Voyou Désœuvré

Especially as it was preemptively won by Alistair’s definitive top 100 songs of the 90s.

I must admit, I found the short lived outbreak of 90s-pop hostilities a little depressing. Not because the songs were terrible, although some of them certainly were, indeed the opposite; the music of the early 90s was often so good, current pop music can’t really stand up. I realize there’s a danger of nostalgia, but this isn’t just a matter of subjective taste. The diffusion of acid house and hardcore into chart music that was such a big feature of the early 90s is, in hindsight, kind of amazing, and a positive development that I can’t see much to equal today. Marky Mark is a particularly good example. When I remembered his existence, I had no memory of what the song sounded like; certainly, it didn’t occur to me that a manufactured pop idol would was launched with a song that owes so much to an Italo-house classic. If you want to be depressed, just compare Marky Mark’s amazing track with the contemporary equivalents (James Blunt, maybe, or Daniel Powter).

Well, there are a couple of contemporary trends that give some hope. One would be Timbaland’s remarkable queering of R&B, particularly on the Justin Timberlake album. Pleasingly, this is being picked up by other R&B and hip-hop artists, particularly in the Bay Area, as I discovered from this great hyphy mixtape (mix-podcast?). Particular good is Berkeley group The Pack’s track, “At the Club,” which, unexpectedly, sounds like nothing so much as Belgian New Beat.

Comments

  1. Ian Mathers, 11:02 am, June 3, 2007

    That Pack song is great – their first single, “Vans,” is pretty similar but has this whole weird economic/advertising angle.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3xlJv-KYT1k

  2. Audio1, 8:25 pm, October 20, 2008

    Thanks for the link!

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