Styles & Forms | Twenty-First Century | Rock

The impact of rap on the rock market was everywhere to be seen in the first years of the new millennium. White artists, black artists and rock bands attempting to incorporate the style made this area the biggest musical melting pot since the 1950s.

The means by which music was accessed switched from CD to downloading from the internet, requiring a shift in thinking from a record business already in recession. Yet some of the world’s biggest acts remained guitar/bass/drums-orientated. The success of British art rockers Radiohead and Coldplay was probably unsurprising, given the publicity surrounding the re-formation of Pink Floyd for 2005’s G8 concert. Add the popularity of Black Sabbath veteran Ozzy Osbourne and it was clear that conservatism still existed.

A smattering of punk outrage was supplied by the likes of The Libertines, with original lead singer Pete Doherty, and, more profitably, by Americans Green Day. But even though the world was in turmoil with the events of 9/11 and the terror war that followed, music was now more an escape from reality than a way to make feelings known. Lighting a cigarette at a gig was as rebellious as it got – unless you were Keith Richards, who fell out of a tree when inebriated. Though he survived, the spirit of rock’n’roll was looking distinctly peaky.

Sources & Sounds

Never since the arrival of the black vinyl record had there been a quantum shift in how music was consumed than in the 2000s. While computer games had rivalled music for fans’ attention in the 1990s, the new decade saw the personal computer (PC) become the new way to obtain music via downloading. Further to this, the internet was making new stars via its Myspace platform, 2006 UK chart-toppers Arctic Monkeys and Sandi Thom to name but two.

Hearing It All Over Again

In purely musical terms, the decade opened with a look back to the future – the biggest-selling album of 2000–01 was 1, The Beatles’ first bona fide greatest hits collection. This sold 3.6 million units in its first week and more than 12 million worldwide in three weeks, becoming the fastest-selling album of all time.

When American duo Steely Dan returned with their first LP for two decades and venerable guitarist Carlos Santana (aged 53) bagged eight Grammies, many were glancing at the calendar in disbelief. Santana, in particular, was the beneficiary of some great marketing, recruiting such hip names as Dave Matthews, Lauryn Hill, Eagle-Eye Cherry and Rob Thomas to make cameo appearances. His Grammy haul equalled Michael Jackson’s in 1983.

As Seen On TV

Another return to the 1960s came in the form of manufactured artists, a recurring theme of the 2000s. Yet while The Monkees had been the brainchild of music-biz mogul Al Kirshner, the public were (theoretically at least) to blame for the likes of Hear’say, a five-piece group that emerged from 2001’s Popstars programme. Inspired by the format...

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Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Rock, general editor Michael Heatley


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