Kings of Leon - Sex on Fire (2008)

Here is a very interesting - and entertaining at that - article in today's London Evening Standard I would sign no-questions asked:
It argues that electronic Dance Music is, in fact, NOT the seeming culprit it is always blamed to be, for the slow and painful decline of the musical genre of Rock. And spot-on he is. What has this to do with the Kings of Leon? Read on, here's the article:

Has rock really hit the bottom of the charts?
Richard Godwin, Evening Standard 12 Jan 2011
I blame Kings of Leon. If anyone killed rock'n'roll, it was the Followill brothers, in the billiard room, with a certain song.
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Kings of Leon - Sex on Fire (2008)
UK#1, IRL#1, FIN#1, AUS#1, NZ#2, Euro Hot100 #6, DK#7, BE#9, NL#16, SWE#16, CAN#22, AT#29, DE#33, CH#54, US#56, SVK#60

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Sex On Fire, inspired by Caleb Followill's ill-advised attempt to smoke a cigarette through his urethra, was released in September 2008 and immediately reached number one in the UK singles chart.

It went on to spend an astonishing 87 weeks in the Top 75, selling over one million copies, gushing bombastic mediocrity into the airwaves in a manner that went on to inspire the BP oil leak. Habitats were destroyed. Livelihoods ruined. And the high-flying bird we call rock'n'roll was smothered.

This week, the world noticed the corpse. We learned that post-Sex, sales of rock singles have hit an all-time low. Well, perhaps not all-time — they were significantly lower in 1834 — but with just three per cent of the 100 bestselling songs of last year defined as “rock”, middle-aged white men begin to worry that their tastes and preoccupations are no longer dominating every conceivable area of life.

“It is the end of the rock era. It's over in the same way that the jazz era is over,” lamented DJ Paul Gambaccini, who complained that record companies are now too short-sighted to invest in proper talent and budding guitarists are having to buy their own plectrums.

So who's the culprit? As Kings of Leon nervously twiddle their thumbs, a potential assailant has been identified. Hip-hop and R'n'B accounted for 47 per cent of last year's top sellers, with pop at 40 per cent, dance at 10 per cent and ragtime a non-mover at zero. The shift from “deep” rock music to ephemeral party music seems complete.

To complicate matters, however, the biggest-selling single of all last year was the rather moody hip-hop song, Love The Way You Lie, by Eminem and Rihanna. I recently saw it performed at a provincial karaoke night by a pair of emo kids, who wrought a compelling amount of angst from it. What conclusions to draw? That “hip-hop” is capable of doing “rock” emotions? That genre is hard to define these days?

Or merely that one form of music popularised by white men trying to copy black men has been surpassed by another form of music popularised by white men trying to copy black men? Anyway, if you look closely, you may just see the corpse of rock'n'roll twitch. In fact, you may see it get up, scratch its balls and order a pint of watered-downed Carling at the bar.

Rock still accounts for 27 per cent of album sales and 84 per cent of pub conversations, dominates the live arena and has found new audiences through games such as Guitar Hero. In fact, Forbes' list of the Top 10 grossing acts of last year — U2 first, AC/DC second, Springsteen fourth — reveals that the outlook for ageing white males with guitars is rather rosy.

But somehow I find the presence of Beyoncé, Jay-Z and Lady Gaga on the list more reassuring.

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