But what this article made clear to me is how we have all failed, failed to make a stink when bands sell out, failed to repudiate those bands who sell out.
It helps that bands and audiences within a formerly contemptuous subculture now sing along. Fifteen or 20 years ago, Brickman's job couldn't have existed. A once-ubiquitous bumper sticker from a noted underground record label bluntly declared: "Corporate Rock Still Sucks." Back then, bands that cozied up to advertisers "were often ridiculed and hung out to dry," says Gerard Cosloy, co-president of New York-based Matador Records. "It's a different world now."
Doesn't that make you sick? We've caved to the logic that we should be happy for them and the money they've made -- as if money really is the arbiter of taste, the only legitimate reward for all types of effort. Well guess what: happy bands means crappy music. Bands make better music when they think no one is paying attention. And for the old bands who are now cashing in, their legacy is undermined and their music becomes threatened with disappearing altogether -- once it has been ingested by the commercial machine and digested by the consumer public, it retains no use value for anyone. First it hits a car ad, then it vanishes totally forgotten, another piece of marketing detritus. Who wants to save records full of advertising jingles? The actual jingles from bygone eras actually become more compelling than the actual music of their time that's currently being used by Madison Avenue -- the old jingles have sociological import, they are a nostalgic view into something past and concrete; the co-opted pop though offers only a view into the minds of the sycophants and quislings like the woman interviewed in this article and how they are trying to tap into the inner vacuous hipster in all of us, that inner adolescent still cowering in fear of having nowhere to sit at the cool table in the cafeteria.