Originally Posted by motojt
Yes for emo, pop-punk, and pop-rock, maybe for metal, but definitely not for desert rock (or stoner rock if you prefer). I've actually renamed stoner/desert rock to metal blues because a lot of QotSA, TCV, and Kyuss tracks have a bluesy feel to them. Not the traditional blues riffs, mind you, but the style and feel, the mood. I think they stick out from the alienation mold like a boner in gym class. If I had to attach a narrative to their music I'd probably have to say it would be walk your path. Not as in alienation or rebellion or anarchy, but more like you should just do what you want. And remember, I'm getting this from the music, not the lyrics, as they're generally chaotic and meaningless when taken as a whole. Also, bear in mind that's how I interpret it. Mileage may vary. ;)
P.S: In the spirit of the nickname hijack in the Little bit of Theory thread, feel free to just call me jt. I don't particularly care for it because it reminds me of Justin Timberlake, but most of my coworkers use it regardless.
speaking of hijacking . . .
An overall or dominant narrative need not pertain to everything that is recorded during a time period. Not every song recorded in the 1950s was about race. But overall, the context of music making during that period dealt with the cultural preconceptions about race, Little Richard, Chuck Berry and of course, Elvis all are performing in a racial context, as are The Stones and Beatles in the 1960s. Gender and sex roles play a dominant role in 1970s music the moaning or Robert Plant, the dress up of Bowie and NY Dolls, as well as in the Corp rock or Arena rock of the 1980s. You can read these cultural codes into the music.
It may very well be that music of the last 20 years is incapable of begin codified in such an all inclusive context. But I don't think so. I think you and Polly are on to something with the idea of the way the internet has allowed for a greater freedom in expression. I think that this has become the major narrative of music today. What is the the implication of having that freedom, and how does it play out in the music?
Again, I think a big part of music over the last 20 years is the preference of emotion over technique. Something I personally don't think is a plus. I would say that nihilism is a big part of that music, and it would be interesting to try to come to a deeper understanding of why there have been so many prominent suicides, and perhaps an increase in very destructive behavior. Part of that is just part of the business. Judy Garland, Elvis and Michael Jackson all died the tragic self-destructive deaths.
I have wondered how much in intrusion of such theories can assist in musicians pursuit of creative expression. As Steely said, the notion of reflection or historical context plays a big role in music today. Something it didn't do as much back in the 1960s because rock just did not have a history.