Originally Posted by Betterread
For me it was more of a progression - starting with the Who, then Led Zeppelin, then Pink Floyd, then the Ramones/Sex Pistols/Clash, then the Fall, then Sonic Youth, then Sebadoh/Dinosaur (jr.), then Nirvana. That was the end of the progression. For me, Nirvana ended the whole "important band" label by tearing apart the falseness of the need for Excess and the drive for "relevance" that drive the U2s, the Radioheads, etc of the world.
Fair criticism, but there's got to be a place for artistic ambition to succeed. Kurt Cobain took a big shot with "Nevermind". He knew it had the potential to be more than just some small, idiosyncratic record that was going to appeal to the folks on the Sub Pop mailing list. Then he discovered success brings a certain amount of excess with it no matter how hard you try to stay pure. I imagine it made his ambition feel like excess too.
Artists by nature seek to advance what can be done in their medium. They aspire to greatness. That's true of artists from Garrincha to Gaudi. If greatness is out of the question, is the art form dead?
BTW, I'm glad someone mentioned Pink Floyd, glaring omission from my initial post in this thread.