A disparity exists between online enthusiasm and real-world significance for practically everything in pop culture, but it’s never as stark as it is for contemporary rock music. Looking at Soundscan numbers from a few weeks ago, two of the biggest chart debuts for rock albums were for Staind (No. 5, with 47,387 copies) and Bush (No. 17, with 20,425 copies)—two ’90s alt-rock castoffs who, in spite of being ignored by the hip music press and Internet tastemakers, continue to do fairly well thanks in large part to support from radio.
In contrast, two of the most hyped rock records of 2011, Girls’ Father, Son, Holy Ghost and Wild Flag’s self-titled debut, debuted on the same week’s chart at No. 35 and 51 respectively—fine showings that nevertheless pale in comparison with the amount of glowing reviews they received on the web.
Depending on which circles you frequent online, you might be surprised that Staind and Bush still even exist, much less have enough commercial relevance to have new material in heavy rotation on the radio.