The Who’s Roger Daltrey: Rock is dead, only rap matters

Rock frontman reflects on current state of the genre

The Who frontman Roger Daltrey has offered his take on modern music, arguing that rock is “dead” and that rappers are the “only people saying things that matter”.

Daltrey, 72, spoke to The Times recently at Desert Trip festival in California, a two-weekend event held at the same site as Coachella and headlined by The Who, as well as Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Neil Young and Roger Waters.

Reflecting on the genre shift in the current musical climate, Daltrey said: “The sadness for me is that rock has reached a dead end… the only people saying things that matter are the rappers and most pop is meaningless and forgettable.”

Daltrey added: “You watch these [new pop stars] and you can’t remember a bloody thing.”

Jenn Five/NME

This follows previous comments Daltrey made in 2014, when he bemoaned the current generation of music artists for lacking “angst and purpose“.

In an interview with the Mail on Sunday, the singer claimed there is no current musical “movement” comparable to seventies mod and punk, singling out boy band One Direction for criticism.

“Here we are with the world in the state it is in, and we’ve got One Direction,” said Daltrey. “Where are the artists writing with any real sense of angst and purpose?”

“There are no movements at the moment: we had mod and then there was punk, but it’s so hard to start a movement now. Unless it’s ISIS.”

Meanwhile, last year saw The Who question Kanye West’s claim of being the greatest living rock star during their Glastonbury Festival-closing headline set.

Referring to West’s claim that he was “the greatest living rock star on the planet” during his set, guitarist Pete Townshend described set-closer ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again” as “big and rebellious” before adding, “who’s the biggest rock star in the world?” to cheers from their crowd.

Watch Foals defending Kanye West in the video below: