What would we do without innovators? The John Lennons, the Jimmy Pages, the Marty McFlys (that’s if you believe ‘Back to Future’ actually happened) ‘- rock ‘n’ roll is full of innovators, and throughout the last 50 years, we have relied on rock pioneers to propel the course of music into uncharted waters. But here’s the rub: since the death of Kurt Cobain, rock has been almost completely void of forward thinkers. We are, instead, mired in a rut of revivalists (The Hold Steady, The Strokes). There is no one we can turn to. Rock, and pop music with it, has finally lost its direction. Who will save us? Is there no one in the pop music spectrum who could possibly’hellip;
Oh wait, there’s Kanye West. Because indie will never change the world (it doesn’t have the people power), and rock is too concerned with making it seem like it never actually needed grunge, hip-hop has become the harbinger of what’s coming around the bend, and West is leading the charge. West is single-handedly saving Common’s career,bringing Washington, D.C.-all-star Kid Cudi from the ground up, and may be trying to bring back the Afro-mullet. He has released three incredible albums, and one album that no one can ever rip-off, even if it’s pretty terrible (for those wondering, I’m referring to ‘808s and Heartbreaks’). He’s amounted a catalogue that most other rappers or hip-hoppers aren’t even able to dream about. I mean, he rapped about Jesus. Who raps about Jesus and gets away with it?
And lest you think he’s only unique because of his ego, think again. Bono, John Lennon, Robert Plant, even Mick ‘I’m so old I probably died five years ago’ Jagger all probably would not have gotten the joke about the fish sticks that ‘South Park’ so eloquently put to a fake papier-m’acirc;ch’eacute; Kanye. We like that Kanye has no conceivable idea about how to be a normal human being with any adequate source of self-awareness. If West didn’t constantly rant in all caps about armchairs on his blog, he would just be another banal superstar who wants us to know that they broke a tooth on their Twitter. But Kanye is special, because he wants us to know that he thinks he’s more important than everybody else. And, in a crazy, backwards way, that’s why he is more important than everybody else. Yeah, he just made a music video about Viagra, but hey, nobody else would have had the name to be able to pull it off with the degree of success Kanye did.
So there it is. Until Radiohead decides they want to reappear on the radio, we are stuck with the knowledge that Kanye West is leading us into the second decade of 21st-century pop on the wings of AutoTune and those damn sunglasses. So pop in ‘We Don’t Care’ and think about this: The most important figure in music today has a chorus of kids behind him singing about dealing drugs. Let that soak in, and I’ll see you in a week.