"A wide-legged gait accompanied by an overconfident smile and a jauntily raised eyebrow may soon be a thing of the past due to recent economic turmoil," says this piece from The Onion.
It wasn't a music-related observation, but the first thing it got me thinking about was rock 'n' roll, from which swagger was once inextricable. But what does potency in rock mean anymore anyway? Is a sneer and the middle finger just a played-out punk/metal/cock-rock cliche that we've moved past? When I think about everything from the tender whispers of the Devendra Banharts to the unisex romps of the Girl Talks, I realize that changing definitions of masculinity mean changing definitions of rock itself.
Take any male-dominated art form and inject it with a conscience, shifting social trends and greater diversity, and you change the medium. One hopes that for every John Mayer tightening of the testicles there's another Lemmy waiting in the wings, just to keep the balance. Informal poll question: What bands of today still inject the swagger? (And I don't mean the caricature of masculinity that lots of modern sleaze-rock incorporates, a la Eagles of Death Metal or Diamond Nights.) I'm talking something authentically rough-and-tumble.