Partly inspired by the recent show Pop on Trial and more directly by buying a pile of CD’s (yes they do exist, in a real bricks and mortar shop too!) I wonder what we will make of the current crop of music. Personally, I think that after a few really low years in the early 2000’s (think overload of Pop Idol/ last hurrah of the manufactured boy band) pop has, as it has done so many times before, reinvented itself and saved itself from disappearing into its own insipidness.
In 2005 I had almost given up trying to find anything that really inspired me but as I wandered through Heathrow before flying across the pond, I came across a series of compilations that reinvigorated me completely: ‘The Bands 05 ‘& ‘The Album 05’ threw a plethora of bands into my consciousness: Athlete, Feeder, Doves, Stereophonics (OK, I knew them), The Killers (them too), The Libertines, Bloc Party, Embrace, The Thrills and more, many more. The music was raw; generally two guitars, 1 bass, 1 drum kit and vocals. The band’s names were 1 word or contained ‘The’ (which as ‘the Commitments’ says is always a good sign). The music was just fantastic- and it still is. The Bands and The Album series dropped off a bit in 06 and 07, but in came The Anthems. There are new names (Amy MacDonald, The Fratellis etc) and some names have survived (Kaiser Chiefs, Keane) and even a few dinosaurs (Fatboy Slim, Stone Roses and Paul Weller) make it onto the track listing. But by God they sound good.
All of which made me wonder what the woman at the checkout made of my selection of CD’s: 2 current compilations (with Razorlight, Amy Winehouse and Maroon 5 etc) , the singles collection from Suede, the remastered ‘Joshua Tree’ (because some albums are just so good it is worth having them on multiple formats) and the best of UB40 (memories of childhood).
I want to make a comment about Suede: The last time there was a similar defining moment in music (for me, anyway) the driving force was Suede. OK, Oasis, Blur, Pulp et al all came along and cashed in far much more, but without Suede performing Animal Nitrate at the Brits and blowing the audience out of their seats, it is debatable whether there would have been such a vibrant Brit Pop scene. My far more personal epiphany moment occurred in the Mean Fiddler- the song was the same, the audience erupted and the night goes down in memory as one of those perfect, unplanned moments.
Of course, when Brit Pop imploded we finished up with Pop Idol, but that is just the cycle that these things go through. Without Pop Idol ‘The Libertines’ wouldn’t have come along, The Killers wouldn’t have created a song/ video combination (‘Mr Brightside’) that was so good it made me late for work as I had to see the end of it and we wouldn’t be here now.
And now is a good place to be. So we shouldn’t complain too much. And I have got lots of music to go and listen to… Happy times.