Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Rock 'n' Roll over? It's just tuning up.

So, according to Ian Youngs at the BBC, there has been a distinct lack of genuinely good rock and roll bands in the past couple of years.

If you are just looking at it from a constant UK Chart Top 10  viewpoint then yes, I guess you would have to agree. But does this mean that there is a lack of talented bands? I think if anything the past couple of years has produced an abundance of genuine raw talent. We have had Wild Beasts (Mercury Prize Nominees 2010), The xx (Mercury Prize Winners 2010), Florence and the Machine (Mercury Prize Nominees 2009), Glasvegas (Mercury Prize Nominees 2009), Friendly Fires (Mercury Prize Nominees 2009), The Last Shadow Puppets (UK Chart No.1) and The Raconteurs (UK Chart No.2) to name just a few.

The answer to why there is a lack of rock and roll in the charts is not down to talent, it is down to the new generation being force fed mediocre pop and R'n'B by money grabbing record companies not bothered about anything else other than a quick £Million.

Take today's current top 10 singles for example:
  1. Cheryl Cole - Promise This
  2. Rihanna - Only Girl
  3. Bruno Mars - Just The Way You Are
  4. Cee Lo Green - Forget You
  5. Mike Posner - Cooler Than Me
  6. Katy Perry - Firework
  7. Duck Sauce - Barbra Streisand
  8. Nelly - Just A Dream
  9. The Wanted - heart Vacancy
  10. Tinie Tempah - Written In The Stars
Now, despite this horrific list of music I do not blame the younger generation.  The record companies of course are a major reason for this. But you also have to question popular radio stations and their play lists. Radio 1 and Capital FM for example. Throughout the day, overpaid DJ's bang out rubbish after rubbish to a generation of kids being brainwashed that this is not only good music, but the only music out there to listen to.

I remember a time when a band such as N'Dubz (que joke - 'what do you call a woman with 2 c**ts?') would be laughed off of the stage and then have their CD confined to the Woolworth's 99p Bargain Bin. No more. This is now the standard.

Lets look at Kings of Leon's recent success story. Before 90% of the country had even heard of this band they had managed to release 3 critically acclaimed albums. Their debut album was built around simple 4 chord Blues/Rock'n'Roll, with a band image that would make you think this album was first released in 1969. Their 2 follow up albums stayed true to their rock'n'roll roots albeit progressing musically and magazines such as NME and Rolling Stone had nothing but praise for this band. Yet their music was being given no air time on mainstream music radio stations.
Kings of Leon, 2003.
It is now 2010 and Kings of Leon have just released their 5th studio album which goes straight in at No.1 in the UK Charts. The reason for this sudden popularity? Simple. They have bowed down to their record company. Stadium rock, a clean image and one of the most musically bland albums of the year with more radio friendly songs than Justin Beiber. No more do the band hide behind a 70s beard, long hair and flares (ok well maybe the drummer!). No more does this band stick to its roots. No more Rock'n'Roll.

Kings of Leon, 2010

So maybe that's the answer Ian Youngs is looking for? It is not the fact that Rock'n'Roll is void of any talent, it is the fact that the bands that do have the songs and the talent are not being given the radio time and exposure this genre needs to help save a lost generation from bland, dull, predictable and easily forgotten pop music.

Either that, or bow down to record labels and forget why you started the band in the first place.