i've been fortunate enough to avoid the "popular music" for a few years now. i was refamiliarised via a tour through airports and other public places 2009/2010.
it seemed to me that most of the music i was hearing, be it alt rock (was it smashing pumpkins that established the ~'brainy ego driven lean guitar driven sound' that seems to predominate alt rock now..) or hiphop or even dance (that monarch girl who did E.T., can't think of her name), almost all the tracks seemed to have real guitar, real bass, and real drums, in all cases played robotically to be indistinguishable from drum machines to the undiscerning ear.
"fooled ya! it's not really a machine! we're sneaking rock back in!"
no, wait. before i go on, you think about that.. think about it until you agree that, while not absolutely ubiquitous, the trend of real instruments being used in popular format has increased significantly since say a decade ago. because you know what i'm going to say next.
rock and roll is an undead, artificially/economically perpetuated mode of expression. when electric guitars were first available, they were novel and exciting to young people hoping for a greater future.. something beyond the life they were given in the present. something beyond social security cards and lifeless, overseasoned and sweetened food wrapped in plastic.
things got pretty out of hand in the nineties. a lot of people like ronnie were able to make contemporary sounding music for only a few thousand dollars. people were starting to get used to sampling, and inevitably people would soon tire of whatever technological advances would be made via software. but in the nineties, there were a lot of dedicated people who were able to generate interest in their own music.
now Old Man Rock.. he got pretty miffed by this.
for one thing, Rock doesn't like to think he's an old man. you probably know him.. he's in his sixties now, and he *still* thinks he (or she) is a teenager. he drinks too much, and when he gets a mind to do it, he'll listen to those same songs over again like prerecorded media is some form of heaven. he watches t.v. like it's going out of style too.
Rock can be an okay guy to get along with, but Rock can lose his temper, and do stupid things now and then that would make you wonder how they can even live like that.
the Deal is that Rock has (forgive me for my clumsy use of a christian analogy) made a deal with the devil. if you continue to cling to the things of your youth, i'll make you feel young forever. now go binge drink. and stare at the magic box for six hours every night.
so Rock does the devils work. many people don't realise this because Rock is Everywhere, and everything they have ever known. especially americans don't know a world without popular records, suburbs and the same exact food everywhere they go like it's a god given right.
Rock certainly does work in the music industry, and the reason why those records are like that is because that's the way Rock likes them. guitar, bass and drums were good enough for the kids back then, they're good enough for the kids today. and that's what you're going to get. we'll tolerate your 100% electronic weirdos because we'll get them by the time they're twenty six anyway.
don't try and change anything visceral about the expression of music preteens hear. you can add a few synthesizers but we're keeping the "you need three guys, three notes and three minutes" thing.
the good news is that Rock is of course living in a fantasy world and growing increasingly out of touch with any world anyone else lives in, and is getting older, despite his immense work in pharmaceuticals.
yes, Rock will still try and pull a fast one on you. yes, Rock still owns the entire industry. every industry. yes, Rock has many young people who have bought into Rock's deal.
but never forget that Rock shagged himself from the beginning, and in the long run, that's not a good way to go about it.
appreciative of diversity and, whatever,
come on then if you think you're hard enough