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A List That Matters

December 16, 1990

Out of "20 Bands That Matter" I could only find four. These include Hilburn's top three (U2, Guns N' Roses, Public Enemy) and Los Lobos.

I believe Public Enemy was included because the author of any article entitled "20 Bands That Matter" would be rightly accused of racism if he did not include the group. Having opened the rap door, Hilburn slams it shut again to exclude N.W.A., L.L. Cool J and 2 Live Crew.

Rock as we know it began with white kids discovering the excitement of black music. It has gone full circle with whites claiming soul ownership and groups like Living Colour discovering the banal three-chord power format. Rock as a term describing music has lost its meaning. Pop more describes what it is we want. Bands that matter are groups that can challenge our values like 2 Live Crew, cross boundaries like L.L. Cool J and show the gritty life of the streets like N.W.A.

And where are the Traveling Wilburys? For the most part, Hilburn's list seems to be made up of groups who included enough "politically correct" rhetoric in their lyrics to be considered "important." How can you be important if nobody ever hears your stuff?

FREDERICK CLEVELAND

Hollywood

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