Flutterby™! : Peak Oil, Rock-n-Roll, and everything else

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Peak Oil, Rock-n-Roll, and everything else

2009-11-15 17:50:28.324254+00 by Dan Lyke 5 comments

The Hubbert Peak Theory of Rock, or, Why We’re All Out of Good Songs. A good look at innovation and resource consumption.

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2009-11-15 19:01:45.202743+00 by: ebradway

“the amount of oil under the ground in any region is finite, therefore the rate of discovery which initially increases quickly must reach a maximum and decline.”

I think this analogy perfectly for artistic trends. A new trend, say "cubism" or "rap" arises. Societal themes are "mined" and framed in this new trend (trend is really too shallow a word - but you get the idea). But there really are only just some many far-ranging societal themes in the collective consciousness. It's the framing of these themes in the new artistic trend that makes them "great". After the larger issues have been worked through, the trend becomes compartmentalized within the smaller segment of society from which it arose. For instance, rap artists focus more and more on themes identified with closely with urban African-American life. Early on, rap drew more broadly and allowed for groups like the Beastie Boys to rise. The Beastie Boys rap, but not about the black experience. They try to rap from a broader perspective, which early in rap history was somewhat ground-breaking. Now, rapping about these broader experiences seems derivative and unoriginal, even if it's performed at a higher quality than the Beastie Boys.

As an extension of this argument, you could say that some trends frame certain societal themes better than others. These are the true masterpieces of that trend. Themes of rural white lifestyle are better encoded in country music than rap. This is why my music collection spans many genres thinly but only goes deep into the genres that are aligned with my personal experiences.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-11-15 21:19:51.82712+00 by: Chris

maybe in the early stages, when a genre is first emerging, it evolves, many give it their own interpretation, one learns/builds upon the work of another, takes it further, and sooner or later, if It gains wide acceptance, the we have the "Next Big Thing" Naturally and by osmosis it becomes widespread, many are influenced and some are just jumping on the bandwagon and produce copycat versions, the first trailblazers boldly go where....... but after the path is well marked, many are miles beyond in their artistic development. It is difficult to articulate this, and I am attempting to avoid the trap of generalization. Maybe it's just a plain simple truth that rock might be dying because it was beaten to death. I would rather not comment on rap,so I will refrain from presenting my opinion as fact, but........ it sure as hell ain't Bach But, a few of them could use music training, and most seem to have some serious "Image" issues as far as the badass crap they throw out there, and I can't dance to it

#Comment Re: made: 2009-11-16 10:28:38.910887+00 by: DaveP

And here I thought it was just because I'm turning into Mr. Wilson.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-11-16 13:31:28.736708+00 by: Chris

Naw, maybe rap should have it's own category, somehow calling it "music" seems to grant it a status that is undeserved. I was 16 years old in 1968, the shit was flying, a magical time. Don't see anything comparable these days.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-11-16 15:40:19.767429+00 by: topspin

I think one could plot the graph of the decline of marriage since the 60s/70s along a similar path.


Rock, like traditional marriage, is an idea whose time is waning. Will it rise again? I dunno.... don't care. In my life, music and marriage is what it is, but over the long haul.... I'm not an anthropologist.

Folks, we love our rock-n-roll but judging creativity in music by our limited lifespans is pretty dang shallow. I'm reminded of the silliness of Playboy asking Richard Thompson for his picks for "Top Ten Songs of the Millennium." Other artists might reach back 100 years.... not Thompson. He saw a bigger picture.


And, for grins.....