Stuck In a Moment You (Still) Can't Get Out Of: Remembering 9/11 In Music

Just as none of us will ever forget where we were the morning of September 11, 2001, Rocks Off will never forget what he was listening to most of the day of the terrorist attacks. Sadly, he admits it was System of A Down's Toxicity, which had come out just the week before. For us the album conveyed the same sense of hysteria that we would see that whole day, the rest of the week, the year, and for almost a decade later.

Don't hate, we were also in a deep Lou Reed trench at the moment (stupid girls) so anything not flamy and dour as Reed was a welcome change. Even if it was from a bunch of crazed Zappa-esque Armenian jock-metal clowns, it's still a mad decent rock record. Their vague political leanings didn't hurt sales after the attacks one bit. "Chop Suey!" is still a jam, even if the band has gone the way of the way of most Buzz rock and turned vanilla.

Since September 11 fell on a Tuesday - the traditional day albums are released in the U.S. - it meant that plenty of bands now had quite the unfortunate hurdle to jump. Seeing that people were more apt to spend the week at home clutching blankets and feel their eyes glaze over endlessly watching the towers falling for the 70th time, record sales were bound to fall.

The record industry, just like most others, made a quick comeback. Metal made a big comeback as people were searching for aggression and vengeance in their music. More lush things like Sigur Ros and the onset of emo counteracted the aggro with lovelorn and pensive tunes to match the somber tone of the nation.

Almost more than anyone, U2 saw themselves make yet another resurgence as their album All That You Can't Leave Behind became a rallying point for the world. The release was already a year old and the singles "Walk On" and "Stuck In A Moment You Can't Get Out Of" became beacons of hope ended up walking away with a handful of Grammys the next winter. And who can forget how well Bruce Springsteen honored the day? The next year's The Rising became the definitive 9/11 memorial album.

The albums that came out that day proved to be strangely prophetic, and now each one harkens back to a time when the nation was still complacent and war-less. Slayer released the comeback album God Hates Us All, Jay-Z dropped his first edition of The Blueprint and Ben Folds trotted out his first post-Five solo album Rockin' The Suburbs. This was also the day that Nickelback let forth with Silver Side Up, which would become their breakthrough album around the world. (Links between Al-Qaeda and Chad Kroeger are still being investigated at this time.)

Bob Dylan released his follow-up to 1997's Time Out Of Mind as well. "Love And Theft" was a daring country-tinged album about grifters and hucksters. The track "Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum" seemed to fit the future we had in store with Bush and Cheney at the helm, even though at the time we saw those two as heroes and protectors and not the profiteers and bumblers they ended up seven years later.

Now, eight years later, the music industry has all but forgotten that sad day as they became distracted with creating all-star Bush-bashing and war-protesting compilation albums. At the heart of the matter, more than 3,000 music fans lost their lives that day, and countless others lost mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters.

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Craig Hlavaty
Contact: Craig Hlavaty