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Genre of music that I was particularly rude about on Quora

Increasingly I like and listen to a lot of older ProgRock etc. BUT ... all the whining on Quora about why the kids don't listen to good music these days, brought out the polemicist in me :-)

Quora Answer : What is happening to rock music?

Oct 30, 2019

Of course it won't "come back".

When has a musical genre ever "come back" in musical history?

You can't step in the same river twice. And music never just returns to where it was previously. You think people will just forget about all those innovations that have been made since rock's heyday? You think the technology that makes that possible will be "uninvented"?

Maybe elements of rock will come back. There'll be a taste for electric guitars again. Or live drummers. But these will be mixed up with other ideas from other genres and other periods.

Music doesn't repeat. Music goes on innovating.

Quora Answer : Is rock music out of ideas to innovate? Could it get good again if the music regains some of their best qualities and respects its roots instead of just being alternative and indie?

Mar 24, 2018

Rock music has run, not so much out of ideas, as out of space to innovate. Because the format is too limited.

Basically, to still be "rock" you have to stick roughly to the pattern of drums, electric bass, electric guitar and vocals. Potentially augmented by synths, keyboards, brass or orchestral strings.

You might get away with dropping one of these instruments. Two for one or two tracks. But beyond that, people will stop thinking of you as "rock".

Consider reggae. Reggae uses roughly the same instruments as rock. But what largely distinguishes it is a) a different rhythmic matrix, and b) that, at least in good reggae, the electric guitar is reduced to a rhythmic "chnk" sound, giving space for the drum and bass. And calling in electric organ for extra harmonic action.

What reggae demonstrates is that you only have to move a little way away from the rock pattern, rejig the rhythm, change the mix of instruments slightly, and you have something that 99% of people think of as "not rock". It's reggae. It's pop. It's country. It's swing. It's metal. It's jazz fusion.

The only way for rock to innovate and break out of its straight jacket is to become something else.

Transcluded from HipHopVsRock

Quora Answer : Do Millenials prefer rap over rock? If so, why?

Jun 22, 2017

Rap is more innovative than rock.

Basically, the rock formula is already 50 years old. And most of what can be done with it, has been done with it.

People who make avant-rock of some sort tend be sidelined into a niche. And frankly, even there it's hard to do something really new. All the extremes, from chaotic, free improvisation, excessive noise, complexity ... all tried everywhere from Frank Zappa, to Henry Cow to The Boredoms.

Finding a genuinely new variation on the formula is really hard.

Hip-hop on the other hand still seems to have some surprises left. "Mumble rap" for example, inverts what until very recently would have been considered the essence of rap : the verbal dexterity of the rapper. It's an extraordinary development. Sure, a lot of people hate it, but a lot of people hated when punk suddenly blasted onto the scene and negated 70's rock's ever increasing tendency towards virtuosity. (Not many rappers are going to compete with Eminem doing "Rap God", so why make that your goal?)

Punk renewed rock (for a while) by creating space for all kinds of experiments from the noise of hardcore to the intimacy of post-punk / goth / indie / shoegaze / emo etc. But by the 90s, a lot of these experiments were done too. The 90s is a phase of consolidation and wrapping up with grunge and nu-metal bands effectively bringing punk, metal and emotional angst back together again in a single package. After which there hasn't been much more innovation ... some nice desert rock, long jams and people like Sun Araw. A new wave of new-wave style bands like Vampire Weekend. A bunch of cute pasticheists like Gayngs and Tame Impala. Some mainstream ballad pop/rock bands like Coldplay. But none of this is massively shocking or exciting.

(Contrast this with metal for a moment. The reason metal seems to be in better shape than rock is that metal has admitted that it's not a musical form, but a spirit. Metal is all about attitude: today metal encompasses long avant-garde experimental electronica through to heavy aggressive dubstep flavourings, through to mantric spiritual chants and cinematic orchestral arrangements. It's informed, but not constrained, by its instrumental history. Whereas rock can't get too far away from the basic combo of drum, bass, guitar, singer + optional keyboard without stopping being rock.)

Mumble rap is part of a renewal of hip-hop, that has seen it explore greater emotional depth and vulnerability and opened up a lot of potential new avenues of development. It feels to me that this is a moment in rap that's equivalent to "post-punk" for rock. Perhaps its the last great decade for hip-hop, just as the post-punk 80s were the last great decade of the rock tradition. But it's still pretty damned interesting.