An open letter to my European counterparts –
Kurt Cobain killed himself 17 years ago today, and Rock has more or less struggled here in the United States for whatever reason(s) ever since. Thankfully, however, the genre is thriving on your side of the Atlantic.
Having recently caught a rebroadcast of Muse's main stage performance of "Resistance" at the 2010 Oxegen festival near Kildare, Ireland, I now possess a better understanding why these three lads from Devon (southwest England) have become such an international sensation. Yet it was the crowd – some 75,000 strong – that left even more of a lasting impression.
Europa has a reputation for loyalty. You support the acts you appreciate without regard to those who may not grasp your brand of enjoyment, freely singing, dancing and flailing about with a constancy matched only by an equally well-known devotion to culture and sports (especially football/soccer).
Many of your American cousins, on the other hand, are jaded and easily distracted. Having once matched your passion, we have substituted the natural autonomy that formerly defined us with a consuming desire for all things "cool," often becoming trendy and specious without realizing it. But it hasn't always been that way; by no means.
That festive sentimentality we once shared with the world, the plentitude of which flowed with such ease just a decade ago, is not forgotten. Indeed an increasing groundswell desirous for a return to such placid days, even in the face of a soulless pop-oriented opposition that flourishes amid this nauseating era of antipathy, is cultivated by something intangible that can be ignored no longer.
I may love Britney Spears, for instance, like every other red-blooded heterosexual male. But she's mere eye candy. In fact, it's often necessary to remind me that my fellow Southerner best known for singing (or some variant thereof). And that's part of the point. With the emphasis clearly shifted from substance to superficial mass appeal, it is little wonder that mainstream music, once the most reliable standard of entertainment, is now laboring so greatly to recapture past glory.
Make no mistake, dear allies, the scene isn't dead. But it is struggling here in the States like never before. Yet I am hopeful for a movement – another "British invasion" perhaps – that engenders a great awakening to rid us of the monotony that has brought us to this point. Our respective governments may differ, but our similarities are profound nevertheless. So please learn from our mindless blunders and know that you might very well hold the key to better days ahead.