I always thought rock & roll was an English language phenomenon,

as if all the joy and love, all the fear and angst, all the excitement and transcendence, all the sturm und drang, were somehow hard-wired into the language, directly related to the German structure/Romanticized content of the language. Let’s face it, for whatever the reason, the Continent doesn’t produce much great rock-and-roll. Sure there’s Bjork and Nina Hagen, and the occasional stray genius like Manu Chao, but mostly we’re talking the mediocrity of Abba or Ace of Base and for you really hard-rockers, we’ve got Scorpions. For those of you who refuse to get professional help, we’ve got Swedish Death Metal. This hardly compares with the hundreds of bands blasting out basements and lofts in the US, UK, Ireland, Canada, and Australia. Why the Continent never developed a pop-cultural rock & roll edge to rival the English-speaking world could be speculated upon endlessly, but that’s not the point. The point is that great R & R is possible in other languages, and not just half-breed and ‘fusion’ groups, as Carabao in Thailand and Mana’ in Mexico amply prove. The reasons behind the anomaly probably lie more in the given socio-politico-economic realities than in the aptitude of the language. Europe is a museum, just too expensive and rigidified to experiment. They almost missed the Industrial revolution before; now they’re missing the Entertainment one also. Computers and Internet are but the tip of the iceberg. When it’s all over, you won’t know what’s real and what’s entertainment.

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