PROS: Bruce Springsteen's inspirational performances in Britain during summer '81. The release of Trust, Elvis Costello's most sure-footed and courageous collection of songs to date. "Being With You" making No. 1, thus beautifully highlighting Smokey Robinson's 20 years as singer songwriter non pareil, and re-establishing the tradition of "Great Summer Single." The rediscovery (how ever spuriously "trendified") of John Fogerty, James Brown and Hank Williams. The return to active service of Tom Verlaine and Miles Davis. Squeeze finally receiving due success and credibility via East Side Story. "Waiting On A Friend" as Rolling Stones' most uplifting and humane twilight anthem, especially Sonny Rollins' playing.
CONS. The continuing downward spiral demise of the New Musical Express as a relevant perceptive journal. General absence of "passion" and "reach" in rock music circa '81. Omnipotence of style over content, specious cliches, hall-baked posturing, haphazard sloganeering and empty gestures. Preponderance of imperceptive, feckless arch-hack mentality in rock writing, cloth-eared A & R men, semi-literate editors, the crass stupidity of major record label mentality vs. the hypocritical smugness of the "rough trade"/"factory" alternative (sic). The inescapable fact that music has become virtually crippled by "business considerations," mass ignorance re. music's potential for moral rearmament.