What is ROCKISM? What does ROCKISM mean? ROCKISM meaning – ROCKISM definition – ROCKISM explanation.
Source: Wikipedia.org article, adapted under https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/ license.
Rockism is a loosely defined pejorative referring to perceived biases in 20th-century popular music criticism, particularly that rock music – or certain fields of rock music – was inherently superior, especially when compared to producer-driven genres like disco, R&B and hip-hop. Coined in 1981 by English rock musician Pete Wylie with his Race Against Rockism campaign, the term was used humorously by self-described “anti-rockist” critics in the British press. “Rockists” may also refer to people who regard rock music as the normative state of popular music.
The term was not generally used outside the confines of small music magazines until the mid 2000s, partly due to the exponential increase in bloggers who used it more seriously in analytical debate. In the 2000s, poptimism (or popism) represented a critical reassessment of pop music, and in the 2010s, it supplanted rockism as the prevailing ideology in popular musical criticism. Opponents of poptimist discourse have criticized the movement, believing that it has resulted in certain pop stars being prevented from negative reviews as part of an effort to maintain a consensus of uncritical excitement.
During the 1960s and 1970s, magazines like Rolling Stone and Creem laid the foundation for popular music criticism in an attempt to make popular music worthy of study. Some of these formative critics suggested that enduring pop music art was made by singer-songwriters using traditional rock instruments on long-playing albums, and that pop hits reside on a lower aesthetic plane, a source of “guilty pleasure”.
“Rockist” was coined in 1981 when English rock musician Pete Wylie announced his Race Against Rockism campaign, as former NME writer Paul Morley remembers:
… one or two music journalists writing in the one or two music magazines that existed then were very pleased. I was one of them, and was using the term “rockist” the minute after I read Wylie say it. … If the idea of rockism confused you, and you lazily thought Pink Floyd were automatically better than Gang of Four, and that good music had stopped with punk, you were a rockist and you were wrong. … it’s got something to do with a) the difference between Springsteen and Beefheart, albums and singles, intelligence and stupidity, glitter and denim, and shaky notions of authenticity and artificiality; b) being able to listen to Nick Drake and Christina Aguilera with the same levels of intensity; c) how rock groups hold their guitars and what they do with their legs as they hold their guitars; d) Q magazine, which turned hardcore rockist values into a glossy magazine; e) the fact that Franz Ferdinand are achingly nostalgic for anti-rockism but are themselves intrinsically rockist.
Anti-rockism was always violently pro-pop, largely because we original campaigning anti-rockists had been given such a tough time at school for liking Bowie and Bolan and not ELP and Led Zep.
Regarding the definition, music writer Ned Raggett noted: “Every article, every discussion, anything which involves the word seems to get bogged down or get taken apart in ways which prevent there from being any consensus.” Accordingly, some people have used rockism as a polemical label to identify and critique a cluster of beliefs and assumptions in music criticism. Rockism is therefore not a connotatively neutral term, according to Raggett: “You’re not going to find anyone arguing FOR any time soon, or at least coming out and saying so—but that’s precisely because of the terms of the discourse.” Popmatters’ Robert Loss wrote that “traditionalism” describes the policing of the present with the past, making it a better word for “rockism”. Design critic and indie pop musician Nick Currie (aka Momus) compared rockism to the international art movement Stuckism, which holds that artists who do not paint or sculpt are not true artists.