As Matthew Walther points out, rock ‘n roll died years ago anyway:
Fast forward to 2021 and it is difficult to escape the conclusion that rock is dead, and so is the spirit that made it possible. Today popular musicians are just an extension of the professional and managerial classes. Their job is to reinforce the elite worldview, not to question it. Try to imagine Keith Moon of The Who, whose hobbies included driving sports cars into swimming pools, taking masking seriously, or Janis Joplin eagerly announcing that she had been injected with something other than heroin because the president told her she should.
What the death of rock shows us is that the cultural revolution to which it was among the greatest contributors is over. There is a new establishment in place, and popular music exists to prop up the consensus it has established, not to overthrow or even to question it in the mildest possible terms. This is why instead of praising her as a rebel, the liberal media establishment has heaped scorn on Nicki Minaj for expressing doubts about vaccines, which are widespread among African Americans.
Walther’s essay is worth reading in full but he falls into a trap now snaring a lot of tyranny-fatigued commentators of a libertarian bent. The fault in seeing the Moons and the Joplins as exemplars of a more freedom-loving time is that it was narcissistic relativists like them who destroyed the ideal of abiding social cohesion in the first place. Their heirs – whose talents have diminished with every generation since – view society as nothing but a confederation of ‘identity’ festishists aggrieved by what remains of reality.