The bubble has finally burst – This is Year Zero

Posted on March 12, 2012


It’s finally happened. The honeymoon period, if you can call it that is over. If it ever really began, mind. The last decade was prolonging and holding off what was completely and inevitable. This was as certain to have happened as night follows day. What could I be possibly be nattering on about? Well, what I’m trying to say is that the room for creativity and any modicum of originality in music has about as much left in the tank that it wouldn’t run 0.01 of an inch.
No, I’m not heralding that the end of the world is nigh, though you gotta admit, we’re not far off. This is a prospect which is in actual fact a close second. Because of our instantaneous, hap-hazard, credit crunch era, each and every one of us is being punished. We thought this would last but ultimately each and every one of us has a cross to bear.This is Year Zero. We have finally reached the precipice, with a cliff-hanger of the bubble which has burst. At this stage it’s quite difficult to tell what will take its place but right now, like the natural disaster of enormous magnitude, it’s all about salvaging of what’s left of the remains left behind in its aftermath. If you don’t believe we don’t have much bands to define the noughties, then can you expect to find the Libertines or Arctic Monkeys on any retrospective, dreary ‘I Love The Noughties’ specials in twenty years time for their musical prowess rather than their excessive exploits or sales? Well? Anything? Don’t worry, I’ll hold here. No, I don’t think you can. What’s likely on the other hand is how they’ll tell in awe of the Kate Moss-Pete Doherty drug-addled frenzy and with omnipresenttalking-head bozos courtesy of Kate Thornton, Davina McCall and Noel Gallagher talking of ‘what was she/he thinking’, ‘I never wore a pair of tapered skinny fit jeans from Top Shop, though I bought some and it’s probably in between the leggings and shoulder pads’. Just a dystopic, ominous vision of the certain-as-death future that beckons for us right there ladies and gents.
But where did it all start going a bit awry and pear-shaped? It’s hard to tell where this to pinpoint a time as to where it went all wrong. But for arguments sake and since I’m writing this piece up it would be naive and wreckless of me to make a point such as this without any unfounded foundations. It would be like a lawyer turning up for a trial without a case for the defence, therefore leaving him caught with his trousers dangling down. But I’m willing to take a stab at 1997.Think about it. It was the end of the party as far as Britpop was concerned (Be Here Now anyone?) and the advent of the digital age with the never-ending choice of Sky Digital lurking around the hairpin corner. There was a need to fill a hole in the gap left behind and god knows we weren’t going to let the baggy-led Madchester era back in a hurry. Oh, and a gurning Tony Blair ushered in New labour after being wooed by his peripheral vision and was handed the keys to No. 10. Ironically, for many a policital rally in the last decade or so, one oft hears D:Ream’s ‘Things Can Only Get Better’. So much for ‘Cool Britannia’ then.
Anyway, I digress. So as far as cyclical tastes went, the likes of Fatboy Slim, Armand Van Helden and Wiseguys left us meandering on auto-pilot for about, I would say two to three years until the dawn of a new century. A new way. Provided that our electronics weren’t programmed to shoot at will upon the command of a red button controlled by the CIA. Or some other person in charge of a super-robot with a master key of sorts. In desperation of something us alternative bods, there was a new craze hitting Middle America and teens in rebellion for refusing to tidy their bedrooms in the almightiest of moody strops – Nu-metal.
Suddenly, almost out of nowhere, a flash of red-capped rock/rap hybrid jocks come along and kick started what would eventually lead to rock as we know it, being commercially in the public eye. Were it not for Limp Bizkit, who we know are about as inviting and welcome on our doorsteps as Jim Davidson, would indie have reached the dizzying heights of the charts as much as they have?
Shortly afterward, finally. Something that would be a true pre-decessor to American based nu-metallers and what would have appeared to have been a warm-up to the main event, the Pièce de résistance. an NME-championed ‘New Rock Revolution’ led by the Strokes and White Stripes paved the way for indie to blow up into household names and to a collective audience of many, dismantling something that was horrible before, with something that had been done already twenty odd years ago. But it’s influence and charm offensive upon the rest of popular culture cannot be overstated. For inherent and conclusive evidence of this, look to Topshop and look at why you can’t get clothes above a certain waist size. But that could even be said of the dreary and woeful years of nu-metal and the sales of oversized jeans, red New Era caps and skate trainers. The overall point of where everything went wrong is that trends and fashions no longer became de rigour of originality but one of re-hashes and second waves every two decades.
Don’t say though that hasn’t been coming. For so long, we’ve become desensitized to the fact that we can dispose of one ‘in’ thing though it might’ve seemed crap at that particular moment in time, to appear ‘ironic’ second time around. Case in point, how many of you would walk the streets in day-glo this very moment.Thought as much. Rave came as quickly as it went, as did its brand of ‘nu’, which quickly reminded those why it died out as quickly as it came about.
Though what takes originality’s place is something I admittedly and much to my detriment have not thought that far ahead. Just consider yourself lucky that with every day that passes, armageddon closes in ever closer.