Today we take a walk down the “point and counter-point” nature of the argument that guitar rock is dead, or dying. Although still popular, a rock song hasn’t hit number 1 on the charts (in Canada at least) since 2007 and who’s to say it could ever happen again? There are a few different factors at play here, but the fact remains the same – guitar rock could be on it’s last throws of creative output. Let’s take a look at two guitar rock albums out this week: one from an established rock group, the other from a newcomer; and then the British counter-point to these albums.
Spoon – They Want My Soul
Finally bringing about an album that has been about 4 years in the making, Spoon releases They Want My Soul which admirably fills that gap. It’s worth noting that even as this record offers the widest range of musicality they’ve released as a band, they’re not necessarily breaking new ground here.
Those out there (who shall remain nameless to protect those publishing these heresies) who have been calling for the end of guitar rock as it “continues its slow and inevitable transition into a bygone art”, use this as an example of a band that just can’t seem to reach an apex of creativity in the genre. I can see their side of this argument and it is not completely without merit, however guitar rock has a way of pulling on what the audience knows, and is nostalgic for, in order to make the song “seem” new, if not actually being anything groundbreaking.
This record is arguably their best work to date – that goes without question. It’s an engaging, modern, eclectic piece of work.
Twin Peaks – Wild Onion
On the other side of this coin is the sophomore LP from the energetic Chicago based garage band, Twin Peaks.
It’s got everything you’ll ever need: kinda stupid cliches about partying and teenaged love? Check! Apeggiated use of a delay petal? Check! Rockabilly drums? Check! These guys are fun. They’ve gotta be!
There’s a sort of youthful enthusiasm to their music, reminiscent of Mac Demarco, that’s really endearing. It’s a great album to throw on a dance like an idiot.
This is what guitar rock, and rock ‘n’ roll in general terms, is all about. No pretenses, no reason, per say, as to why you’re dancing like an idiot and smoking weed rolled in a parking ticket – you just do because the summer is long and you’ve got nothing else to do. Pure, unadulterated, Rock ‘n’ Roll.
Adult Jazz – Gist Is
And now, as promised, here’s something completely different! This Leeds based four-piece has released an album that will be haunting late-night college radio and underground “best of” lists for years to come. Adult Jazz has not released something accessible, they have not released something easy to understand, this debut album is an art-piece.
As the pop and rock influences do sometimes shine through, the record is clearly always creating a center point while always pushing the boundaries they had just set out for themselves – just in the same way that the Dirty Projectors have done, and did in the last decade.
This is the point that many are making that guitar rock has reached is apex and is now on it’s way out – the argument is that creative music and sound can no longer be expressed via the guitar without sounding preachy or over the head of a layman listener. And although I completely disagree – anyone with working eardrums can be affected by any type of music at any time – it’s an interesting concept and one that will be explored for years to come.