Too much of popcult history involves counting the hits and ignoring the misses, unless the miss is catastrophic or bizarre enough to accrue its own mythology.
Yet the vast majority of shared cultural experiences and artifacts does not fall into either of these camps. They’re not enduring landmarks, but rather incidental bits of scenery viewed briefly from the window of speeding temporal train and then forgotten…provided they were even noticed to begin with.
Any genuine attempt at piecing together a cultural history must account for these ephemeral phenomena. They’re the contextual background noise and crucial cipher required to understand the wider landscape beyond a handful of familiar touchstones. The shit fades fast, too, even for more recent epochs where you’re more inclined to trust your memories.
Or, to put in another way, the following list of “songs you must hear now” from the February 2009 issue of SPIN is younger than the second incarnation of this site…
…and Mos Def is the only artist whose name I still stumble across on anything remotely approaching a regular basis. The Screaming Females also ring a faint bell, probably via some association with the music/mp3 blogging scene AT was arguably part of for a couple of years.
The issue also had a feature about the next big thing in the pop scene for 2009, including Ladyhawke, Bon Iver, Glasvegas, Cut Off Your Hands, and a couple other acts represented by mp3s shoved in a folder you haven’t accessed since Obama’s reelection.