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2000s Music: What Will It Be Remembered For?

By music, opinion, sarcasm 7 Comments

I’ve probably delved a little bit into this subject before, but I’ve actually done some deep thinking about it this time. Every decade since the 1950s has had a few things it’s remembered for musically. But what will people be thinking when they look back in ten or twenty years on the music of the 2000s? (As a side note, does that sound weird to anyone else, saying “2000s,” or is it just me?)

Here’s what I’ve been able to gather just by my own humble listening observations. In the early 2000s, you had post-grunge bands start to emerge, such as Three Days Grace and Nickelback. They’re doing well now, but manufactured pop (some of the stuff being played on Top 40 stations such as Richmond’s Q94 is getting almost unlistenable, cheesy and awful lately) has become more commonplace. I can think of two prime examples of annoying, manufactured pop becoming more center-stage.

The first example is Gwen Stefani. She used to be the lead singer of No Doubt in the 1990s and early 2000s. I really liked No Doubt. A few years ago when she started her solo career, she (in my opinion) regressed severely into the teen/bubblegum pop sinkhole (For a thorough definition of the word “sinkhole” in this context, try and force yourself to get through the duration of her song, “Hollaback Girl”).

Second example? Avril Lavigne. She made her debut in the early 2000s as a refreshing alternative pop rock artist with a unique sound. She, too, has now fallen into the hole (Compare her 2002 song “Complicated” with last year’s “Girlfriend” for clarification).

Punk pop groups (I like some, but others drive me up the wall) such as The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Quietdrive, and Simple Plan (Is it just me or do all the lead singers of these bands have the exact same high pitch, whiny voices?), also surfaced a lot more throughout the decade.

The urban scene has also seen unprecedented mainstream growth, and with more varieties. There is a clear difference between the urban sound of even the late 1990s and today. There’s a lot more electronic influence and instruments, as well as voice synthesizers  and a lot of resampling.

Singer-songwriters have made a big comeback, too. James Blunt, Jack Johnson, and John Mayer have seen great success in their careers. Their mellow, voice-driven tracks are refreshing in a sea of otherwise manufactured music. I’ll get to that in a minute. Other successful singer-songwriters like Sara Bareilles and Colbie Caillat have really brought us back to earth in the same respect, as well.

1990s favorites such as The Gin Blossoms, The Goo Goo Dolls, and Collective Soul have made attempts throughout the 2000s to put out new singles and have, for the most part, failed. They just don’t have the musical charisma they had in the late ’90s. Don’t get me wrong, these were some of my favorite artists in the mid 1990s, but they just don’t make the same kind of music anymore. I bet that will change throughout the next decade, because it seems as if trends skip a decade and come back.

Emo music (I’m cringing) will be another thing the decade is remembered for. Evanescence started the trend in the early 2000s, and the movement has grown in recent years. They’re not as bad as some other emo-type bands, but they’re still a little to dark and “I-hate-my-life” for my tastes.

So where do we stand? We’re in the midst of a small 1980s revival, strangely enough in urban music, with the use of ’80s sound effects and keyboards. What’s old is new again. It’s only natural. How much more can we really do technology-wise, without having them all sound manufactured and computer-generated, anyway? There’s been a trend of ’80s music being resampled and artists making successful comebacks, such as INXS, Duran Duran, and The Cars (reincarnated as The New Cars).

It will be really interesting to see where things go as we head into the next decade. It was even more interesting to see the musical soundscape evolve throughout this decade. I was so young in the 1990s that deciphering the music of that decade is more like just digging around in the past. This was right before my eyes, and I find it pretty fascinating.

90s Night With Jen

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So Jen and I ended up having what turned out to be 90s Night. After dinner we came back to my house because she wanted to burn some CDs. Well, we ended up making three 90s music CDs (and one country and rap, too). There’s just something about the 90s that I’ll never forget. I guess it was just the time span of my life when there wasn’t a care in the world and the world just seemed like this big, expansive, wondrous place, and time just stood still. The music brings all of these memories back very vividly. So we wrote some of our favorite 90s catchphrases on the CD (well Jen did, and I just laughed at how great they were). Among our very favorites were “all that and a bag of chips, “eat my shorts,” and “I got the pasties.” Now that last one sounds like some kinda nasty disease or something doesn’t it? It’s really not. All it means is your mouth is dry or you’re thirsty. Just awesome.

It was awesome getting to hang out with Jen, because it seems like we never get to that much lately, and if we do, it’s at Shafer and, well, as Jen puts it, “That’s always a real treat!” Shafer food, although decent at times, is never anything to rave about. Anyway, we both had a lot of fun and I’m really excited for summer because this is the kind of fun we get to have all the time.

As an interesting side note to 90s music, when we look back at this decade, what will we call it? It seems everyone is so reluctant to call it the 2000s. For example, you hear radio stations like Mix 103-7 saying they play “the best mix of the 80s, 90s, and today.” So does that mean if they kept that format, a few years down the road they’d be saying they play “the best mix of the 80s, 90s, and yesterday?” It’s just funny that nobody seems to refer to this decade as anything. It’s almost as if our decades have lost their distinction. Look at the 60s, 70s, and early 90s. They all had very distinct clothing and hair styles, music, and cultures in general. The mid 90s through today, in my opinion, has seen very little change. For the most part things aren’t drastically different than ten years ago. There were no crazy hair styles that have since been tamed, no disco music that has now been updated, etc. like there would have been in decades past. Things have just kind of mellowed out and follow the status quo. Does anyone agree with this? Also, what do you think this decade will be called once we enter the next one? 2000s? Maybe 00s? Chime in and leave me a comment.