A couple of days back, The Guardian ran a piece declaring that rock ’n roll was dead, on the premise that only three rock songs had made the list of the 100 highest-selling songs in the UK in 2010. Plenty of articles have been written rebutting this idea – most notably at the excellent UK site The Quietus. But really, The Guardian article states a truism within the context of the premises it sets out: if rock ’n roll isn’t selling, it’s dying commercially, end of story. The more interesting question is what sort of state rock is in creatively: obviously, whether or not a genre is selling any records or not has never been a measure of its artistic worth or general utility.
Setting aside for a moment the issue of how much relevance the concept of genre even has in 2011, and looking beyond the FM radio bilge of Nickelback, Kings of Leon et. al., you’ll find that rock isn’t dead at all. In fact, it’s in fairly good health. Here we give you ten guitar-wielding bands – a mixture of respected veterans and up-and-coming types – who prove that whether or not rock music is past its apogee as a commercial force, it’s still home to plenty of creative impetus.
On the strength of what we’ve heard so far – the track she uploaded to SoundCloud a few weeks back, plus the short film released on YouTube that we’ve embedded above – Let England Shake is going to make for fascinating listening when it comes out, February 14th. Nearly two decades after Dry, Polly Jean is still pushing the creative envelope.