Recently, Jeff Tweedy, lead singer of the band Wilco, was interviewed in Men’s Journal where he was asked how he felt about his music being labeled by some critics as “dad rock.” I take some offense to this label. Sure Wilco isn’t necessarily in that super cool category with all the bedroom chillwavers and Pabst swilling hipsters but they consistently make intelligent, interesting, and just plain good music.
I think the problem is that our “rock music,” which used to be the music of youth and rebellion, has been taken over by schlock jockeys like the Nickelback’s and Blue October’s of the world. We have a whole generation of budding music lovers who are growing up thinking that “rock” is either for idiot frat boys or its the stuff that your parents used to listen to and its making them run the other direction. Why do you think hip hop is so popular? I just glanced at the Billboard Rock Chart and do you realize that Seether has two songs in the top ten? I don’t know one Seether song let alone two that are good enough to be in the top ten on any list.
At some point rock music became uncool and that just doesn’t make any sense. Ever seen the Black Keys live? Nobody is cooler. What about Queens of the Stone Age? Easily the loudest concert I’ve ever been to. Josh Homme is a modern guitar god. There are great “rock” bands out there.
It’s not that the young guns like Wavves aren’t making good music, because they are, its that when it comes down to it, its just they really aren’t good musicians yet. There is such an emphasis put on being unpolished and creating this scuzzy, grainy sound but what the young’uns don’t realize is that these artists (No Age, Memory Tapes, Ty Segall) will grow in age and musicianship and leave that sound behind. The bedroom recording scene was created out of necessity, not out of conscious effort. Now, bands who are polished and are accomplished are being penalized for being good at their jobs.
Yeah, so maybe Tweedy and his mates don’t make “cool” music but they do make good music. With so many hacks out there getting by on the cool factor rather than talent, I’ll take the guys who are good at what they do. In ten years we will compare the number of Wilco fans to the number of people who still care about the Sick Puppies. I think we all know what direction those results will be leaning.