What is the definition of rock music? Some time ago, somehow, somewhere along the way rock and roll has been confused with pop music. These are two totally different and distinct genres. Seeing Thirty Seconds To Mars win the MTV Video Music Award for Best Rock Video is a tragedy and a disservice to the rock music industry. Sure, the video itself is very artistic and deserves credit, but it is just in the wrong category. Why wasn’t it up against Selena Gomez in Best Pop Video? That song (“Up in the Air”) could easily fit in at any dance club in America and people wouldn’t bat an eye. Play let’s say for argument’s sake, “Thunderstruck” by AC/DC and heads will turn.
It is understood that the rock genre has within it many sub-genres, none of them being pop music. Pop rock is a candy that fizzes in your mouth. It was quite controversial back in the ’80’s when people got sick eating a mouthful of the tiny little nuggets and washing them down with Coke. Wikipedia defines pop music as “a distinct genre, aimed at a youth market, often characterized as a softer alternative to rock and roll... the main goal is usually that of being pleasurable to listen to, rather than having much artistic depth... a genre which is commercially recorded and desires to have a mass audience appeal.” Well there we go, it’s all about the money and not about the art of music.
But that’s really the point here: there are many rock bands out there who’s main ambition is to define their art, musically. They pour their heart and soul into their craft not to sell out 50,000 stadiums full of screaming 13-year olds because they’re the in band this month. They would rather play in a more intimate setting with true hardcore fans who really appreciate their music. A pop band will usually have one or two successful albums and a handful of hits before they’re considered yesterday’s news by their so-called fans and someone else comes to take their place. Rock bands withstand the test of time with many albums and have fans for life.
MTV used to be the centerpiece for which true rock bands could showcase their audio as well as video creativities. One video in particular comes to mind is “Money For Nothing” by Dire Straits. It was the first music video to use computer animation to mimic human characters. It won MTV’s Video of the Year in 1986. Nowadays, true rock bands don’t stand a chance against these money-making one-hit wonders.
While we’re on the subject; why does MTV even have a video awards show? They haven’t broadcasted a music video in years. They used to play only music videos until The Real World aired and they haven’t looked back.