Friday, January 29, 2010

The Band Gratitude, and Where is Rock Going Today?

Originally posted on August 12, 2008

Here a first CD by a band named Gratitude (Atlantic) and it has a thick wall of guitars and urgent vocals in the alt mode. The songs have a kick. Surely these guys are worthy of attention. Will they get it?

Is rock something people listen to before they get married and become square? Or are they listening to hip-hop now in pre-marriage rites of passage? There was a time when jazz was the idiom of pop music, of most hit songs, of Wrigley gum and five-day deodorant pad commercials and all the rest. The more jazz saturated everything, becoming "establishment," pervading all audio tracks on radio and tv, the more the seeds were sown for it to be overthrown by a new generation's need to rebel. Jazz was then left to those musicians wanting to perfect and further it's possibilities, to become an art music outside the mainstream.

I believe rock is undergoing the same transition. Ultimately CDs might sell less, but listeners become more discerning and contra the big hit stream and whoever represents that to the public. And the public for the “big pop hit” music shrinks and bifurcates at the same time.

The music section of my cable tv offerings contains nearly 100 different categories of music. Thirty years ago, that might have been closer to 30, tops. Ultimately, this is healthy for music, but not healthy for the big-profits music industry at large, I suppose. Whatever will be, eh? Meanwhile Gratitude is pretty nice.

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