Robert Hilburn tells us that as recently as three years ago he feared for the future of rock music ("Don't Count Rock Out Yet," July 1). The reason? A supposed lack of new ideas among rock's most commercially successful acts. He then tells us that three events have since laid the groundwork for a rock revival: the success of the Beatles' anthology "1," a reunion tour by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, and U2's return to its "classic sound" in "All That You Can't Leave Behind."
Surely I'm not the only one to notice that the first two developments were exercises in nostalgia (the focus of the Springsteen tour was old material) and the third was a calculated move away from stylistic innovation. As contradictions go, this wasn't even subtle.
Though a perennial embarrassment, his lavish praise of Springsteen et al has, until now at least, been largely coherent. I guess now we can't even expect that much.
May I applaud Robert Hilburn on his recent work. His review of Radiohead's "Amnesiac" (Midyear Top 10, July 1), and many other reviews and commentaries this past year demonstrate that he has a complete and thorough understanding of contemporary music's roots, its present and its future.
He does not play favorites or fawn over an album or song because it is the work of a "star." His reviews are honest and filled with integrity. This I find so very refreshing as I watch film, art, fashion and music reviewers compromise their knowledge and position in return for a bonus, because they are now working for the very company whose product they are reviewing, or because they are star-struck, silly, superficial idiots who want to be part of the trend.