My favorite two musical periods are the 1989-91 era and the early 2000s. The former gave me Nine Inch Nails and Public Enemy and Pop Will Eat Itself and Bad Religion and They Might Be Giants and a stack of others I can’t recall right now. Some of them had earlier albums, but this time period marked my entry point for a lot of music that was new to me. It changed everything, to. I started dressing like Baphomet in The Wicked + The Divine, a look that I can no longer pull off for a multitude of reasons. I went to concerts, I went to dance clubs, and I did this all the time, and it was amazing
The early 2000s, on the other hand, were about re-discovering joy in music. Bands like Metric, The New Pornographers, Ted Leo + Pharmacists, Stellastarr*, The Arcade Fire, The Futureheads, MGMT, The Kaiser Chiefs, and most especially Ambulance, LTD, made concert-going fun again for me. It really was an amazing time, at least for me. It wasn’t particularly great dance music, but man, you could sing along with it at the top of your lungs and be guaranteed a great time (mileage for listeners who had to hear me do this may vary).
Part of the joy was not just in the discovery, but in the fact that I could still discover. Nothing makes you sound/feel/be old like saying “Music today sucks, it was so much better back when <insert your preferred touchstone here>.” In the grand scheme of things, that’s not the most self-defeating attitude there is, but it’s probably on the list.
But…2003 was a long time ago, wasn’t it? 16 years is forever in musical terms. It’s almost long enough that we’re due for a revival of some sort. How long is 16 years? The length of time between the first Rolling Stones album (The Rolling Stones, 1964) and their last real album (Tattoo You, 1981) was only 17 years. It’s six years longer than the entire career of Led Zeppelin. Beyoncé was still touring with Destiny’s Child in 2003. In 2003, Taylor Swift was in middle school and just learning to play guitar and Ariana Grande was singing karaoke on cruise ships.
It’s been a while, huh?
Music is how I mark time, so this all gets under my skin a little. Time to refocus a little and see what’s going on. There’s great music being made out there because there’s always great new music being made. You just have to be open to it.
(Speaking of “open”, if y’all have any suggestions, I’m all, or at least mostly, ears.)