Ongoing History of New Music

The Ongoing History of New Music, episode 990: The History of the 2010s, Part 3

It must have been so easy to write about rock back in the 1950s. Well, comparatively easy to today, I mean. Everything was so new that that’s all you had to pay attention to. There wasn’t exactly anything called “rock history” back then because the music had no history.

What began as a spark in the early 50s turned out to be the musical equivalent of the cosmological Big Bang. And as the years and decades passed, this music—which began as a fresh take on the 12-bar blues template—separated, segmented, stratified, mutated, evolved—with increasing speed.

New genres began to appear yearly, monthly, and sometimes even weekly. Today, it seems like every single day results in some kind of derivative spin-off sub-sub-sub-sub-genre.

The new sound and approach may gain traction and stay with us for some time, perhaps even carving out its own permanent space in the rock universe. More likely, though, a new genre will have a half-life shorter than hydrogen 7. And to save you from looking that up, that’s a tiny, tiny fraction of a second: a decimal point followed by 23 zeroes.

But there’s no stopping the fission and fusion of rock. We’re always going to get new sounds…keeping up with them all is another matter.

This is part of what makes writing a musical history of the 2010s so challenging. The number of iterations rock went through in that decade was insane. But if we’re going to understand what happened to rock during that time, we’re going to have to at least try.

This is the history of the 2010s, part 3.

Songs heard on this show:

  • Lana Del Rey, Video Games
  • Billie Eilish, Bad Guy
  • Girl in Red, I Wanna Be Your Girlfriend
  • 2814, Recovery
  • Spiritbox, The Mara Effect Part 1
  • Public Service Broadcasting, Go1
  • 100 Gecs, Money Machine
  • Strumbellas, Spirits
  • Horror 333, Burn It

And here’s Eric Wilhite’s playlist.

The Ongoing History of New Music can be heard on the following stations:

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 37439 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

2 thoughts on “The Ongoing History of New Music, episode 990: The History of the 2010s, Part 3

  • Would you please explain the difference between Hipster Culture and Beat Generation?
    Who & where were they then? Who and where are they now? Where do you see them going in the future?

    • Sure. The Beats were largely centred around a group of writers (including Jack Keouac and Allen Ginsberg) who rejected capitalism, materialism, and the stuffiness of traditional writing. They were strongly nonconformist. The “beat” meant “beaten down” or “tired” rather than anything to do with music. The Beat subculture can be looked upon as the spiritual ancestors of the hippie movement.

      Hipsters are a post-2000 thing (although there was a version of hipster associated with a particular brand of blues in the 1940s). They were/are mostly middle class thing where people follow all the latest styles and trends in fashion, lifestyle, and music, often disparaging normal people for being, well, normal.


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