“Where Has All the Rock Gone?”

Some provocative stuff from under the headline “When Punk Went CEO.” Thoughts?

Where has all the rock gone?

By “rock,” I mean more broadly any creative act of political dissent. Plenty has been written about the commodification of the arts, particularly punk (see: CDGB Lounge & Bar at Newark Airport). Green Day still sneers and rants about America’s inequities, but the eyeliner and Manic Panic seem too representational to take seriously. Yes, there are bands—Against Me! or Pussy Riot—that live counter-culture in both music and deed. But you (and your parents) will be more likely to hear “indie” music between innings at a baseball game than on the National Mall.

Thankfully, hip-hop remains a standard-bearer for political music. Acts like Kendrick Lamar, Run the Jewels, and A Tribe Called Quest can be counted on to speak truth to power. Of course, rap is the musical language of marginalization. And while there’s always a tension within the genre between racial politics and rampant consumerism, it continues to defy complete co-option and be a relevant outlet for protest—in part because its history is inextricable from America’s history of oppression.

Perhaps that’s why big business is so comfortable with co-opting punk rock.

Read the entire article here.

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 37464 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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