Popular music in America has entered a new renaissance, and, people, it's baaaad. Consumer capitalism, for all its intrinsic faults, spent the better part of the past century funding some ridiculous experiments in aesthetic commerce, including a little something somebody used to call rock 'n' roll. Desperate not to miss the big bucks, corporations allowed the little bucks to filter down to wily creative types. Lotsa musicians were shafted, naturally--that goes back to those intrinsic capitalist faults I mentioned (I can dash off a reading list upon request). But audiences, bless our greedy little ears, were served--even, on occasion, pleased. Now, however (insert ominous John Williams symphonic flourish here), a virulent new strain of monopoly capitalism has all but smothered the modern era. We've returned to the age of the Medici, where artists who stray a few chord changes from the pop template require the patronage of the wealthy and connected. Roll over, Chuck Berry, and tell... More >>>