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BLACK LIVES MATTER!

The NY Times Looks at Pop Music in 2004


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By JON PARELES

Published: January 1, 2005

Remember the Clinton years? Pop doesn't.

The chart-topping music of 2004 was a grab bag of throwbacks from more than a decade ago, recalling the electro and new wave of the early 1980's, mid-70's soul and late-70's punk, anthemic mid-80's rock, and hip-hop when gangsta was just shoving its way into the party. This was an opportune year for an 80's superstar like Prince to return to the Top 10, and for U2, founded in 1978, to make one of the best albums of its career. The year's most eagerly awaited tour was the return of the Pixies, who had disbanded in 1993.

Yet no revival is simply a repeat. In their day, electro blips and punk-funk guitars were the sounds of clubland: of hedonism and futuristic ambition. The music was cranky and experimental, a self-conscious alternative to the slicker pop of their era. Now, they inevitably carry nostalgia and homage instead of arty iconoclasm. But there's also yet another twist: what once was racy and rebellious is now just as likely to be devout.

Perhaps it's merely postelection hindsight, but in 2004 pop's successes were geared to Middle American style. Forget the coastal urban avant-gardes with their ironies and convolutions, their exclusionary hipness. They're looking back even further, as college radio stations and indie-rock fans nurture a commercially negligible but growing movement of oddball, studio-loving folkies, like Devendra Banhart and Joanna Newsom, who invoke 60's psychedelia. (Meanwhile, Brian Wilson finally finished his 1966-67 magnum opus, "Smile.") For pop's mainstream, 2004 was a year for musical familiarity, with God in the lyrics and country in the tunes. Musicians weren't turning Republican; there was a surge of protest songs before the election by acts from Eminem to A Perfect Circle to R.E.M. to Green Day to Jadakiss. But in wartime, many listeners sought comforting sounds and certainties.

You can read the full article here:

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/01/01/arts/music/01pare.html

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such a big fuss there was about Smile last year.... I haven't heard too many rave reviews since...

Did anyone actually 'buy' it?

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Smile wasnt bad...

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Snile wasnt bad...

... the beach boys must be almost s'nile by now :P

ok bad joke <_>

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but true. :lol: (personally i never could stand the beachboys apart from about one second in 1968)

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