Tuesday, December 10, 2002

I just found out that Pulse, the Tower Records magazine, is folding.  This comes shortly after CDNow axed all of its editorial content.  More so than the bankruptcy of UAL, this leaves me shuddering about the economy because it hits closer to home.  All the writing I did for allstar/CDNow is lost to the ether, except for the few printouts I made for myself.  Pulse had many talented writers, some who are friends, and I'll miss the in-depth genre coverage.  If there's any good to come of this recession, at least it should result in some excellent music.

Consider some recent political, economic and musical history.  What was the popularity of Nirvana if not the culmination of growing bitterness towards the Bush/Reagan years?  Nirvana specifically and punk rock in general exploded as the economy crumbled.  "Smells Like Teen Spirit" served as the death knell for that conservative era.  Bad times equals great music.  On the other hand, life was good during the Clinton years.  There was little domestic strife.  The Democrats were voted out of office on a wave vacuous, manufactured teen pop.  Good times equals bad music.

England has a different history but with similar musical results.  Punk took hold in the mid-'70s when unemployment was rampant.  It never caught on with the U.S. mainstream until 15 years later because we needed a bigger recession.  1988's "Birth, School, Work, Death" by the Godfathers didn't just reduce existence to four syllables, it was the perfect encapsulation of life under Thatcherism.  "I've been abused and I've been confused/And I've kissed Margaret Thatcher's shoes," Peter Coyne sputtered.  As much as I worshipped the band, I have to admit they lost some of their focus when the less specifically detestable John Major took office.

Now our recession deepens as the new Bush tries to distract the citizenry with Iraq war bluster.  So the next two years should see rise political music, or at least some true anthems of disaffection.  Maybe the next time Rolling Stone does another "women in rock" issue (a concept I have my own issues with, but I'll save that for another blog entry), Sleater-Kinney will be front and center on the cover.  Maybe the current bling-bling of hip hop will give way to something more substantive.  I'm looking forward to hearing something new and thoughtful explode.

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