We have talked at considerable length about our love and respect for both male and female performers/singers/songwriters.  For many years these talents have filled us with songs, thrilling performances, and flashy showmanship.

The years prior to the New Millennium gave us much.  But since then the wealth of memorable and enduring talent seems to have disappeared.  Has it?

With the proliferation of recorded music, much of it without gatekeeper labels, (who aren’t very good gatekeepers anymore), we are literally overrun with musicians that we will never hear.

I’m not talking about Mariah Carey, Britney Spears, or Lady GaGa.  Nor am I talking about Kanye West, Cee Lo Green, or Li’l Wayne.

And yes, there are marginal talents (marginal because their audience is still limited, not because of any talent scaling downward).  Talents like Florence Welch , Casey Dienel of White Hinterland, and Erika Wennerstrom of Heartless Bastards can capture imagination. 

The big question here is will any one of them, or countless others ever gain the stature of a Joni Mitchell, a Joan Baez, a Stevie Wonder or Marvin Gate?  Will any of the New Millennium singers replicate the respect of a Bruce Springsteen?  A Bob Dylan?  Will a Carly Simon-like talent ever emerge again?

I’m not so sure anymore.

Your thoughts?

img title=”2009_Points_West_Music_Arts_Festival_Day_1_3k9M7rzvdSQl.jpeg” class=”alignnone” alt=”image” src=”http://www.musictap.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/wpid-2009_Points_West_Music_Arts_Festival_Day_1_3k9M7rzvdSQl.jpeg” /

By MARowe

21 thoughts on “Where Are All Of Our Heroes?”
  1. Today’s music is disposable. It’s so easily accessible, that it easy to move on to the “Next Big Thing”. The 2010’s have given us some great music, but there’s very few artists that will be remembered 20 years from now, let alone 50.

  2. All does not bode well for “heroes” if history is an indication. Look at Classical Music – how many new and exciting and groundbreaking new composers and pieces have there really been since mid-last century? How about Jazz? If you take away the Rock/Fusion element, has there really been many memorable pieces since the early 60s? There are limitations to how much groundbreaking can take place in musical form. Rock has been with us, more or less, for 60 years. It is a simpler (most of the time) form than either above. Take it back 30 years and more, and you have new sub-genres popping up all over the place, starting trends, branching to other forms, from Pop to Prog to Country Rock to Punk to New Wave to New Metal, etc. But then, the recycling began. Of course, there are pioneers still stretching – I am not suggesting that Rock is dead yet – but nothing is really new anymore. Plus take away the community of music stores, the lack of meaningful music press, and the cocooning of most people behind their walls and computer screens – how can “heroes” really rise above the collective groups? I think most of us of an age are still collectors, and still hope for even a single band that will bring the mass love, devotion and hysteria that once ruled each week (!) in the Rock Music world, but like all forms in the past, there seems to be time limits. Another interesting question to ask is: if Rock is not in its death throes, what is coming next?

  3. Music just isn’t as important to the current younger generation as it was to generations prior to the millenium. I don’t see the passion. I don’t see as many kids walking around in t-shirts with a band’s logo emblazoned across it. Music is just kind of “there”. It will be hard to gauge what kind of lasting impact singers/songwriters/bands from this era will have until we can look back 20 years down the road (will we even still be here to get that perspective?).

    There are still good rock bands around, an obvious example (to me anyway) are The Black Keys. Unfortunately rock has been buried by disposable pop for the last decade so today’s rock bands have a fraction of the overall population’s attention compared to back in our day. I suppose eventually the cream will rise to the top and there will be some performers that stand out, perhaps by default. Afterall, people are still listening to music, still buying (or stealing) music, and still going to concerts.

  4. They don’t exist anymore. Why? The labels do not nurture artists anymore and the artist is not given the “3 Chances or you’re gone.” Also, it doesn’t help that “popular music” all sounds the same.

  5. Back in the day, bands played live, sometimes for years before getting noticed and then landing a record deal, so most go in and make a record playing at a high level because they are road tested musicians. Today, singing competition shows crown a winner thus creating a star instead of a musician earning their way to stardom, I think that’s a major difference. Then these shows dictate the “winners” first album by handing them songs thus creating some sort of an assembly line of disposable forgetable music that has the shelf life of fresh produce. 15 year old kids buy this stuff, listen for a week or two and then hit delete to free up space on a device for the next big thing, this process guarantees this generation will not be talking about these songs 30 years from now like my friends reminice about Zeppelin and the other great bands we grew up with, sad.

    1. I agree with you, John; there’s not enough maturity in the music, nor in the listeners, today.

      These bands (most of them, anyway) will not be remembered in 3-4 years, let alone 30.

  6. Just about the only band going strong today that is going to be remembered down the line is the Foo Fighters. What they have done with their last album should be looked at as revolutionary, so to speak, for this time period.

    They actually toured the full album, as opposed to greatest hits. They did an entire garage tour and visiting lucky fans with an entire concert in their garage.

    The Foo’s are old school, but have figured out how to remain current and fresh. Not many bands reach their apex this far into their careers, and they don’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon.

    1. Dave,
      I was going to mention the Foo Fighters as well (in my comment above) but I feel they are actually a 90’s band that have survived into the 2000’s (much like Green Day). Perhaps it’s Dave Grohl’s being a part of Nirvana that cements them to the 90’s. Anyway, that’s why I used The Black Keys as an example instead of the Foos or Green Day. The Keys are definitely a new millenium band.
      BTW, I agree Wasting Light will be a top ten album for this decade when all the dust settles.

  7. the simple answer to the question is no,because everything now is downloading and most of the time its done illegally so many people dont want to invest time into learning about artists and with what is out today I wouldn’t invest my time either.This is why I’m not concerned about physical product going away and with the bands or individuals I listen to would release their product on independent labels or on their website

  8. I agree with Bill B. You don’t see fans walking around with t-shirts of the favorite artists anymore. The record (can I still say that) buying public is fickle nowadays. They have been for awhile. I think the 80s were the last decade to actually nurture an artist’s longevity. For example, when I was growing up, if I liked an artist, I followed that artist throughout their entire career, waiting impatiently for their next ALBUM…not single. I didn’t care how many years it took for them to release it. I still follow them. Nowadays, if you don’t have another hit single released 3 hours after the one that is currently being played, you are done. And the way we can get music nowadays plays a big part in that as well. It’s too easily avaialble with downloads. UGGH!! Hate that word!!!

  9. I agree Dave Grohl and the Foo Fighters are about the only example I can think of as “heroes” of RnR these days….

  10. Robert’s comments are spot on–nowadays if I mention I am excited for an artist’s next release because I’ve been following them for years I often get a reply such as, “You’re still listening to THEM?” The disposability of much of today’s music is a sorrowful thing. For instance, remember when a Madonna would release an album like “Like a Prayer” or even “Erotica?” They were albums, they were cohesive, they were something you could actually LISTEN to. Nowadays, someone like Madonna just seems to be chasing whatever trend or fad is popular so she can release “product,” said product being totally forgettable. Bet you can hum the melody of “Express Yourself” or “Papa Don’t Preach,” right? Now name any song off her latest release–I’m not talking about humming the melody, just name one of the songs. Any luck? Me neither. And I only use Madonna as an example–there are countless artists like this today. I try to find my musical pleasure where I can nowadays–for me, artists like Foo Fighters, Pet Shop Boys, Adele and some other lesser knowns are out there–you just have to find them. You have to look a little more to find the good stuff, but I have to believe it is still out there!

  11. Sorry but it’s really lazy to complain that there’s no good music any more or that music isn’t as good as it was in the 60s/70s/80s/etc. There’s tons of amazing music out there if you’re prepared to look beyond mainstream TV/radio. Let’s not forget that as long as there’s been music, most of it has been AWFUL – it’s just that we only remember the good stuff.

  12. This is a pointless excercise.There are heroes everywhere today it is just everyone has different heroes, as music is far more accessible than in the other decades thanks to Youtube. Nearly every comment is nostalgic, there was a lot of rubbish in other decades and ‘non’ heroes like Tom Jones (in my opinion). We all look for different meanings in music so why can’t people like Mariah Carey, Britney Spears, or Lady GaGa be heroes either?

    1. Dom, hardly a pointless exercise. You’re right about the pop artists you have chosen…I’ve never questioned their validity. I intentionally leave them out because for some fans, they are solid. But I was talking about Led Zeppelins , Beatles, Rolling Stones…where are our equivalent of THOSE bands these days? It has nothing to do with nostalgia.

  13. There’s plenty of great stuff, we’re just stuck in an era where we have to try a lot harder to find it. In my mind, Elbow is a band that has the talent to live up to the Led Zeppelins , Beatles, Rolling Stones. They haven’t really broken in the US, but they’re celebrated in England.

    I’d add The Decemberists, Regina Spektor and John Wesley Harding to the list of “can capture imagination” but haven’t received the recognition that befits their talent. Heck, even older acts like Mark Knopfler and Nick Lowe are soldiering on, consistently releasing fantastic new material.

    1. Tim, excellent points. I would add Black Mountain, Heartless Bastards, and several other bands to that list.
      Which is a problem because no one pays enough collective attention to these selections to elevate them.

    2. I got the idea for this set of articles because of the new gem from Mary Chapin Carpenter. I would consider her a talent alongside the great female stars of our time but, alas, despite her talents, she will never get that chance.

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