Death Cab for Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard once whined, “So this is the new year / and I don’t feel any different.”
Thankfully, in 2010, things were different from the year before. Sobby emo music like Death Cab was no longer popular, and Kanye West pushed the creative boundaries of contemporary music. Now that it’s 2011, it’s time for the music world to change yet again.
There are several albums to look forward to this year, but also an exciting unpredictability as to what music will offer in the next 12 months. Here are several music trends I’m looking forward to in 2011 — and some I’m not so excited about.
Ravers have been dressing up in neon and dancing to original techno DJs, such as Moby, for about 20 years, but the current electronic music scene is arguably the sound of our generation. The London dubstep movement that’s so rapidly sweeping the United States is unlike anything in music history, and house music continues to evolve. Hopefully, innovative artists like Skrillex and Flying Lotus will push the genre further in the new year.
Who cares that MTV doesn’t play music videos anymore? Jersey Shore is more entertaining. It’s interesting to note, though, that despite the decline of the popular music video channel and the numerous technological changes and advancements in recent years, people are still watching music videos. And they’re getting better.
Lady Gaga’s Quentin Tarantino-inspired videos, M.I.A.’s ginger genocide video and Kanye’s 35-minute short film/album teaser captured the attention of hundreds of thousands of music fans in 2010 (regardless of the collective video quality, which is debatable).
Ideally, 2011’s music videos will be more accessible, prevalent and better.
Lil Wayne, Kanye and Jay-Z
For much of 2010, Weezy was locked up in Rikers Island for a gun possession charge and the world was deprived of his scratchy, scatterbrained flow. He’s now out and better than ever. Wayne’s newest single, “6’7,’” contains clever lines like “Real ‘G’s move in silence like lasagna / people say I’m borderline crazy, sorta kinda.” The rapper is set to drop his hotly anticipated Tha Carter IV sometime this year.
While Weezy was detoxing behind bars, Yeezy was very much free. Kanye West spent the year recovering from the infamous Taylor Swift incident at the 2009 Video Music Awards, and succeeded by releasing one of the most critically acclaimed albums of 2010.
In the upcoming months, West is set to release a joint record with his “big brother,” Jay-Z. The album, Watch the Throne, should prove an excellent hip-hop collaborative effort.
Yes, electronic music is also on the “looking forward to” list, but the genre as a whole is not always enjoyable.
If you live anywhere near the Shrine Auditorium, your windows have likely been rattled all hours of the night by the pounding bass of the many raves staged there. Most popular electronic tracks lack lyrics or include only a senseless hook about partying and dancing.
There’s nothing wrong with party music, but it doesn’t have the same impact as socially relevant or emotionally relatable songs.
The beer and its many delicious flavors can stay, but the terrible rapper of the same name needs to go.
I’m usually not a fan of putting down artists, but it’s hard to respect this guy. He ruined a perfectly good song with his remix of Rusko’s “Hold On”, and failed to realize that taking the beat from Asher Roth’s “I Love College,” the rapper’s popular song about loving college for the parties, renaming it “I Hate College” and then rapping “but I love all the drinking,” is hardly clever.
Hopefully this hip-hop artist can either step his game up in 2011 or fade away.
If I hear the words, “And the album of the year goes to … Katy Perry!” during the Grammys broadcast this year, I will throw my shoe at the TV and then drink — Sam Adams, until I end up “Waking Up in Vegas.”
I can only hope that Kanye would be presenting the award and pull another Taylor Swift incident, part 2: “Yo Katy, you’re hot, but Eminem/The Arcade Fire had the best albums of the year.”
It’s always annoying when some wrinkly old guy wins for an album nobody’s listened to, as Herbie Hancock did in 2008. But Katy Perry with album of the year?
Nominations like that, for music’s most esteemed award, nonetheless, make me lose hope for popular music.
Will Hagle is a sophomore majoring in narrative studies. His column, “Feedback,” runs Wednesdays.