The Death of Rock Music

November 28, 2011

After running on the treadmill next to John Norris, of MTV fame, I started to think about how for roughly 2 years (1998-2000), I used to see him every day from 3 to 4 on MTV, as apart of Total Request Live (I also thought that there is no reason why a 50 year old should have a Justin Bieber hair cut). It dawned on me that TRL pretty much defined a music generation and made certain kinds of music very popular, music genres that seem pretty much dead today. If you think about it, 1998 to 2000 gave us a time when the boy band scene pretty much got out of control (seriously, would any girl today bat at if Joey Fatone walked past them?) and when the modern punk rock was born (i.e. Blink-182, Sum 41, Foo Fighters). Oh yeah, and it created a rap monster in Eminem.

The music scene has completely changed since TRL went off the air and I think it has changed for the worse. Ten years ago, artists relied on music videos and outlets like TRL to get advertise their upcoming singles and albums. I can specifically remember a special on TV when they said that the Backstreet Boys’ song “Larger Than Life” cost something like $2 million (seriously, what the hell is going on in this video. Now, we’d be lucky if a band spends $2 on a music video (seriously, check out Blink-182’s latest music video here, compared to one of their best music videos here). Today, bands rely on the Internet and record companies have essentially stopped all marketing, except for people like Taylor Swift and the Jonas Brothers.

The reason why I bring all of this up is that I think MTV is one of the reasons why rock music is essentially dead. Don’t get me wrong, there are certain genres that are as popular as ever. First, pop music will never die. Neither will country. Also, there is this new genre called dub step that the college youngins like. Seriously, I tried listening to that garbage for about 2 minutes before I turned it off. Dance music? People like this? Unless it’s sung by La Bouche or the Quad City DJs, I don’t want to hear dance music. But for whatever reason, rock music is dead. I looked at the top 20 selling albums of the year for 2011 and one rock band made it: the Foo Fighters with just under 500,000 sales (meanwhile, that horrible, horrible, terrible, terrible person Lady Gaga has over 1.5 million). In fact, when I thought about the big rock and punk-rock bands that released albums this year, here’s the sales numbers I found:

  • Blink-182’s album “Neighborhoods” (which I can personally vouch for being awesome) sold under 400,000 since its September release, while their hugest album “Enema of the State,” which came out in the peak of TRL sold over 5 million.
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers’ album “I’m With You” is out of the Billboard top 100 after being released 2 months ago. Meanwhile, “Californication,” released in the peak of TRL stayed in the Billboard charts forever and sold 5 million copies.
  • Sum 41’s album “Screaming Bloody Murder” (which I can also personally vouch for being their best album) peaked at number 31 on the Billboard charts and has sold 36,000 copies in the United States. Their album “All Killer No Filler” went platinum when it was released in 2001.

Clearly, there is a disconnect between the music industry and rock music. For whatever reason, major record labels have dropped all support for rock music, and I really don’t know why. Maybe it’s the rise of iTunes. Maybe it’s the rise of pop singer-songwriters. Maybe it’s the rise of weird women who dress up in giant egg costumes who parade around like they were picked on when they were younger. I can’t figure it out. It certainly isn’t because the quality of music has dropped. Whatever the reason, I think it has something to do with the fact that TRL is dead. Back in its prime, Carson Daly, John Norris, and Matt Pinfield were very loyal to the Southern California rock music scene. Now, there is nobody who pushes this music and it has unfortunately led me to take a liking to a Selena Gomez song I heard on the radio yesterday.

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The Opening and Closing of Chapters in My Life

November 23, 2008

Wow, I haven’t written a post in a long time, so I figure I owe one to my loyal readers (that “s” at the end might be a bit of stretch) out there.  So here are my thoughts on the past month.

Mazel tov America.  We did it.  We elected Barack Obama.  Now, I planned on writing a post blaming college aged kids if Senator McCain won.  I planned on saying how the youth are so outspoken and always complaining about this and that and jumping on the “I Hate George W. Bush Bandwagon” and then never showing up to vote.  But you proved me wrong.  The 18-25 demographic showed up in record numbers.  It was insane that President-elect Obama won in almost every demographic, including outstanding showings among Christians and Protestants (which have both leaned Republican since the Reagan years), the Jews (almost 80%) and even the elderly.  It is important to mention that Senator McCain’s concession speech was incredible and inspiring.  If he would have spoken like that all campaign long (and the economy didn’t fall apart and Bush’s approval ratings weren’t in the crapper) he would have had a fighting chance.  The Senator McCain I know (and have met numerous times) has a great sense of humor and is incredibly insightful and we didn’t see that on the campaign.  In addition, it will also be interesting to see how the Republicans recover and what Governor Palin (or should I say “Rock Star” Palin) will do.

What else, what else.  Oh!  So it’s pretty rad that Blink-182 is talking again, huh?

Anyway, moving on…  So I started my edits and rewrites of a script I am writing.  I wrote it over the summer and decided not to look at it for a couple months to see if I still liked it after the wait.  Well, I looked at it and still liked it.  It needs work though.  It’s just good to be writing again, especially since the script is very personal, but also incredibly hysterical.  Obviously, this is the first time I am posting on it (and only a handful of friends know about it), but I take pieces of my blog and real life experiences and put it into this piece of work that I am so passionate about.  It’s a pretty cool and funny script and I will continue to work on it throughout the winter (it’s a slow process).  It’s kind of hard to write the script and then come back to the blog.  It’s two completely different kinds of writing pieces.  I will try though.

So I went to visit a prestigious law school in Washington (whose school has a weird mascot) and two things went through my head: 1.  “Well I guess this is growing up.”  2.  These people are strange.  So my first thought was the idea that I was growing up.  It seemed like a far off thought until I actually stepped onto campus and saw myself there.  It was a very strange feeling.  I mean, I’m looking forward to the future but also enjoying the present (I will get back to this in a little).  The second thought I had is that the people at this school were strange.  There were two types of people:  the pretentious people that wore sweater vests and nice clothing and the people who wore sweat pants and a hoody to class.  I started to think about which one I would be.  The pretentious one is interesting.  In all fairness, they deserve to be pretentious;  this was a hard school to get into and they are clearly better than most.  But also, they kind of seemed like douches.  But cool and smart douches.  The sweatshirt people were laid back, but also a little too informal for a place like this law school.  I don’t know what I would be.  Both sides are attractive.  Hopefully, I could find a healthy medium.

My last tidbit is that I went to my last home college football game as a student, and although my team got whipped, I stayed until the end in the freezing cold.  I just sat there as my team was down by over 30 and thought about the good and bad times.  I was incredibly emotional and although my team let me down last night, they were one of the few constant things in my college career.  I could always count on them to be there for me every Saturday.  It was an emotional experience, but like some band said, “Well I guess this is growing up” (although before this they said, “Take your pants off.”).  I’m sad this chapter of my life has come to a close but I will always cherish the times I had in that stadium living and dying with every touchdown and interception thrown.


Ode to Blink…

October 1, 2008

First off, happy new year my Jewish friends!  You would think that after 5769 years the new years festivities would get old, but the Jews continue to not disappoint.

Anyway, onto the real point of my entry (first one in two weeks if you’re counting… and by you I mean the one person who actually reads my weblog).  It’s been a couple of days since Travis Barker’s plane crash.  It’s quite an unfortunate situation, but I’m glad he is doing better and my prayers are with him, DJ AM and the victims of the crash.  Crazy how life changes in a flash.

Anyway, this isn’t going to be an entry about how you shouldn’t take life for granted because it could change in an instant (I shouldn’t have to tell you not to take life for granted).  No, this is an entry on Travis’s best work: Blink-182.

Blink-182 is my favorite band.  Period.  Always has been, always will.  People make fun of me and say they aren’t great music.  That they’re no Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Guns and Roses, etc, etc.  But, first of all, fuck you for judging my music taste.  Second of all, and in all seriousness, I think music should be something that speaks to you.  The lyrics should be meaningful in your life.  Sure, the Beatles are classic rock.  Amazing.  But their lyrics say nothing to me.  I could understand why they would speak to a person my age in the 1960s (the music reflects the time period), but not in the 1990s and 2000s.  This is why my favorite band is Blink.  Every one of their songs speaks to me personally.  They talk about love, loves lost, fart jokes, your mom, and more.  Stuff that I could relate to.  Stuff that any 16-23 year old could relate to.   Think about it.  “What’s My Age Again” was about screwing around and acting immature, but then they follow that single up with “All The Small Things” which is about doing the small things to impress a girl (i.e. flowers on the stairs, etc).  Both subjects definitely reflect my life.

Blink is music that caught the mindsets of this age group of this generation.  This is why they were incredible and extremely successful (and also it is a shame they broke up).  So, as an ode to Travis (and Mark and Tom) I present to you some insightful analysis of songs you may not have heard (so not “What’s My Age Again” or “All The Small Things”):

“Wasting Time”, album: Cheshire Cat (1996)

Favorite line: “She’d teach me about modern art and I’d teach her it’s okay to fart.”

This song is about trying to impress a girl.  Mark talks about joining a band and making jokes all in hopes of making a girl like him make her laugh.  This kind of resonates with me.  I always try to impress girls that I like by doing interesting things, but most important, I try to make girls I like laugh, either by being witty or just plain rediculous-all in hopes of trying to make her like me.  Another line of the song, “Sometime I sit at home and wonder if she’s sitting at home thinking of me and wondering if I’m sitting at thinking about her.  Or am I just wasting my time?”  is such a clever line and is something I definitely do ALL the time.

“Waggy”, album: Dude Ranch (1997)

Favorite line:  “I don’t wanna live this lie again.  I know I’ll get it right but I don’t know when.  I’ll open my eyes, I’ve got something inside, I’ll just jack off in my room til then.”

Again, Blink hits us with the heartfelt line, but counters it with the immature humor.  This line is the epitome of why I like Blink.  They could be serious and write beautiful lyrics but at the same time be immature.  It works brilliantly.  This song also really hits home for me (which, as you can see, is a common theme in all their songs for me).  Mark talks about being ready for a serious relationship, but he just dumped a girl because she is not ready for one.  So Mark is willing to wait around in his room until he finds a girl who is.

“Online Songs”, album: Take Off Your Pants and Jacket (2001)

Favorite line:  Na na na na na na na na (seriously listen to the song, it’s great)

This song is one that I definitely dealt with a couple years ago.  It’s about seeing your ex-girlfriends screen name on your buddy list and it bothering you a lot.  Blink just writes about kids dealing with problems for the 21st century and this is a prime example of it.  Mark talks about trying to put the past behind him, but everytime he signs online there her screen name is.  When you think about the entire situation, you just want to laugh, but I’m sure it has happened to everyone.