“In the ’70s, directions are unclear…”

No author cited in this AP piece from May 28, 1976, conveying mostly confusion and disillusionment (“a certain sadness,” admits Bill Graham). I’m trying to square the sentiments here with Christgau’s notion of “semipopular” but I’m not getting too far (in part because I haven’t thought that deeply about Christgau’s notion of “semipopular,” but I’m thinking that I should). Whether or not it’s too obvious a cliché to point out that The Ramones was released almost precisely a month before this article appeared, there’s no question that around-the-corner was about to get pretty interesting.

2 thoughts on ““In the ’70s, directions are unclear…”

  1. My guess is that the AP writer held a view of rock common at the time, limited to the music of the 60s. That sensibility WAS withering, and what was replacing it seemed less authentic and inspired. Punk was probably off this writer’s radar screen. But, this is a telling article, reflects an angst that has periodically re-arisen since then.

  2. True, though the complaint today would likely be something more like, “there’s lots of great music out there but not everyone shares my idea of what that is.” Here the complaint seems to be a straight up, “music is more popular than ever and most of it is shit.” At some point, and I don’t know when (but my guess is the ’80s), no one who took popular music seriously could ignore stuff going on all over the sidelines. (There was plenty happening on the sidelines in ’76–the writer does make an unenthusiastic nod to Springsteeen and “Patty” Smith–but there was no imperative then, I suppose, to find it.)

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