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At first glance, trends and sounds in popular music seem come at us random fractalized bursts. Viewed up close, that’s how it appears. But if you’re to stand back–far back–patterns begin to emerge. And these patterns have held surprisingly true over the last sixty years.
Since rock was born in the 1950s, rock and pop have been locked in a battle. Each combatant is 180 degrees out of phase with the other. When rock is strong and on the ascendant the public’s consciousness, pop is on a decline.
Eventually rock tops out and begins a decline as the public’s attention moves towards pop. Once pop peaks and rock bottoms out, the cycle begins again. This back-and-forth dance has played itself out every 12 or 13 years for the last six decades.
Let me tell you how it’s all gone down.