Bands Aren’t Dead, They Just Look a Little Different

Bands Aren’t Dead, They Just Look a Little Different


In early March, Maroon 5 lead singer and near-perpetual Voice coach Adam Levine sparked backlash with a questionable remark about the way forward for bands. Throughout an interview with Apple Music’s Zane Lowe to advertise “Beautiful Mistakes,” Maroon 5’s new single that includes Megan Thee Stallion, the frontman lamented the supposed lack of bands at this time in comparison with the period by which his group rose to fame.

“When the primary Maroon 5 album got here out, there have been nonetheless different bands,” Levine stated. “I really feel like there are no bands anymore, ? That is the factor that makes me sort of unhappy, is that there have been simply bands [back then]. There is not any bands anymore. I really feel like they are a dying breed.”

Naturally, energetic rock bands equivalent to Paramore and Garbage had been befuddled by Levine’s sweeping assertion: Paramore frontwoman Hayley Williams sarcastically tweeted, “adam levine thinks paramore broke up,” whereas Rubbish responded, “What are we, Adam Levine? CATS?!?!?”

It is true that the music panorama seemed lots completely different when Maroon 5 launched their debut album, Songs About Jane, almost 20 years in the past. In reality, the bands that are widespread within the music zeitgeist at this time do not even actually appear to be Maroon 5 — or most of the different bands that Levine’s group shared the charts with within the 2000s, for that matter.

Apart from No Doubt and Evanescence, two main bands fronted by ladies singers, in addition to the all-female nation group previously generally known as the Dixie Chicks, nearly all of high-profile bands performed on the radio within the post-Y2K period had been comprised solely of males, sometimes white: Trapt, Puddle of Mudd, Matchbox Twenty, 3 Doorways Down, Inexperienced Day, Nickelback, Lifehouse, The Killers, Foo Fighters, Coldplay and The All-American Rejects are only a small handful of the bands who, like Maroon 5, reigned on the Billboard Scorching 100 within the 2000s.

Whereas it is seemingly that Levine was particularly stating the shortage of bands at the moment on mainstream High 40 radio, which, to be honest, is an area currently dominated by solo pop, hip-hop, and R&B artists — the frontman did specify that “there nonetheless are loads of bands, and possibly they don’t seem to be within the [pop] limelight fairly as a lot” — his preliminary response was nonetheless dangerous because it perpetuates the erasure of a big motion of numerous bands who’re within the midst of an thrilling revolution for the diversification of illustration in music.

Although there may be nonetheless a protracted approach to go, as we push additional into the 2020s, distinctive viewpoints and experiences are lastly being represented and mirrored throughout all genres — particularly in rock, the place ladies, POC, queer, and nonbinary musicians are starting to take up extra space and make their voices (and tales) heard.

Visibility for ladies musicians has really been a driving power for the creation of recent bands in recent times. HAIM might be probably the most notable examples of this: the sister trio (Este on bass and vocals; Danielle on guitar, drums, and lead vocals; and Alana on guitar, keys, and vocals) is an omnipresent power, usually touchdown on main playlists and collaborating with artists equivalent to Taylor Swift and A$AP Ferg. They’ve additionally nabbed three Grammy nominations, two of that are pending for 2021 (Album of the Yr, Finest Rock Efficiency).

Then, there’s Nasty Cherry, the Charli XCX-conceived pop-rock group composed of singer Gabi Bechtel, guitarist Chloe Chaidez, bassist Georgia Somary and drummer Debbie Knox-Hewson. In 2019, the group was even the topic of a Making the Band-esque Netflix docu-series referred to as I am With the Band: Nasty Cherry. (Chaidez can be the lead singer of alt-rock/new wave band Kitten, one other rollicking group that is been on a gradual rise for the reason that mid-2010s.)

Alt-pop foursome The Aces, alt-rock trio Dream Wife, pop-meets-skate-punk group TRAMP STAMPS, Spanish indie rock band HINDS and rising heavy rock group PLUSH are just some of the all-women bands at the moment making waves, whereas The Pretty Reckless, CRAWLERS, Wolf Alice and Fickle Friends characterize a small pattern of the women-fronted bands who steadily pop up on streaming playlists. (Iconic female-fronted rock teams Paramore, Rubbish, and Evanescence are additionally nonetheless very a lot energetic, in case Levine has any doubts.)

Queer views are additionally shifting in the direction of the forefront. The members of MUNA, probably the most outstanding bands in recent times, all identify as queer. The SoCal trio (Katie Gavin, Josette Maskin, and Naomi McPherson) steadily deal with points concerning gender and sexuality of their music, together with songs equivalent to “I Know a Place,” which is concerning the 2016 Pulse nightclub capturing. Primarily based within the UK, Pale Waves, which is fronted by lead singer Heather Baron-Gracie and contains at the very least two overtly queer members, can be making house for feminist, LGBTQIA+ illustration within the pop-rock sphere.

Racial range in bands additionally appears to be on the rise. Composed solely of girls of colour, two of whom are homosexual, Meet Me @ the Altar is shaking up the white male-dominated pop-punk scene. Then, there’s explosive London-based alt-rock duo Nova Twins, who’re reclaiming their house in rock, a style pioneered by Black musicians within the early twentieth century. On the opposite aspect of the globe, Japanese all-girl band CHAI — composed of lead singer and keyboardist Mana; guitarist Kana; drummer Yuna; and bassist Yuuki — is redefining the idea of “kawaii” by their radical model of energetic post-punk music and pointed reclamation of the colour pink.

Maybe much more vital than the sheer intersectional visibility these bands are offering are the themes they’re tackling of their music. CHAI sings about magnificence expectations and autonomy on “No Extra Cake”; Nova Twins sort out sexual harassment and cat calling on “Bullet“; and Pale Waves addresses the suffocating societal restrictions positioned on ladies on “You Do not Personal Me” — tales and experiences which weren’t precisely being explored by the white male bands of the Maroon 5 period.

If Levine really believes that bands are a “dying breed,” it is fairly clear that the singer’s definition of the phrase “band” excludes queer identities, ladies, and folks of colour: often-marginalized teams who’re undoubtedly respiratory new life into the rock and band music house. (It is a bit ironic, contemplating so a lot of Maroon 5’s hit collaborations in recent times have featured ladies in addition to non-white artists, from Christina Aguilera to Cardi B and, now, Megan Thee Stallion.)

Maybe Levine would really feel much less unhappy if he up to date his playlist.





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