Saturday, November 22, 2008

2005: the downfall of my car, alternative radio, and Spin

Last night I was cleaning my room and I came across a pile of Spin magazines. I compulsively save music magazines with the thought that I am going to read them two to three years down the road to see if the music prognosticators were right about who is the next big thing (they are usually wrong). What actually happens is that I get annoyed by all of this paper clogging my tiny apartment and toss the entire stack into the recycling bin. I pulled out the issue on the very bottom of the pile, January 2006, featuring The Killers on the cover. As I paged through the section "The Year in Music 2005," I realized something very striking. 2005 was the last year I listened to local alternative radio. And this is mostly because 2005 was the last year I had a car. My 1993 Mercury Tracer (aka "Speed Tracer") died and was laid to rest near Renfrew, Ontario, during an ill-fated road trip to Bryson, Quebec. This gem of American auto engineering did not have a CD player, and I was way too lazy to dig out tapes, so I nearly always listened to the local alternative rock station, 102.1 The Edge (we can debate later as to whether this station is really "alternative").

According to Spin, these were the top singles of 2005:
1. "Feel Good Inc.," The Gorillaz
2. "Sugar, We're Goin Down," Fall Out Boy
3. "1 Thing," Amerie
4. "Still Tippin," Mike Jones feat. Slim Thug and Paul Wall
5. "Gold Digger," Kayne West
6. "George Bush Doesn't Care About Black People," The Legendary KO (uh, this didn't make it north of the border, much less on mainstream Canadian radio)
7. "Since U Been Gone," Kelly Clarkson
8. "Welcome to the Jamrock," Damien Marley
9. "Do You Want To," Franz Ferdinand
10. "Hollaback Girl," Gwen Stefani
11. "Mr. Brightside," The Killers
12. "Gasolina," Daddy Yankee
13. "Lose Control," Missy Elliott feat. Ciara and Fat Man Scoop
14. "Helena," My Chemical Romance
15. "Formed a Band," Art Brut
16. "There it Go! (The Whistle Song)," Juelz Santana
17. "The Importance of Being Idle," Oasis
18. "Random," Lady Sovereign
19. "Banquet," Bloc Party
20. "Wake Me Up When September Ends," Green Day

I will admit to having all of these tracks except 3, 4, 6, 8, 13, 16 & 18 in my MP3 collection, and I enjoyed myself while dancing to most of these songs. At one point I did try to listen to Amerie and Lady Sovereign, but I'm not a big hip-hop fan and couldn't get into them.

After doing a quick and probably very inaccurate internet search on the top Alternative or "Modern Rock" singles of 2006 and 2007, I realize I have no clue who many these bands are, much less being able to hum along to one of their singles. AFI? Bedouin Soundclash? Yellowcard? Stabilo? Of course I recognize the Coldplays and Pearl Jams and the Red Hot Chili Peppers of the group, but seriously, who the fuck is Muse? Plain White T's? Sick Puppies? I am sure that some of these bands put out great poppy alternative tracks in 2006-7, but I really have no clue what they sound like.

Possibly not coincidentally, shortly after my car died I ended my relationship with Spin. In early 2006 Spin was sold to a new publisher, their editor-in-chief of five years was fired, and Chuck Klosterman stopped reporting and writing essays for the magazine. The June 2006 issue featured freakin' Beyonce. And this is an alternative music magazine? Rolling Stone penis envy all the way. The worst is that I payed extra to have that crap shipped to Canada. My subscription did not run out until early 2008, and by that time I had actually stopped reading it altogether, although the late-2007/early-2008 issues are still in a pile on my bedroom floor. I next attempted to subscribe to Harp, which went out of business after I got my first issue (I never even got billed for it).

In the future when/if I get another car, it will undoubtedly have a CD player and/or an MP3 player outlet, so I can't imagine that I will go back to listening to alternative radio. Its a shame too. My first exposure to alternative rock was listening to bands such as The Replacements, The Cure, and The Dead Milkmen on college radio in central Wisconsin. I'm sure there a tons of great rock and pop songs on the radio right now. Unfortunately, I am not going to hear them.

Fall Out Boy - Sugar, We're Going Down.mp3
Buy: From Under the Cork Tree (2005)

The Killers
- Mr. Brightside.mp3
Buy: Hot Fuss (2004)

My Chemical Romance - Helena.mp3
Buy: Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge (2004)

The Speed Tracer on a camping trip in 2002


Hanan said...

"who the fuck is Muse"????

are you kidding me?

Anonymous said...

Yeah, how can a music blogger not know about Muse? Especially someone who says they're a rock fan.

Do yourself a ginormous favor and check out their best albums-Hysteria and Black Holes & Revelations. You'll thank us.

Anonymous said...

Being a gigantic Muse fan, I actually lol'd when I read 'who the fuck is Muse'.

Also, The album you're probably talking about is called Absolution.
And Origin of Symmetry is their best album.

Hanan said...

I was just going to type that! ah you beat me to it

but I agree with anon #1, Absolution is their best album. Time Is Running Out. mmm.

Rockstar Aimz said...

I did a very unscientific poll of my friends tonight and only 1 of 6 people had heard of Muse. Apparently the over 30 demographic in Toronto doesn't know Muse's music very well. So I looked up Muse on Last.FM, and OK, I do know "Time is Running Out," but I didn't immediately associate it with Muse. I actually thought that song was by The Dears, who sound nothing like Muse. My bad.

Also, you are making my point for me. Origin of Symmetry came out in North America in September 2005, well after my car died. I didn't listen to radio after July 2005, so despite their 2004 release Absolution, I never picked up on Muse.

Isn't Hysteria a Def Leopard album? Sorry, now I am being a jackass...

Thanks for reading, and thanks for the recommendations. Better late then never.

Hanan said...

*Def Leppard

so how have you been exposed to new music for the last 3 and a half years? no radio is no excuse, I never listen to the radio

Muse is a HUGE band all over the world, I'm sure even in Canada. that's why we were so incredulous.

Anonymous said...
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nareik said...

How could you seriously not have heard of Muse. They're one of the biggest bands in the world. Playing Wembley etc...

Stephen said...

Muse are not "huge" in the US or Canada. They're fairly popular but not exactly a household name. I wouldn't even put them on the level of someone like The Killers as far as popularity. They may be one of the biggest bands in the UK, but one of the biggest bands in the world? That's ridiculous.

Garrick said...

Muse pops up on the local radio every now and then. They played Phoenix a few months back, but it was a small theater (no more than 5000 seats). They seem to attract a narrow fan base -- the type who think a mix of Coldplay, Rush and Man-O-War is a good thing. They have a few songs that are kind of catchy, but 'Knights of Cydonia' was ruined for me when my wife pointed out the exaggerated breathing (the singer seems to gasp for air loudly before starting his next phrase).

And for the record, the only way I ever heard of Muse is that the car I drive now only has a radio.

Anonymous said...

Muse is hardly a huge band in the US and Canada. Take a survey of avterage music fans and radio listeners and I bet 8 or 9 out of 10 will have never heard of Muse. I like to think I'm pretty worldly when it comes to musical tastes but the only time I ever hear Muse's name brought up is when I'm talking to someone who has recently been to or lived in the UK. Then I get an earful about how big they are over there, etc.

Besides, Muse sucks anyway. Bombastic pap with little substance. Mix U2 with Radiohead then subtract anything that makes either of those bands the least bit interesting or worth listening to more than once.

Anonymous said...

Beyonce was on the cover of the July 2006 issue of Spin, not June.

PearlSnapMan said...

A lot of Muse snobs around here! (Myself not included)

Anonymous said...

check out Leathermouth -

and listen to their new song "bodysnatchers 4 ever"