Bob Dylan, Sex Pistols, Crass, Rage Against The Machine – it was once a given that music and politics went hand in hand but in 2011 music and politics don’t mix anymore.
There are lots of factors for the end of politics in pop, the main one is that it’s not the medium anymore. If you have something to say you get onto the internet. Twitter powered the Arab Spring whilst music tried to keep up. The internet may lack the emotional power of pop but it’s far, far faster. In the sixties music was the cutting edge of technological culture. You had something to say? then record and release a seven inch single – the ultimate statement.
In 2011 it’s too slowly. It’s a dinosaur culture. Can anyone keep up with Hackgate? The establishment is collapsing and there’s no time to write a song about it. You get halfway through the first verse and the story has changed again, you get to the chorus and David Cameron will have resigned!
Music’s role has changed. It doesn’t create the slogans that change the debate like it did in the punk generation – it creates the space where ideas can float around, a community for like minded people, a sense of the counter culture, a place of hope and euphoria. It can’t sound track the times like it used to but it still has a role but for getting information out or getting the situation into a catchy slogan the internet has currently taken over – music’s challenge is to react to this.