our culture at this point:

"this is what we do now, we find pop-culture artifacts that Americans remember fondly, trot them out, pose them in funny positions, surround them with winking and giggling and mugging for the camera, dip their pigtails in inkwells, throw things at them, make fun of their hair, and laugh the way children laugh when they've been told a sex joke they do not entirely understand. We call this "camp," which makes it sound sophisticated, but I'm not sure it is anymore: Camp involves a certain sensitivity, whereas this stuff is mostly self-conscious goofery. And it's a surprisingly large component of how we look at pop music once we think we're done with it, as evidenced by the average VH1 countdown show"

what Nitsuh says about the Japandroids record seems to relate to this tenor of  triumphant-yet-desperate embattled-egodrama epic-ness that you can hear in a lot of stuff these days, from "We Are Young" to "Uprising"...    and that does seem to have evolved through emo and alt-rock to end up at a place close to "Don't Stop Believin'" and "We Are the Champions"

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