Column from December 27th, 1999 issue

Oh yeah, end of the year, everyone loves to have top 10 lists and such like. No thanks, I won't really go in for that, never really dug that way of thinking....

What's more interesting (or perhaps more depressing) is to consider where melodic rock has got to over the last year. For sure some people will stand up and say that there's green shoots of recovery with labels like Portrait and all that making their presence felt. But, deep down I think we all know that the Portraits and CMCs of this world are only interested in exploiting bands' existing fan base, not doing anything more to re-establish the musical form or develop it any further.

For me, 1999 has seen the melodic rock and AOR scene get even more insular and even more fragmented. And I don't just mean that from bands' and labels' points of view, I mean that from all aspects: fans and media sources too. Everyone seems to caught up in maintaining their own little empire or furthering their own self image to see the bigger picture.... Maybe that's because everyone knows they can't do anything about the big picture....

I think as well we're beginning to see some desperation from some musicians, with them putting together umpteen similar bands and side projects in the hope that one of them does something more than the average. All that does is bring down the quality of the over all project and does the loyal fans out of more cash for something less worthwhile. That's just what many of the labels have been doing for the last few years as well....

I don't see the new millennium making a difference, and I don't think things will ever improve until melodic rock gets a more mainstream place in the US. That's what'll make the difference. That's what will breathe life back into the whole scene.

On a different note, some of you have reported some recent problems trying to access the AOR Basement web site using the http://www.aorbasement.com/ address. If you can't get in that way use the URL http://www.ifb.co.uk/~aorb/ as a temporary fix - the problem is under investigation....