The Year the Music Died
In Whisky's post "Album Of The Year," the comments veered into a discussion of when popular music - the charts, radio, etc. - lost their appeal for them. (I began to craft a simple answer for the comments, but my researching for it morphed it into a post.)
I've always known I'd had "that moment of egress from the larger gestalt," but until now, I didn't really try to pin-point it. Now I have: 1989 was the year the music died for me. The last year the charts and radio were truly relevant to me was 1988.
Reviewing the charts, there were a handful of songs I liked in 1988, which speaks to my probably still buying albums regularly and such, but it was a pretty weak year, nonetheless. Here's a sample of songs I liked at the time:
INXS - Need You Tonight
George Harrison - Got My Mind Set on You
Rick Astley - Never Gonna Give You Up - interesting that the famous internet meme song came out this year
Guns N' Roses - Sweet Child O' Mine
Steve Winwood - Roll With It
Bobby McFerrin - Don't Worry, Be Happy
Beach Boys - Kokomo
Tracy Chapman - Fast Car
Van Halen - When It's Love
Sting - We'll Be Together
Joan Jett - I Hate Myself for Loving You
John Cougar Mellencamp - Cherry Bomb
(I also realized that when I came across Whitney Houston's "So Emotional" in the 1988 hits list that it was the year I got my wisdom teeth removed. Irony? Fate? Synchronicity?)
The few songs I did like from 1989 all seem to be named appropriately, given it was my year of abandonment:
Boy Meets Girl - Waiting For a Star to Fall
Mike + the Mechanics - The Living Years
38 Special - Second Chance
Don Henley - The End of the Innocence
1989 marked the beginning of the invasion of the metal hair bands, "Dance/Hip Hop" (which was really just disco remonikered), Bon Jovi, and other abominations, which was main reason I stopped listening. Public taste had changed from mine.
That was also the year I relented and stopped buying vinyl and moved to CD exclusively. The trigger was Tom Petty's "Full Moon Fever." It was the last vinyl I bought because MCA had always had shitty prints (they usually came with a side of bacon), but that particular print sounded like it was already two decades old. I took it back to the store and they let me exchange it for the CD.
After that, the rare awesome album came along. Here's the mostly complete list:
U2 - Achtung Baby - 1991
Nirvana - Nevermind - 1991
Spin Doctors - Pocket Full of Kryptonite - 1991
Faith No More - Angel Dust - 1992
Dave Matthews Band - Under the Table and Dreaming - 1994
Live - Throwing Copper - 1994
Alanis Morissette - Jagged Little Pill - 1995
The Refreshments - Fizzy Fuzzy Big & Buzzy - 1996
No Doubt - Tragic Kingdom - 1996
There was a blip in 1996 when a rash of good songs were released (Collective Soul, Oasis, and the Gin Blossoms were gaining prominence then), but other than that, I tend to buy the artists I already like: Prince, The Cure, Collective Soul, U2, DMB, The Foo Fighters, and Dwight Yoakam.
The only memorable new artist added to my cannon was The Flaming Lips when they bombed the world with "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots" in 2002.