An article titled "Rock Music Sucks Now and It's Depressing" over at Pigeons and Planes caught the attention of Linkin Park singer/guitarist Mike Shinoda, making him pen his own piece, explaining in detail his thoughts on the current state of rock genre.
Before giving any explanation, Mike cleared up a few matters. "'The guy from Linkin Park visits this blog?' you say," the singer kicked off. "Indie music purists may want to hate on this piece before I start, simply because I represent a mainstream music act which they think is at odds with their 'independent' or 'underground' aesthetic. If thats you, so be it; I know your deal."
After noting that he was somewhat of an "indie purist" himself back in the day, Shinoda remembered the time when Linkin Park made the big league with "One Step Closer" single. "Up until that point, we were playing for a couple hundred people a night," he said. "Suddenly, that number doubled. Then quadrupled. And one night, I looked out from the stage and something made me think: 'Oh my God, we probably have fans who love music that I think is terrible.'"
Stressing that he is by no means dissing LP fans, the vocalist continued by explaining that bands such as Mumford & Sons or Fun. clearly don't represent the rock genre. "I have absolutely no problem with the bands [original article author Ernest] Baker cites - in fact, they've released some of the better albums in recent years," Mike stated.
"But they're not who I think of when I think of 'rock,'" he explained. "Baker didn't include huge, active artists like Linkin Park, Muse, Arcade Fire, Foo Fighters, Coldplay, Green Day, the Black Keys, Jack White, Fall Out Boy, Of Mice and Men, Nine Inch Nails, and hundreds of others. But it doesn't matter which rock bands you're talking about. You can make any list of popular rock bands out there right now, and you'll find they truly have little influence, individually or together, on the zeitgeist."
The vocalist then asked, "Why is that? Firstly, it's in the numbers. I believe that these days, more than ever, it's hard to start a rock band. Want to start rapping? Pull up an instrumental on YouTube, and you have a track. DJing? The software you need is either already on your laptop or it's a few dollars and clicks away. Starting a rock band is a more complicated endeavor."
After naming financial issues and the matter of rock acts being outnumbered as some of the key problems, Shinoda focused on what he described as "the other half" of the problem - culture of segregation in the minds of bands themselves.
"Behind the scenes, more than any fan would ever imagine, there's animosity between rock bands, even if they don't say it," the article reads. "I ask my friends in other bands; their story is the same. A lot of bands are afraid to align with one another on record and on tour. Maybe it's a credibility issue, or a snobbery issue, or maybe it's just because rock bands are loners."
In Shinoda's opinion, "rock music needs to take chances and innovate. Want to compare rock's growth to other genres? Listen to a Rick Rubin production from the '80s which was the epitome of hip hop production at the time and compare it with the soundscapes and variety that Kanye West, Pharrell, Kendrick and co., A$AP Mob, Odd Future, Azealia Banks, and all the rest are using today.
"Listen to a track by the Prodigy or Fatboy Slim from the late '90s, then listen to Zedd, Knife Party, Glitch Mob, Skrillex, Deadmau5, Major Lazer, Avicii, Daft Punk, and TNGHT. And ask yourself: why isn't rock doing this? Sure, rock is evolving, but it simply doesn't have the vibrancy it could - and ought to - have."
Mike then admitted that the article author had a point in saying that rock music became "pussified." "Where's the rock that's about innovation, energy, aggression, catharsis, passion?" the singer asked. "Where's the explosiveness of 'The Shape of Punk to Come?' The ferocity of 'Master of Puppets?' The boldness of 'The Downward Spiral?'"
The frontman concluded, "A girl from Japan told me once that she was worried about men of the next generation being what they called 'Soushoku Danshi,' or 'Sheep Boys.' This description was invented to describe people as either 'herbivores' or 'carnivores,' the former group being described as soft, non-assertive, and indifferent. For me, rock music has gotten a little herbivorous.
"Where are the carnivores? At the end of the day, it will never be about one song, one album, or one band. A movement requires leaders who are restless, brave, and f--king disruptive. I'm in the studio right now. I'm looking for ways to do it myself. I hope my peers and their fans are as well, because it's the only way we'll be able to force Pigeons and Planes to write a post called: 'Everything but Rock Sucks Right Now and It's Depressing.'"
Read Shinoda's full piece here.