Last week I read this article on the BBC website claiming rock music had overtaken pop music in the UK album chart. My immediate thought was that this seems unlikely, but I’ll read it and see if this bold and broad statement has any weight.
“Rod Stewart’s ‘Time’ was the best-selling album to be classified as rock by the Official Charts Company, followed by Arctic Monkeys and Bastille”
Got to be classified as something right? Just makes things a bit easier. But where do you draw the line? And who gets to draw it? Is it fair for Rod Stewart to be in the same classification as Behemoth, who are the current number 37 in the Rock & Metal album chart? I’d argue that Rod Stewart’s music is far more similar to the likes of James Blunt, who finds himself in the top 20 of the pop album charts. My point is, I think, that genres are so crazily difficult to categorise accurately that statements such as “rock overtakes pop” are drastically too broad and vague to be considered accurate, and are frankly better off just being ignored.
The charts are something I struggle to take seriously, as you probably know, and I’m somewhat out of touch, but I think it’s worth pointing out that the music in the charts doesn’t even come CLOSE to covering the illimitable array of music that is out there that doesn’t receive the same publicity, and perhaps as a result does not appeal to as many people.
It would appear Mark Savage, a BBC news entertainment reporter, agrees with me to an extent, as he claims that “Rock’s resurgence is helped by the Chart Company’s rather woolly definition – which includes Mumford and Sons (surely a folk-pop band) and Rod Stewart (better suited to the MOR category)”. Woolly is an interesting term, but I’d take it a step further and just describe their whole definition process as irrelevant and meaningless. If you’re going to cram anything with even a faint murmur of a guitar sound into the ‘rock’ genre, I say don’t bother. It’s as useful as a marine biologist comparing red fish to blue fish, when there are 35 million different sub-types of each.
I’m not saying “oh that’s not rock music, that’s just shitty old pop”; as easy as that would be, I certainly don’t have the right to make such a spunky claim, but I also don’t feel anyone else really does, apart from the artists themselves. But even then, if Katy Perry decided to claim she was a pig metal artist, well that would just be outrageous and fantastic, but she clearly isn’t, so there has to be a line somewhere. Either way genres exist, whether they can be categorically defined or not, and are an unavoidable aspect of music.
Both the BBC article, and the Chart Company’s genre’s are in my opinion complacent and inattentive. If I was in a self proclaimed metal band, and found myself sandwiched in the ‘rock’ charts between Rod Stewart and some other has-been with a marriage repertoire comparable to Henry VIII, I’d be pretty pissed off.
Should these two be classified as the same genre? Listen for yourself