RBP’s “Artists Over 50” 2011 Poll

Never trust anyone
under 30!

 

By Fred Mills

 

Longtime BLURT contributor Steven Rosen recently grabbed his
cane, shook his fist at all the punk kids milling about on his front lawn, then
assembled one of the year’s more interesting “best-of” polls. In conjunction
with esteemed music journalism archival site Rock’s Back Pages (www.rocksbackpages.com), Rosen polled
50 international music critics to get their takes on the best releases of 2011 –
created by artists 50 and older.

 

The resulting “Senior Moments” poll, while admittedly having
a decided baby boomer tilt, is crammed with quality, to such a degree that it
should give musicians now nudging 50 (or at least starting to be able to get a
glimpse of it in the headlights ) reasons to cheer, if not feel outright
relief. The top 10 of 2011: Tom Waits Paul Simon, Nick Lowe, Kate Bush (who
knew Kate was over 50?!?), Ry Cooder, Greg Allman, Steve Cropper, Glen Campbell,
Steve Earle, and (tied for 10th) R.E.M. and Charles Bradley. (For us
at BLURT, the inclusion of Glen Campbell, who is lovingly profiled by
Contributing Editor A.D. Amorosi in our latest print issue, is particularly
gratifying.)

 

Writes Rosen in his introductory essay, T”he prompt
was that – though there are exceptions
– our consumerist culture (especially commercial radio) sells and celebrates
new work by younger artists but tends to treat the more senior ones as
“oldies.” That marketplace remembers and repackages their past
glories, often in extravagant ways, but gives short shrift to their latest. As
a result, one of the standing clichés of rock is that the portion of a concert
where an older familiar musician plays his/her newest work is known as ‘bathroom
break time.’

 

“The roots of rock ‘n’ roll are, true, all wrapped up in youth – it started
as teenage dance-and-romance music and some would say it’s best when it never
forgets that… However, rock’s own sources – blues, R&B, country, swing,
world music – were not themselves solely youth-oriented, so there’s no inherent
reason rock (and related contemporary-hit music) has to stay that way.
Especially not after the 1960s and the arrival of singer-songwriters, conceptualist artist/producers, and deep-from-the-soul
singers.”

 

Truer words were never penned. Check out the entire feature, poll results
and individual critics’ ballots, right here. It’s a fun read, and portions of it
are guaranteed to surprise you. You can also view it at the RBP website.

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