What exactly do you remember from the summer of 2002?
Stop and think -- of the music on the radio, the CDs you were most excited for, who won the Grammy for Best Album, and so on. What exactly stands out from 10 years ago?
If you find that your answer is "Not much," then you're probably like the rest of us: Lost in a haze of fading pop stars, trends and one-hit wonders that we momentarily conjure up every time an adult-alternative radio station spins a classic from the oughts.
It's difficult, we know. But for a moment, transport yourself to a time where Lady Gaga doesn't rule the world; a time where Dave Matthews has hit records; where Chad Kroeger isn't the most despised man in America and where rappers still... well, rap.
To be fair, there were more than a few goings-on in the music world worth remembering: Outkast released a modern hip-hop classic with Stankonia, the Boss reunited with the E Street Band and Apple Inc. released a little gadget called the "iPod," which forever revolutionized the music industry
And when you really work at it, you could probably come up with a few more. That 's how the brain works, after all - one domino at a time.
But of all the potential sights and sounds from '02 deep in your memory bank, what amount, if any, was reserved for Nu-metal?
Yes, Nu-metal. Surely you remember the scene: the trips to Hot Topic, the Family Values Tour and the advent of cringe rap-rock.
As clear as day, there it was in the summer of 2002 -- the pinnacle of the generation. Led by releases from Linkin Park, Saliva, Limp Bizkit and Papa Roach, it was nearly impossible to turn the radio on without hearing heavy power chords over a DJ-ed beat, topped off, finally, with a concoction of murder-like screams and white-boy rap.
Though we may not care to admit, we listened. And even better yet, we liked. Whatever reason we claim to have done it, we suited up in the Nu-metal uniform (over-sized black jeans, dark shirt and spiked wristband) and followed wherever our great savior Chester Bennington led.
But here we sit, 10 years forward in time, laughing at how we ever thought "Last Resort" had any special significance per the human the condition, and the legacy of rock n' roll. It's funny, because we're right now and we were wrong then, yes? That's how culture works, after all.
With that settled--If we could, let's play Back to the Future one more time, just for posterity sake.
In 2022, given the Earth doesn't explode, or implode, or whatever the Mayans said, what will you remember from 2012?
If you find that your answer is: "The indie movement, goddamitt!" then you're probably like the rest of us. It's true, ever since we heard the opening strums of Ben Gibbard's guitar on "A Lack of Color," we were in Indie love -- sappy, sixth-grade, call-you-when-I-get-home Indie love.
And so, with rightness on our side, the black jeans and hoodies have been tossed out and replaced with everything and anything Urban Outfitters has commanded the masses to wear. With our spare cash, we've picked up a record player, a pair of Toms and some faux Ray-Bans too so we're not walking around looking like freaks: It's 2012, after all.
With the tables turned, hoards of young, and not so young, music listeners have jumped on the indie bandwagon with a fervor equaled only by the trend's predecessors. Henry David Thoreau once noted, "Every generation laughs at the old fashion, but religiously follows the new," and the dude seems to have had a pretty good point.
When pressed with the question, it's an uncomfortable notion to confront, especially considering our highbrow opinions of the "now" music in comparison to the "then" music. Still, some may interject:
"But, hey, that's not fair. I do really, objectively believe Band of Horses is the Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young of this generation, and I'm willing to fight anyone who says otherwise."
Well, it's certainly a valid opinion, especially since Cease to Begin was an absolute gem, but the fact of the matter remains: The cultural zeitgeist of any particular era is most always over-valued by those present for it.
Whether the Indie generation has the legs to stand the test of time the way late 60's music has is anyone's guess. It certainly has the following necessary to get it there, but that's not insurance worth betting on in music terms.
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SHOW ME HOW
In the meantime, those of you ready to punch your computer screens for having read such vile sacrilege against the era that introduced the world to The Shins and Of Montreal, perhaps it wouldn't hurt to Google what Adema is doing these days.
My guess? Not much.