Lexington’s Brother

The Longevity of Rock ‘N’ Roll and Eight People We Will Remember

When we look back at popular music in 15 years (2024), only a few of today’s musicians will still matter.  It’s just the nature of an industry full of drug abuse and lip syncing.

Before we get into the meat of this blog entry, fans of Beyonce should check out the board feed (the audio of her singing along to a recording) from the critically-acclaimed singer on the Today Show. It proves how pop singers are products of record labels and nothing more.

The one genre of music that seems to have more stability with its artists is rock n roll.  There are myriad reasons why, but especially because they are forced to write their own songs and .  There are other reasons, but just consider that we still talk about Buddy Holly 50 years after his death.  Tons of people (my dad, especially) still listen to Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” and The Beatles are still one of the most popular bands in the world.

It’s clear rock n roll has a longer shelf life than any other genre, but that doesn’t mean its artists will stick around.  Drugs, alcoholism and the pressure of reproducing earlier successes take a toll on most musicians.  The perfect example is The White Stripes, whose anxieties you can read about here.

With that being said, let’s go through the names in rock n roll who will still be around with some YouTube videos to show you why they’re so good.  I’ll also talk about why they’re different from everyone else and their affect on the music industry.

(Oh, and like always, play this music really loud.  You only live once.)

  • Matthew Bellamy, Chris Wolstenholme and Dominic Howard.  I listened to “Black Holes and Revelations” and thought Muse had at least five members.  It still amazes me that this band, one of the biggest in the world, has such a vast sound with only three people.  Matthew Bellamy is probably the best singer in the world, too.
  • Radiohead, specifically Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood. Thom Yorke writes the outlines of almost all Radiohead songs, but Jonny Greenwood makes them memorable with classic guitar parts like in “My Iron Lung.”  I read something the other day that said everyone from 20-30 understands that Radiohead are the best and most important band of their generation and they haven’t even had a hit single in 16 years (“Creep”), which is unquestionably true.  If you’ve seen any of Radiohead’s performances lately (like the first video), it’s amazing to see how much they’ve evolved since Pablo Honey (the second performance was a year before The Bends came out, even though they’re performing ‘The Bends”).  Let’s hope Radiohead has at least five more records in them.

(I was watching Radiohead videos on YouTube as research and I really have no idea how the hell they did “There, There”.  I think it’s their best example to show why the band is so important: Ed O’Brien, Jonny Greenwood and Thom Yorke can play a slew of different instruments, which means that the band doesn’t have boundaries.  Anything Thom Yorke dreams up can be done.  Anyway, here’s the video.)

  • Josh Homme. The thing that I find appealing about Josh Homme and his bands is the style of music.  Queens of the Stone Age is supposed to be really heavy and it was on the first two QOTSA records.  But now, with Lullabies to Paralyze in 2005 and Era Vulgaris in 2007, Homme has taken the band more mainstream with their singles, but has counted that with aggressive songs like “Misfit Love” on Era Vulgaris.  Part of that reason for the move to the mainstream is because of the turnover in the band, but I also think Homme realizes how to keep Queens of the Stone Age relevant.  They need to attract more fans while continuing to stay true to their roots.   Here are examples of all three types of music I’m talking about.  QOTSA had the following tracks on Era Vulgaris.
  • The Strokes, specifically Julian Casablancas. This choice is more personal than anything else because The Strokes are my favorite band, but I don’t know if they’re still relevant.  It’s difficult to get an outside perspective, but if you haven’t heard their first or second record, Is This It and Room on Fire respectively, you should go to YouTube and do so now.  If you don’t want to, watch these two videos to get a sense of what The Strokes were like back in 2001 (ISI) and 2003 (ROF)

(I’m pretty sure they’re all on LSD in this first video)

The problem the media and the critics have with The Strokes is that they’re fake rich kids trying to slum it in New York and they’re not musically diverse like Radiohead or Muse.  Their first two records sound similar (though they were both widely hailed as brilliant) and then the buzz was mostly gone with their third album (though it was outstanding, as you can hear with this example and this one too). Now, to make things worse, The Strokes probably won’t release a new album until 2010, which would be over four years since First Impressions of Earth. What I’m saying is I’m not sure if people still care about the band, which will certainly submarine their longevity.  This makes me nervous.

  • With all of that (900+ words and a ton of videos) being said, the person I’m 90% certain will be called the best musician of my generation is Jack White.  At the moment, White is the centerpiece of three outstanding bands and is far-and-away the most productive musician going and the fantastic thing is that he seems like a pretty normal guy.  He’s married, has a kid and doesn’t do drugs or drink so he can seemingly concentrate solely on music.  Rolling Stone also named him the 21st best guitar player ever and he’s only 34.  Jack White’s career, quietly, is similar to Tiger Woods’.  We’re looking at him right now and he has all the potential in the world to dismantle every other musician in the industry with his diversity and drive to be the best.

Here’s “Seven Nation Army,” arguably one of the best songs of the decade.

So that’s the list (and probably my final post on Lexington’s Brother).  There will hopefully be a bunch of other artists we will remembers, especially Kings of Leon, because it’s clear that rock music stands the best test of time.  I hope that everyone has heard at least one new artist they like within the confines of this blog and I hope you continue to listen to good music.


For more from Eric Van Dril, check out RipcordNews.