Crunk music was a bad, bad, bad idea. It makes people crazy; makes them want to rub up on people and do things that shouldn’t be done (especially if you’re weird looking). It seems the American public is slowly starting to realize this; there isn’t a single crunkster on the Billboard Top 100. But what is its replacement on the top of the charts? Basically, it’s the stuff that Crunk replaced … either that or the stuff that Disco replaced long ago. So what does this all mean? Is there a vicious cyclical order to music? Is Crunk the new Disco? Whatever we take from this phenomenon, Brian and Carlye look at the new face of pop: old faces.
Carlye: New Old
History repeats itself. At least that’s what my old, angry beast-like teacher Mr. Grote used to say. I was always convinced that this was his way of avoiding an explanation of anything that occurred before 1920, but in reflection, I think he may have actually been correct.
Take a look at today’s best selling artists – it’s literally a Billboard six-year reunion party. I’m not shitting you – check this out:
Then: N*SYNC “No Strings Attached” 2000
Now: Justin Timberlake “SexyBack” 2006
Then: Christina Aguilera “Genie in a Bottle” 1999
Now: Christina Aguilera “Ain’t No Other Man” 2006
Then: Destiny’s Child “Bugaboo” 1999
Now: Beyonce “DÇjÖ Vu” 2006
Then: Nelly Furtado “I’m Like a Bird” 2000
Now: Nelly Furtado “Promiscuous Girl” 2006
It seems crazy, but that’s only the beginning.
Janet Jackson is making a comeback, in addition to Fergie, who was a member of failed girl-group Wild Orchid back in 2001. Puff Daddy – or Diddy, as he insists on being called now – just released his first new album since 2001 and also made Danity Kane, the most successful of his three Making the Band attempts. This raises another question – where have all of these boy and girl bands re-emerged from?
Danity Kane is actually quite successful, and the Pussycat Dolls are ruining the youth of America, like all popular music should. Also, both Backstreet Boys and 98 Degrees have albums coming out later this year, in addition to Nick Lachey of the latter band already forming a semi-successful return career off of sappy “I miss you, Jessica Simpson” love songs and videos with clichÇ beach-ocean-and-rock-cliff nature settings.
There’s a lot of new, good music out there that I really wish was popular instead of a regurgitated form of bubblegum pop that we all thought would only re-appear on pointless VH1 countdown shows. I loved listening to all of this when I was in eighth grade, but I can’t say I don’t have qualms about drunken table dancing at a bar to the music I loved when I was thirteen. Or to any pop music, for that matter.
Brian: Old Old
People who are snobby and/or senile say things like, “They don’t make music like they used to” or “There hasn’t been good music since 1976” or “In my day, we’d spend all day at Coney Island talking about President Wilson with the pigeons.” Although the third one may be exclusively related to senility, it’s all really annoying. Rock purists are stubborn and closed-minded, but recently, they seem to be making more and more sense.
A wave of established, older-than-my-dad musicians has suddenly put out new records this year. Bob Dylan, not only prolific but also able to grow an awesome/creepy moustache, released Modern Times, his first record since ’01. It went straight to number one, the first time that happened in over 30 years.
Bob Seger wrote “Night Moves” and therefore makes up for the rest of his almost unbearable career. That song may be one of the greatest ever and now Seger is attempting to reach greatness again. After an 11-year hiatus, Seger reached a place that he never has before – the top five of the charts.
Via transitive property, an even older musician has been receiving a lot of attention. Pete Seeger, no relation to Bob, has been revived by The Boss. His timeless songs are completely revamped by Springsteen’s new album We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions. The album is opening the door for new listeners to not only discover Bruce, but also the late, great Pete Seeger.
The newly invigorated popularity of these artists put the girly enthusiasm for the Panics! out there to shame. These old, old men are making music edgier, more critically acclaimed and publicly approved than all these young “edgy” whippersnappers. The pioneers of 20th century music are showing that the 21st has nothing better than what they’ve been doing all along.