Where it was once rock stars who pushed boundaries, it was the pop stars who provided the shock value at the VMAs. Inspired by the not remotely rock-n-roll theatrics at the VMAs, a few music writers proclaimed the death of the once edgy genre, siting mainstream rock acts such as Fun. and Mumford and Sons as evidence that only crossover groups can succeed with the masses.
The Huffington Post’s Jerry A. Coyne blames a lack of creativity for the death of rock music, siting Avril Lavigne’s new song “Rock N Roll” as evidence. “When all these bells and whistles are used to gussy up what is essentially a mediocre song, you know there’s something wrong,” he writes. “And the overweening thing wrong is that rock and roll is dead.”
In a more informed piece by music blog Pigeons and Planes, Ernest Baker laments the fact that modern mainstream rock is neither memorable nor boundary-pushing. “There was a time when rock had a complete, undisputed, suffocating stranglehold on the entire realm of popular culture, and that time is no more.”
Now, it seems that all genres come in and out of style, and perhaps rock’s time will come. But in a land of celebrity Twitter meltdowns, Lady Gaga, and Miley’s VMA performance, it’s possible that we don’t need rock for boundary-pushing. Only time will tell.