MOST IMPORTANT MUSICAL SPECIMEN
tk weighs in:
What is the most important band or artist of the decade?
I pondered this question during my entire stroll down Gower Ave. from Sunset to Santa Monica (all 0.5 miles) and here’s what I came up with. These aren’t controversial choices but who needs controversy when there’s a possibility for accuracy?
First of all, let’s address the other decades.
50s- Elvis, hands down
60s- Beatles, hands down
70s- Led Zeppelin (or Pink Floyd)
80s- Michael Jackson
And that brings us to this decade. As of now, I have narrowed it down to these artists:
Eminem (or Lil Wayne or Jay-Z… consumers of important rap, help me out here)
Thoughts? Ideas? Nuggets of insight?
ck weighs in:
It’s hard for me to go against your selections. Radiohead is definitely up there. In the 2000s, they released the phenomenal Kid A, the incomprehensible Amnesiac (I never really ‘got it’), the return-to-prominence Hail to the Thief, and the overrated (but revolutionary) In Rainbows. Those four albums can stand up against any artist’s production in the last 10 years. Regardless of whether you think they’re the best band of all time or hopelessly overrated, the “pay-what-you-want” marketing campaign for In Rainbows definitely stuck Radiohead in the cultural lexicon for good and symbolized the downfall of the music industry throughout the decade.
Animal Collective is another exciting choice. Their entire discography is in the 2000s. Since the turn of the century, Animal Collective has released studio albums Spirit They’re Gone, Spirit They’ve Vanished (2000), Danse Manatee (2001), Campfire Songs (2003), Here Comes The Indian (2003), Sung Tongs (2004), Feels (2005), Strawberry Jam (2007), and Merriweather Post Pavilion (2009), as well as four EPs, two live albums, and eight singles.
In addition to being prolific, however, Animal Collective has been one of the most creative outfits of the decade. I am admittedly a latter-half AC fan; I hardly listen to anything before Sung Tongs. That being said, even listening to just those four albums shows the width and depth of their creative sound. Who can you possibly compare them to? Who are Animal Collective’s influences? Neutral Milk Hotel, maybe? The Beach Boys? Where does a song like Peacebone come from? Animal Collective’s importance is wrapped in the creativity of their output. They get better and better with each album, as they careen toward accessibility without leaving behind their weirdness.
I’m not sure if I can agree with you on Eminem. Yes, he was huge. Yes, he was culturally relevant. And yes, he was a pretty good rapper. But he was inactive for 3+ years, and he was a shell of his former self on 2008’s Relapse. He was also the “shocking musician” du jour, which can help with publicity, but rarely leads to a lasting legacy. He seems more interested in being controversial than being innovative.
I would, instead, submit for your consideration, one Justin Timberlake.
At the turn of the decade, there was no bigger pop group than ‘N Sync. Their second album, No Strings Attached, dropped in 2000, driven by the success of initial single Bye Bye Bye. 2001 saw the release of disappointing third album Celebrity, and the group went on hiatus in 2002.
Timberlake took this hiatus as an opportunity to conquer the music world on his own, with 2002’s Justified. The album took the world by storm, propelling JT to immediate stardom. Since then, he’s been dating movie stars, hosting Saturday Night Live, causing wardrobe malfunctions, voicing characters in Shrek sequels, and generally living large.
After the death of Michael Jackson (RIP), the world is starving for a superstar musician. I have long believed that Justin Timberlake is that man. I even wrote a column for my college newspaper titled, “Justin Timberlake: The new King of Pop“. His music is ubiquitous and his presence can make even the Black Eyed Peas sound respectable. What more do you need from the MOST IMPORTANT MUSICAL SPECIMEN of the 2000s?
What do YOU think? Register your opinion in the comments.
Filed under: 2000s, ck, cktk weighs in, music videos, tk, Uncategorized | 3 Comments
Tags: 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, animal collective, beatles, elvis presley, eminem, jay-z, led zeppelin, li'l wayne, michael jackson, nirvana, pink floyd, radiohead