chapter  14
16 Pages

The Decline (and Perhaps the Fall) of Rock, Pop and Soul

ByJason Toynbee

Is popular music in decline? I am going to argue that it is, and that an explosion of creativity in the 1960s and ’70s has been followed by stagnation to the extent that popular music of the advanced capitalist economies has today grown moribund and self-referential. To make that argument I will discuss artists and genres, and make judgements about the value and signifying power of the music. But more fundamentally, I want to show how this aesthetic decline is related to social historical change.