Got meaning?

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Kid Rock shows up on the cover of CMJ cloaked in an American flag and sporting his red derby hat. The question "Does Music Matter Anymore?" zig-zags in white across his shirtless torso. It’s the question that nobody wanted to ask last millennium. But writer Michael Azerrad tackles the topic with grand illusions, footnotes, a shaky pan shot of rock history since the first Woodstock and carefully planted names and places that give the article that "researched" feel. In his far-reaching search for meaning in rock ‘n’ roll, Azerrad tries to uncover just where music went wrong in this materialistic, consumer-oriented society. He pulls out all the stops, skimming the curdled cream off the Reagan era, drawing the sociological lines between folks who eat organic and the others who eat at Arby’s, and throwing in some warm and fuzzy comments on being nonironic from Kid Rock himself and Moby. Sure Kid Rock is straightforward, but trying to turn a potty-mouthed white rapper into MTV’s Jedediah Purdy is about as smart as believing rock ‘n’ roll will or ever has changed the world.

The rest of the magazine is littered with the usual pileup of reviews and a profile of the newly reformed Perry Farrell. Songs by Ani DiFranco, Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros, Cobra Killer and Arto Lindsay are featured on this month’s CMJ Cracker Jack prize CD.

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