Friday, February 17, 2006

Rock's next megaband may be ... no one

This article suggests that we may not ever have another megaband on the order of the Beatles, U2 or Led Zeppelin. It starts with the obligatory "will it be Coldplay?" question but then goes on to say that because of the diffuse nature of media today, it may not be possible.

I'm not so sure about that. After seeing Coldplay on the Grammy Awards I'm less convinced that they have what it takes. But, then again, U2 didn't have what it takes for world domination after their third album either. They were able to do this because it takes a truly execptional band willing to grow and change and adapt. But maybe it's more than that. Do you need a band with big anthemic songs to be like U2? Can Bruce Springsteen only pack stadiums when he sings "Born in the USA" and not when he sings "Nebraska?" I'm not sure about that either. I think there is a place for gentle songs to grab the culture but probably not on the sclae that U2 does. I can't see an acoustic band playing the Super Bowl.

(Thanks to Scatter O' Light for pointing me to the article.)


bethany said...

I wonder also if race/class/culture issues are being ignored here. The megabands mentioned (and really rock music in general) are white male bands, with primarily white audiences. I wonder if, as we become more and more aware of other audiences, a band that's pretty popular with white americans and some europeans just doesn't seem that popular anymore as nearly half the US population isn't in those demographics. Not to say a white american culture megaband is not interesting and impactful.
I wonder if Coldplay isn't going to cut it because they lack depth. They seem to be primarily ABOUT being cool and epic. And that has a certain appeal to it, but it works at a Yes level, not a U2 level.

c said...

hi bob -
thanks for the link. i agree with the above points.

i like coldplay a lot, but not on a level beyond them just being some guys who make nice music.

one difference between u2 and coldplay after 3 albums is that u2 were still relatively gauche 22-23 year olds after their 3rd album, and they were still underdogs that people wanted to root for. but coldplay after 3 albums are nearing 30, and are very wealthy, and are seen as privileged, and nobody in the indie elite wants to root for them anymore.

plus, what do coldplay stand for? it's a cliche, but u2 connects to many people in ways far beyond music and entertainment.

anyway, to answer you question that you posed on my site - i am a writer/editor for a business publicaton.