Ah, the 2000’s. A mere twelve years ago a new millennium was born and an era had come to an end. The 90’s style of bright, loud colors and mom jeans on teenage girls was dying out along with boy bands and a unique style of alternative rock. Insert indie related genres, hip-hop dominance and electronic dance house music. Don’t get me wrong, the 90’s dominated genres weren’t like the dinosaurs. They were still were very popular. Alternative rock, pop and contemporary R&B were still successes in music throughout the decade.
Unfortunately for music, the 2000’s also marked the decade of least creative success. Previous eras introduced new styles and a foundation for a transition to a new sound. The biggest new introduction that swept the nation was auto-tune, and that wasn’t beneficial and (thankfully) did not last long. The 2000’s brought us Eminem, southern rap, post-grunge and a new style of pop.
Hip-hop dominated the 2000’s but slowly has infused pop into it, even having rapper Nas declare it the end of a genre. Post Tupac and Biggie, rap and hip-hop has definitely mixed into more of a pop sound. The early 2000’s still had Eminem, Wu-Tang Clan, UGK, and Outkast, however the mid-2000s might have been the death date that Nas spoke about. The emergence of Lil’ Wayne, then Wiz Khalifa, Mac Miller and Drake has pushed out conscious rap and imported party rap with light beats and poppy tunes. I’m not hating on it at all, but it is drastically different than hip-hop of earlier.
Not much has changed, but let’s move onto the landmarks of this decade and explore more how this time in music was shaped.
I have to admit this first. Full disclaimer: The Black Keys may be my favorite band and I may get too excited writing about them. Anyways, The Black Keys answered the decades lack of true rock, soul, blues-infused music. With “Tighten Up”, the general population was introduced to old-school rock and roll. A blues sound with a modern feel, The Black Keys re-opened an old door for the present generation to utilize. Now, I know this barely counts as a music canon of the 2000’s because it entered the contest in the last year, but if you look at the changing landscape of music, you can attribute the changes thanks to The Black Keys. There is a growing emphasis on rawness and true recording. Less studio fiddling and more of the true essence of what the musician actually sounds like. Musicians like Gary Clark Jr. (also one of my favorites) are beginning to emerge thanks to the popularity of the genre of music that The Black Keys have ignited. By fusing the sound Muddy Waters and R.L. Burnside with garage rock, The Black Keys have helped revolutionize modern rock music.
Music Canon #2: Electric Feel – MGMT (2008)
A mix between indie and electronic, MGMT’s ‘Electric Feel’ overlapped genres and stood as an individual amid a mess of sickeningly similar pop music of the time. With crossing expressionisms and unique instrumentals, this wide fusion of music fed off many genres and helped lead artists to think outside the box. Following indie rock artists like Modest Mouse and Franz Ferdinand and combining them with Deadmau5 and their own unique synth sound, MGMT was able to cross borders and create a new sound. The success of ‘Electric Feel’ help spawn success to artists like Empire of the Sun and more recently, Foster the People and Alex Clare. Now, MGMT did not influence the dubstep movement (that is more Skrillex and Bassnectar), but by creating an electronic fusion, it only helped its popularity.
Music Canon #3: New Slang – The Shins (2001)
The Shins ‘New Slang’ was released in 2001, but did not gain popularity until 2004 by being included in the soundtrack for the movie “Garden State.” ‘New Slang’ helped raise the popularity of indie rock. Combine the early to mid 2000s success of The Shins with Modest Mouse, Arcade Fire, and Vampire Weekend, and you have the makings of a blooming new mainstream genre. A few years later and Mumford and Sons ‘The Cave’ pushes the pile of the ledge and radio now overflows with indie rock pop. From Young the Giant to Florence and the Machine to Of Monsters and Men, the increasing amount of indie being popularized and created is a positive sign. With indie becoming more of a focal point of music, more creativity is immediate and fresh to the ears. But if indie is now mainstream, is it still considered indie? What will the hipsters say?
Overall, the 2000’s were great. Nothing new until the end of the decade, but the creative juices are there. With The Black Keys, Indie Rock, and some nice electronic influences leading the way, I know that more music with a fresh scent is on the way and am looking for new bands and artists to emerge soon.