It must have been so easy to write about rock back in the 1950s. Well, comparatively easy to today, I mean. Everything was so new that that’s all you had to pay attention to. There wasn’t exactly anything called “rock history” back then because the music had no history.
What began as a spark in the early 50s turned out to be the musical equivalent of the cosmological Big Bang. And as the years and decades passed, this music—which began as a fresh take on the 12-bar blues template—separated, segmented, stratified, mutated, evolved—with increasing speed.
New genres began to appear yearly, monthly, and sometimes even weekly. Today, it seems like every single day results in some kind of derivative spin-off sub-sub-sub-sub-genre.
The new sound and approach may gain traction and stay with us for some time, perhaps even carving out its own permanent space in the rock universe. More likely, though, a new genre will have a half-life shorter than hydrogen 7. And to save you from looking that up, that’s a tiny, tiny fraction of a second: a decimal point followed by 23 zeroes.
But there’s no stopping the fission and fusion of rock. We’re always going to get new sounds…keeping up with them all is another matter.
This is part of what makes writing a musical history of the 2010s so challenging. The number of iterations rock went through in that decade was insane. But if we’re going to understand what happened to rock during that time, we’re going to have to at least try.
This is the history of the 2010s, part 3.
Songs heard on this show:
- Lana Del Rey, Video Games
- Billie Eilish, Bad Guy
- Girl in Red, I Wanna Be Your Girlfriend
- 2814, Recovery
- Spiritbox, The Mara Effect Part 1
- Public Service Broadcasting, Go!
- 100 Gecs, Money Machine
- Strumbellas, Spirits
- Horror 333, Burn It
- And here’s Eric Wilhite’s playlist.
The Ongoing History of New Music can be heard on the following stations:
- 102.1 The Edge/Toronto – Sunday night at 7pm
- Q107/Toronto – Sunday night at 9pm
- Live 88-5/Ottawa – Saturdays at 9am and Sundays at 6pm.
- 107.5 Dave-FM/Kitchener – Sunday nights at 11pm
- FM96/London – Sunday nights at 8pm
- Power 97/Winnipeg – Sunday nights at 11pm
- Sonic 102.9/Edmonton – Sunday at 8am and 8pm
- The Zone/Victoria – Sunday at 8am and 9pm
- The Fox/Vancouver – Sunday at 11pm
- Surge 105/Halifax – Sunday at 7pm
- WAPS/WKTL The Summit/Arkon, Canton, Cleveland, Youngstown – Mon-Fri at 9pm
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