Sunday, September 09, 2007

iPods killed the video star

Seriously, when did rock 'n roll die?

Apparently the ability to play instruments factors little into today's pop music, or so the annual MTV Video Music Awards would lead one to believe.

We didn't get to see a complete song from a single rock act. And those we did hear snippets from either peaked ten years ago (Foo Fighters) or will be quickly forgotten (Fall Out Boy).

There's really not a band even nearing the same level as U2 or Bon Jovi, let alone Red Hot Chili Peppers or Coldplay.

That's not all bad. A lot of arena rock and stadium rock bands of the past frankly stunk.

And there are tons of decent bands that either play regionally or rely on an internet fan base. They don't need label support, radio play, and heavy rotation on MTV. I think we're officially beyond that.

A killer live show coupled with a strong web presence is enough to get by. Not Aerosmithian fame, but not fleeting like some quickly forgotten flavor of the month.

I think of bands I like, like Mute Math, Anberlin, and Mae. I think these are bands that will put out more than an album or two (and mostly have). I think these are bands that continue to play for a while. I think we're going to see a lot of these mid-level bands, and fewer acts reaching U2's stratosphere.

(That's not a knock on U2, after all they are still my favorite band of all time).

But as Sara and I were talking during this farce on MTV, honoring videos no one has seen, the iPod may have killed the video star.

Of course, these things are cyclical. Britney certainly appears done. That turn of the millennium pop is out, thank goodness.

Hip hop certainly has proven its staying power, but it does feel very clean and poppy. When it gets too safe for suburban America, the tide could change.

So, as expected, the VMAs pretty well sucked. But then again, I loose all credibility when I suggest they should have graphics up telling me who these performers are. When you have to ask, you're too old.

We'll have our Fall Out Boys and My Chemical Romances, but for each of them we'll have a bunch of quality acts too. And those will be artists we don't have to shell out $150 bucks to see in an arena. So maybe the rock isn't dead after all; It's just gone to television purgatory.

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