Popular Music 2009 and beyond

Phil Seaman idly speculates

It’s probably true when looking at mainstream music, the mid-to-late 2000’s have been the worst years in music for a considerable time in terms of originality, long lasting appeal and progression.



It’s probably worth a book in itself to cover previous supposed lulls in musical creativity; for every person who thought that the mid-Eighties were full of synth pop with mullets and bad dancing, there’s a person who loves the fact that the mid-Eighties were full of synth pop with mullets and bad dancing.

Probably the last period that is referred to as being absolutely dire is, according to critic Tim Page, 1974. This is the period between Glam and Punk, between post-Motown soul and Funk/Disco, a musical no-mans land. Manufactured, soulless pop ruled supreme and the singer songwriter earned his/her reputation as being an overly emotional, twee twat.

The worst year in music since then is definitely 2006, in which manufactured pop under nobodies such as Shayne Ward flourished, James Blunt won TWO Brit awards, Hard-Fi held the key to success for Indie and even Leo Sayer managed a #1 hit. It was the same old, same old and whilst Electro flourished under the cover of darkness in up and coming seedy bars, there appeared to be no future, no brilliance and no individuality to anyone in the business.

Where the hell do we go from here?

Over the last couple of years, Electro has found itself thrust into the mainstream, and has become the genre of choice for artists to meddle with – just as prog rock was meddled with in the mainstream in the late 1960’s, Electro is now being taken up by the likes of Nelly Furtado, Hot Chip and The Klaxons to take new steps in previously hackneyed genres. Expect big things of bands such as Passion Pit to build on the success of these bands, throw in the odd random sample, meddle with the traditional 3.30min pop song and for TV On The Radio to take over the world with their mix of funk/pop/electro.

Another thing that we could be seeing next year is the rise of ‘World Music’ influences, as already seen with the African-influenced Vampire Weekend, and the likes of Damon Albarn mixing up everything from Eastern influences to producing Amadou & Mariam’s latest offering ‘Welcome To Mali’, OMM’s 2nd best album of 2008.

So could it be that the coming of a new musical trend at the end of the decade will be continued? We’ve had the Yardbirds/Zeppelin blues of the late 60’s, the Sex Pistols/Clash punk of the 70’s, the Alt-Music revival of the 80’s led by the likes of Dinosaur Jr and Pixies (not forgetting Rave), and the Darude/Sade dance culture of the 90’s – maybe the 2000’s will mark the start of a Electro/World Music trend…


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