I’ve been thinking about this question for quite some time. Now, when I say “rock” I mean classic rock (simply because I listen to this kind the most), which of course biases my thinking.
Let’s see what the two countries have to offer:
People have been making fun of James Blunt ever since he released his song “You’re Beautiful”. Tons of people have made parodies of that song and its video, being one of the more distinctive videos made recently. Here are a few of the best parodies I’ve seen:
The past couple of years I’ve sometimes tried giving some thought as to why I dislike most of the music that is popular with the masses nowadays. As this involves analyzing what exactly characterizes modern music, I have reached some conclusions on this topic that I feel are worth sharing (although some points probably are rather unoriginal, just as I don’t really have any credentials when it comes to music, so don’t expect technical terms).
The music that has been made and played since my adolescence in the late 90’ies has been a mixture of straight pop and (especially since the turn of the millennium) R’n’B, so this is what I’ll be discussing in this post. The following is what I see as characterizing this music:
Songs usually have a short introduction of some sort, but quickly move on to the chorus. This chorus is then repeated once or twice, before a short break with some gimmickal variation, before quickly returning to the chorus, this time repeated several times until the song ends.
This structure in effect reduces the song to one stanza or chorus that is repeated until just before it gets (too) tiring. Not that the chorus can’t be a great and catchy one; they usually are and they have to be, because they carry and sell the song. But the fact that it is played through a dozen times during the course of the song is intolerable and shows no depth.
2. Horror vacui
Horror vacui is a Greek term that means “fear of emptiness”, usually used to describe a painting style rampant at one point in time in ancient Greece. It basically involved the need to fill out any blank area on the painting or vase with, well, with whatever one could imagine.
Modern music has a horror vacui also. It is frightened to death of having a part of the song that isn’t filled out with vocals. Music nowadays is incapable of letting the instruments speak for themselves; it needs someone singing or howling at all times. This is sad, really, as what can be more expressive than for instance a guitar solo?
(Something about the death of music: the appearance of MTV, talent loses importance, attention spans being reduced.)