Wednesday, August 22, 2012

An "Atlantic Divide" in Rock 'n' Roll?

"Rock ‘n’ roll is innately religious and expresses a desire for the infinite, according to one of Ireland’s leading music journalists," John Waters, reports Catholic News Agency's David Kerr — Music journalist explores religious qualities of rock 'n' roll. An excerpt:
    Waters contests that there is an “Atlantic divide” when it comes to the “credent pillars of modern pop and rock ‘n’ roll,” with a “British model” that is more ideological and destructive, standing in contrast to its American counterpart.

    The British model, as exemplified by the 1970s punk movement, “always seemed to believe that rock ‘n’ roll should be a political form of rebellion which implicitly became socially left-wing,” Waters said. But the American model has “always had a far more existential dimension, a far broader dimension,” a characteristic that he traces to its “relationship with the primal music of the Blues and Gospel.”

    So while the British model has tended to inform the analysis of music critics, it is “not necessarily the impulse that is to be found in the music,” he said, holding up legendary American artists such as Sam Cooke, Patti Smith and Bruce Springsteen as examples.

    “They play the game of the modern culture, speaking to the communications media in a certain language, and yet in their songs they speak an entirely different language.”

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