Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Dear Music of the 2000's

Hello! I know you're busy wrapping things up and all, so I'll keep this brief. I feel like I need to ask you a question before you're totally history and stuff, so here goes. Why do I feel so underwhelmed by you? Pretty much everybody in the whole wide world has put together exhaustive "best of the decade" lists and each and every one I've seen leaves me underwhelmed and anxious. And yet, when I look back at the 1990's, there's stuff like this:

Maybe it's just me, you know? But there's nothing from the 2000's that makes me feel like that. So, with all due respect, please don't feel bad that I have no plans to roll out some decade music retrospective. There's enough of those, and they all kind of feel like the time Whoopi Goldberg hosted the Academy Awards. But she's on The View now discussing the difference between "rape" and "rape-rape" and stuff, so things can still turn around for you Music of the 2000's. Maybe you just need more time. Maybe I just need more time. It's been real.


Jasper said...

Weird. I'll take the music of the 2000s over the music of the 90's, no contest. But that's just me and I've been told many times I don't know anything about anything.

(Laura) said...

It's something I didn't even realize until I started to look through all those retrospectives that every music site and publication is releasing. With a few exceptions, there just are not that many records on those lists that really stick for me. A lot of them make me think, "Oh yeah - I really liked that record at the time, but I'm tired of it." For somebody who's fairly list obsessed, this was a disappointing revelation.

Scotter said...

To be honest, I think comparing any music from any generation to Neutral Milk Hotel's In An Aeroplane Over the Sea is kind of unfair. Anyone who has spent any time with that album knows that it's singular and unusual in the history of semi-popular music--a real work of beautiful, meaningful art. That said, the 90s also gave us Jeff Buckley's Grace and Radiohead's OK Computer and Nirvana's Nevermind or In Utero (whichever you liked best). I'd take them over Animal Collective any day.

But I think that in the 2000s, what made music "amazing" or "life-changing" or "the best thing ever" is different than made music "amazing" or "life-changing" or "the best thing ever" in the 1990s. To be the greatest music of the aughts was to be full of the most sophisticated blips and beeps--it had a lot to do with technology and mixing and guitar pedals and processors. Radiohead went from singing about Fake Plastic Trees with a single voice and acoustic guitar to completely dropping guitars in Kid A. Animal Collective is more obsessed with tones and ambient sounds than lyrics or singing. Few have any idea what Sigur Ros is singing about even if they have a working knowledge of whatever language that guy sings in. And Sufjan Stevens ambitions are so great and he's so obsessed with complex ornamentation that he can't pull together a complete album that actually coheres--just collections of really good songs.

Sorry for this long rant, but I guess I've been struggling with this too. When it comes down to it, I think it's ultimately a matter of taste. I don't know a lot of people whose two favorite bands are Sigur Ros and Nirvana, or Animal Collective and Neutral Milk Hotel. People usually revere one and have enjoyed the other remotely from time to time. And vice versa.

Point is, some of the music of the 2000s really made people feel things similar to the way NMH made you (and me) feel in the late 90s (and now, still). It's just that we weren't the people who got that feeling from these 2000s seminal bands.

(Laura) said...

It's not like NMH is the only record from the 90's that makes me feel that way - I just happened to see that video while I was thinking about the music of the 00's and it made me think.

I'm not a Radiohead fan. I don't hate them, but aside from OK Computer, I can't listen to any of their albums all the way through. So while their transformation may be some 00's musical miracle for some, for me it's just them moving away from the only album I ever liked of theirs.

Not to say I don't appreciate your thoughts here - I do. In fact, your closing point makes a lot of sense to me. And I think part of the problem for me is that for how invested I am in music, I WANT to feel what other people are feeling about this past decade and kind of feel left out that I can't/don't.

Now if you'll excuse me I'm going to go back to listening to Silkworm and the Jesus Lizard... ;)

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