This week as the Arctic Monkeys take to the stage of V Festival as headliners in amongst a top- heavy line up of commercial, backing-track, sequence and auto-tune galore, the question once more comes to fruition within music lovers as to whether guitar music has a place in todays polarised and essentially money-driven industry.
Whilst it was a bold move by the Monkeys to have chosen V above other festivals that may well have homed them to better effect, when seeing Bruno Mars and Olly Murs appear to rouse a better audience reaction, one has to wonder whether the Monkeys are fighting a battle that is becoming harder and harder to win. Today's state of play in the musical world looks to be in such a dire place that artists such as Cher Lloyd are allowed to totally dominate the singles charts with heartless and lyrically barren songs. As if off a conveyer belt, a new artist seems to come along every other week, donning far too many Z's in their stage names and claiming to have once and for all found the cure to heartbreak. We only have to look as far as Rebecca Black and the recently reincarnated Big Brother to know that talent is unfortunately not particularly relevant these days. As long as we have auto tune and celebrities completing nonsensical challenges in front of the watchful eyes of the public, we are happy. This gimmicky outlook is essentially what on some levels, hinders the more sincere guitar based efforts in today's world. Oh and by the way, in case you needed cheering up, X Factor has just started up again.
But maybe, on some levels, this current decline in guitar music is a good thing? Do we really need the Pigeon Detectives and The Wombats in our lives? Probably not. Fans of today's popular music culture will argue that not too long ago, radio airwaves were dominated by such bands and tellingly, no one is mourning their demise now. The sheer irritation brought about by figures such as Luke Pritchard can't be underestimated, and possibly, the decline in guitar music has in fact brought about a survival of the fittest atmosphere, rewarding the best guitar bands and slaughtering the average and replaceable. Let's also not forget, that when tastefully and creatively used, electronic music does have a place in a guitar world. The ability to revolutionise guitar music has lead to bands such as Delphic and Friendly Fires exemplifying that hybrid branches of guitar music can in fact lead to blissful results.
And if anybody needed convincing that all is not lost yet, we need only look at Joe McCelderry's shambolic campaign to be crowned as Christmas number one in 2009. Just as the gleeful palms of Simon Cowell looked to be grasping on yet another lucrative hit, Rage Against The Machine - and most importantly the fans - gave a comprehensive 'no' to Cowell's attempt at further monopolising the music business with the rather embarrassing loss to 'Killing in the Name Of'. In the wake of the London riots and the burning of PIAS distribution warehouse, guitar music and indeed music that has any sincerity and purpose suffers a further setback in the battle against the current commercial take over. It is more important than ever for music fans to exercise their right to support and dictate what sells and avoid us all being submerged.
In short, guitar music will remain powerful, so long as the buying public says so.
Over to you.