Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Noughties retrospective

By definition as a YF I’m unhip, which is fine. So no song or film of the decade here. But part of it is there just wasn’t much worth remembering in popular culture as opposed to history: ‘9/11’ is my choice for word of the decade... among other, greater things it finished converting me and my site to full-on libertarian activism.

Besides the history I’ll remember the decade for either innovations or my catching up in technology: mobile phones, flat screens (predicted in 1968) and fast access to the Web just about anywhere (no laptop or WiFi here but it beats dial-up at home and relying on one computer at work off-hours or going down to the nearby college’s engineering building to see the Web). VHS gave way to DVDs (which seem on their way out now) and CDs to downloading.

Cracked on the lack of good music: still no signature song for the past 10 years.
This was a horrible decade for music. It had the tail-end of “boy bands”, which were not bands and debatably didn’t include “boys”, and didn’t make music regardless. Then, rap, which had gone from underground in the ’80s, to being marijuana spokesmen in the ’90s, to being mainstream horrible music, so much so that the rap that is actually interesting is what few people hear unless they go looking, and the people who liked it 15 years ago no longer listen to it. Hip-hop became what pop and bubblegum used to be; meaningless, talentless music that became popular because it was easy to remember. And rock... well, rock went from overly dramatic grunge and punk to flat-out crying in My Chemical Romance and ultimately... wait, do we even have new rock albums? Except for “new hits” that don’t last a year, the genre is dying. The concept of playing a musical instrument in music is foreign, singing is either absent or overpowering and the sole point of the song (Jessica Simpson, for example), and it’s become okay if 90% of what you hear in a song is generated by a million-dollar machine and not a human. Music doesn’t even have a point anymore; except for the 9/11 patriot songs that country abused for money, we don’t even have songs with important points anymore. Ten years from now, what will people think of when “music of the ’00s” comes out? We don’t have anything like “Born in the USA”, to randomly select an example, that will be around for years. Music basically f**king died this decade. Bands are falling apart, new musicians are talentless hacks (the sound guys should get more credit than the artists now), and music has degenerated into garbage. Hell, celebrities are now musicians on the side, not the other way around. The people have become more important, from Spears to the Jonas Brothers; everyone knew GnR in ’95 by their SONGS, now, everyone knows Miley Cyrus and couldn’t name two of her songs, or pick two off the radio. Billy Cyrus is famous again, and we are all aurally screwed.
Mick Jagger got it right: years ago he said rock has spent itself.

There may be more retrospectives if I think of anything else.

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