A recent interview with Noel Gallagher, who I presume is the more talented brother, appeared in a local weekly, the Portland Mercury. The interviewer asked him a few questions on the state of the music industry in general and guitar rock specifically.
When was the last great band to appear from either of our countries? A truly great band? Don't mention Oasis—that's a given. I'm struggling to think of one great band that will come out of the digital age. It's all about personality and celebrity now. The biggest stars in the world are all singular people like Rihanna and Lady Gaga, fucking all that mob.
I don't think [guitar music] will ever die. I base all my thoughts on record sales and charts. There are great bands playing in pubs—they're playing somewhere—but who gives a fuck about those? Guitar music as a force for being the biggest shit in the world is fucking over for now, you know what I mean? In the mid '90s there was Oasis, Nirvana, fucking you name it. Radiohead are still going, but you know what I mean. My battleground is the charts, and guitar music at the top of the charts is virtually nonexistent unless you fucking count Green Day, which nobody should.
Interviewer: Why put so much stake in the charts?
Because that's what counts. Popular culture is what counts. Anything else is just—who wants to be a cult band? Fuck that. You know what I mean? There are a thousand great records written a day that nobody owns. I still think bands should aim to be the Beatles, not fucking Pavement.
We live in a world with more good music being created on a daily basis than ever, but you wouldn't know it if you only observed top 40 radio. So many bands and artists operating today in relative obscurity would have been superstars thirty or forty years ago. Plenty of blame can go to the general public. As we become dumber and more ignorant as a culture, and consequentially prouder of our dimness, the various expressions of culture are likewise lowered. The professionals who should be the gatekeepers against rubbish, critics, often give in to popular opinion over acts like Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga so that they appear connected and "with it". In more troubling examples like gangster rap, they refuse to point out the wildly negative messages of casual violence, misogyny, and outright nihlism because of political and social correctness.
Going back to Gallagher's point, I'm not entirely sure bands aren't trying to be the Beatles instead of Pavement. I'm pretty sure Pavement dreamed of Beatle's like successes. I think every band out there, even the ones most high on their own "indie cred" self-flatulence, wants that. They want their records to be both brilliant and popular. If anyone is letting a misguided sense of hipster culthood get in the way, it's many of the fans of these remarkable acts because there is admittedly something special about knowing what most others don't.
The artists, however, want to communicate their beauty with the most people they can while remaining true to their ideals. They seek recognition of their talent and hard work in a marketplace where the consumer rejects the mediocrity handed to them and seeks out excellence. Unfortunately for them and all of us who enjoy their work, we don't live in that world anymore.