Your least favorite band sucks too.
August 10, 2017 6:33 PM   Subscribe

"I’m actually here to propose this far narrower argument: that the two-week span from June 23 to July 8, 1997, specifically, may have been the worst two weeks for music ever recorded."
posted by jenkinsEar (112 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
 
Any week that includes a release of a new original Ween album is, by definition, the best week ever in music. That means there were like nine best weeks ever. Not like VH1 Best Weeks Ever, but like actual best weeks in all of history.
posted by Joey Michaels at 6:41 PM on August 10 [13 favorites]


The best music ever created was between 1972 and 1979. The rest of your music sucks. /s
posted by Splunge at 6:57 PM on August 10 [4 favorites]


Primus sucks.
posted by Nanukthedog at 7:04 PM on August 10 [6 favorites]


The best music ever created was between October 7, 1986, the day that Slayer's Reign in Blood was unleashed.
posted by NoMich at 7:05 PM on August 10 [8 favorites]


Glory to the Brave is still HammerFall's best album.
posted by radicalawyer at 7:09 PM on August 10 [2 favorites]


As bad as Limp Bizkit and Sugar Ray are, at least they tried to be fun. I mostly loathe, really loathe, the serious-indie-rock they hold up as exemplars of the mid-aughts (the National, Arcade Fire). Lighten the fuck up, fellas.
posted by uncleozzy at 7:10 PM on August 10 [30 favorites]


We all know music posts like this are basically the clickbait of MetaFilter, but despite that soul-crushing fact, I kinda like this take on it. It's a lot more fun than the usual 'your band sux' post.

I'm sure there's plenty to argue about here, but something like this could make for a whole lot of amusing takes on the idea. And I gotta hand it to them. They did find a pretty fugly two-week period there. If we collectively can reign in our faux-outrage, this could really funny, really fast.
posted by los pantalones del muerte at 7:12 PM on August 10 [6 favorites]


I submit October 22, 1988 to January 21, 1989. "Groovy Kind of Love", "Kokomo", "Bad Medicine" and the Will to Power "Baby I Love Your Way / Freebird Medley". It even spans the year boundary; you have to spend the holidays with Poison's "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" and start the cold cold winter with Bobby Brown.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 7:20 PM on August 10 [33 favorites]


The authors were presumably not born yet during the period when you could not go out in public without hearing Phil Collins and Huey Lewis And The News, often both at the same time.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 7:21 PM on August 10 [26 favorites]


Music is the worst.
posted by srboisvert at 7:22 PM on August 10 [46 favorites]


the 1990s did end badly if you cared about music that other people liked (ie: that was remotely popular), though in my memory, 1999 was the worst year of all. Or as I recall hearing it put. It's as if the gods decided there was a certain amount of dreck that just had to sluiced down the aural sewers before the millennium lest the whole continuum fall apart.

As for 1997, well this is hardly a bad list ...
posted by philip-random at 7:22 PM on August 10 [3 favorites]


With [Limp Bizkit's] major-label debut Three Dollar Bill, Y’all, the musical manifestation of the state of Florida took the agitprop of Rage Against The Machine and the alienation of Korn and finally turned it into something backwards-ball-cap-rocking mooks could pound SoCo to while doing donuts in the Hardee’s parking lot.

This sentence is a work of art. MWAH.
posted by hijinx at 7:22 PM on August 10 [41 favorites]


IDGAF what anyone says. Mmmbop is still a decent little earworm.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 7:26 PM on August 10 [29 favorites]


As for 1997, well this is hardly a bad list ...

Aww, Dots and Loops! Monotonous, yet strangely hypnotic? Must be Stereolab! Lordy but I love me some Stereolab.

True fact: My (then) boyfriend introduced me to them a year or two or three before, and I misheard him. For years I thought their name was StereoLAD, and I submit to the jury that in a just world I would have been correct. The name, of course would be followed by an exclamation point.
posted by los pantalones del muerte at 7:27 PM on August 10 [12 favorites]


We've adjusted to the very welcome female members, we now introduce a new generation here.
posted by Samuel Farrow at 7:30 PM on August 10


Any week that includes a release of a new original Ween album is, by definition, the best week ever in music. That means there were like nine best weeks ever. Not like VH1 Best Weeks Ever, but like actual best weeks in all of history.

From TFA:

"Granted, I’m not much of a Ween fan, and I’m aware that its fanbase loves just about every one of its indulgent experiments—even an album of sea shanties—so there’s probably someone who would say that The Mollusk alone redeems these two weeks. But I feel that would probably be disingenuous."
posted by firechicago at 7:33 PM on August 10 [19 favorites]


I was rather thrown by the appearance of Alchemist on that list, since they were a local Canberra band that my band used to gig with. They were really good though.
posted by the duck by the oboe at 7:49 PM on August 10 [2 favorites]


Music is terrible. Everything is terrible.
posted by infinitywaltz at 7:54 PM on August 10 [4 favorites]


The best music ever created was between 1972 and 1979. The rest of your music sucks. /s

That's ridiculous, there was some great stuff until at least half way through 1981. After that, though...
posted by octothorpe at 7:58 PM on August 10


Isn't this period the peak of the music industry CD price cartel?

No wonder all the music was garbage.
posted by BYiro at 8:10 PM on August 10 [11 favorites]


The article makes a provocative argument I'd enjoy agreeing with, but I'd need more data. According to this source, Untouchable Outcaste Beats v. 1 was set to release on June 23, 1997, but this source says it released on August 11. This source says there were distinct US & UK releases. So the original tracks by Niraj Chag and Badmarsh & Shri among others might have been released somewhere on June 23, creating a minor question in my mind about the premise.
posted by Wobbuffet at 8:10 PM on August 10 [1 favorite]


Roni Size & Reprazent's New Forms was June 23rd according to cursory googling.
posted by juv3nal at 8:20 PM on August 10 [8 favorites]


You're all wrong. The worst time in music was the 864 thousand weeks that Sussudio spent at the top of the charts, when it was played simultaneously on every radio station in town at a rotation of once every 3.25 minutes, thus assuring that, as you had heard nothing else all day, even as you laid your head on your pillow and closed your eyes, all you could hear was "su su sudio! Oh oh!" And you ended up having a series of dreams over a number of weeks in which you suffocated Phil Collins.
posted by vignettist at 8:21 PM on August 10 [34 favorites]


The worst time in music was the 864 thousand weeks that Sussudio spent at the top of the charts, when it was played simultaneously on every radio station in town at a rotation of once every 3.25 minutes, thus assuring that, as you had heard nothing else all day, even as you laid your head on your pillow and closed your eyes, all you could hear was "su su sudio! Oh oh!"

True story - I really liked that song, then, and would call the radio station to request it.

I'd also request The Misfits or Metallica, but they never played those.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:30 PM on August 10 [6 favorites]


Pitchfork Gives Music 6.8.
posted by koavf at 8:33 PM on August 10 [8 favorites]


If "Walking on the Sun" hadn't happened then Astro Lounge might not have happened and we wouldn't have gotten Neil Cicierega's magnum opus. That redeems these two weeks in my eyes.
posted by ob1quixote at 8:55 PM on August 10 [4 favorites]


At the time, I was listening entirely to They Might Be Giants, Moxy Fruvous and Stephen Sondheim. Being a musical shut-in, I always thought, was a flaw of mine, and I should have been out with the people, but it seems I didn't miss much after all.
posted by Countess Elena at 8:57 PM on August 10 [6 favorites]


Fat of the Land is an amazing album and lining up a sweet set of pool shots while the Ofra Haza vocal break in 'Smack my bitch up' is kicking in after like fourteen pints of Gizzy Gold, the remnants of a munty joint of sticky head and too many clove ciggies to count is pretty much all she wrote in terms of 1997 kinesthetic/chemical experience
posted by Sebmojo at 8:59 PM on August 10 [27 favorites]


Metafilter: basically the clickbait of MetaFilter
posted by traveler_ at 9:02 PM on August 10 [7 favorites]


From the article: 2003 is a really surprisingly bad year in music

Whoa, I think they forgot about some great music by Yeah Yeah Yeahs, the Postal Service, Death Cab for Cutie, Seal, Four Tet, Outkast, Beyonce, Sufjan Stevens, John Mayer, Radiohead…
posted by John Cohen at 9:09 PM on August 10 [4 favorites]


rounded out by irritating, nonsensical earworms like Aqua’s “Barbie Girl”

Hey now, AVClub. Barbie Girl is a fantastic nonsensical earworm.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 9:16 PM on August 10 [15 favorites]


This article resonates so hard with me. Those two weeks really did birth a monster that manifested its final form years later in Rob Thomas's vocal performance on "Smooth."
posted by grumpybear69 at 9:17 PM on August 10 [6 favorites]


I had one comment in my mind through much of that article, but it got covered right at the end.

I think it was 1997 that the one formerly decent radio station in my listening area changed formats. I lived right at the edge of it's range and could never get it to work on my radio at home, but it came it pretty consistently in the car. 1997 was also the year I got my driver's license and could finally tune in to it regularly.
posted by ckape at 9:20 PM on August 10 [1 favorite]


Best albums of 1997.
posted by Sebmojo at 9:30 PM on August 10 [1 favorite]


Whichever week in 1989 that billy joel released we didn't start the fire is the worst week in pop music history
posted by OHenryPacey at 9:33 PM on August 10 [4 favorites]


I don't care, I really like Reel Big Fish. I loved Keep Your Reciept. One of my favorite bar moments was when someone put on the entirety of their third album and walked out. Everyone groaned, but I just sat quietly singing along to the whole album from memory.
posted by Pacrand at 9:35 PM on August 10 [8 favorites]


"Aww, Dots and Loops! Monotonous, yet strangely hypnotic? Must be Stereolab! Lordy but I love me some Stereolab."

Yeah! Another stereolab lover! Haha I was just trying to introduce my partner to them yesterday, she'd never heard them before and I had to introduce her to them.
posted by Carillon at 9:52 PM on August 10 [6 favorites]


It's odd that they put Paul Weller's Heavy Soul on that list, then fail to discuss its inclusion at all. It's a pretty good album that had nothing to do with the toxic trends they're pointing to concerning rap metal & Nu-Metal.
posted by Devils Rancher at 10:06 PM on August 10 [2 favorites]


Any reviewer that looks at a period of time during which Tindersticks' Curtains was released and finds it without any redemptive value is worthless to me.

Also, while Fat of the Land is a little dated, it certainly wasn't without merit.
posted by Candleman at 10:08 PM on August 10 [7 favorites]


IT's okay to not like things

Whenever people complain about things that Other People Like that they don't I just really want to put this on endless repeat for them until they understand that --shitting on things people like is unkind--
posted by FritoKAL at 10:12 PM on August 10 [7 favorites]


--shitting on things people like is unkind--

but what if those things are shitting on you? This is the problem when anything achieves serious presence in the the pop sphere. It's now finding you whether you want it or not. I don't care what folks listen to at home with the doors closed. I do care what gets blasted at me out in the world. And more to the point, I get to respond. With raspberries if necessary.
posted by philip-random at 10:34 PM on August 10 [4 favorites]


God, I remember this year being shit. In fact, I remember much of the '90s being shit, but I had spent 1996 in the Coast Guard stationed on Attu Island, Alaska -- literally the last island on the chain, and no, not with internet yet -- and then I came back to civilization, back to... this. Like the '90s had already wounded me with the rise of "alt" music supplanting my beloved hair metal (which I think was getting better before its demise). But then everything just turned to shit.

1997 was the year I discovered Lords of Acid (Voodoo U came out in '94). But I remember this year. I actually have the Robyn album listed, 'cause I was so happy to hear a couple of new songs I didn't hate, but even that album felt pretty meh. And meh was the best I could do that year.

Normally I don't care for music critics, because I like what I like and music critics always come off as even bigger blowhard snobs than movie critics. But this article is pretty solid. Man, fuck music in 1997, and fuck these two weeks in particular. Good find.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 10:48 PM on August 10 [6 favorites]


Fat of the Land and The Carnival negate the whole premise....
posted by so fucking future at 10:56 PM on August 10 [4 favorites]


The worst time in music was the 864 thousand weeks that Sussudio spent at the top of the charts

I just dropped in to say that there is a shoe store in my neighborhood called the Shoe Studio and dammit if that song isn't in my head every time I go past.
posted by rouftop at 11:00 PM on August 10 [13 favorites]


What made this period particularly depressing for me was that I'd recently graduated from college and was already starting to suspect that nothing would ever be cool again, and the music actually getting terrible only confirmed my darkest fears. Not much later was that whole freaking Dido situation.
posted by praemunire at 11:00 PM on August 10 [2 favorites]


I wasn't able to track down a release month for Grooverider's The Prototype Years mix but it has a hell of a tracklisting even if the mixing is kinda ehh in spots. And Photek's Modus Operandi was September. '97 was a pretty good time for DnB is what I'm saying.
posted by juv3nal at 11:02 PM on August 10 [2 favorites]


I mean, the premise isn't wrong, but.... I loved that Blues Traveler album and it got a heavy workout on my portable CD player in the summer of '99 when I was chained to an old SparcStation doing data analysis for my independent study project.
posted by mbd1mbd1 at 11:24 PM on August 10 [1 favorite]


'97 was a pretty good time for DnB is what I'm saying.

It does seem to be a good time for most techno, DnB, hardcore, so on. What I note is very little of that would've been on the radio, or purchasable on CD. Still all vinyl singles.

Perhaps you could call it one of the worst years for popular music.
posted by solarion at 11:27 PM on August 10 [2 favorites]


For years I thought their name was StereoLAD, and I submit to the jury that in a just world I would have been correct. The name, of course would be followed by an exclamation point.

There is in fact a dude-fronted Stereolab cover band called Stereolad, with members of !!! (aka Chk Chk Chk, speaking of exclamation points!). I saw them last year and they did a whole set of Stereolab pretty faithfully.
posted by lisa g at 11:39 PM on August 10 [8 favorites]


METAFILTER: What made this period particularly depressing for me was that I'd recently graduated from college and
posted by philip-random at 12:02 AM on August 11 [8 favorites]


YOU LEAVE MMMBOP ALONE! I hated it when it was new, but it's really grown on me as fun, catchy piece of pop. What helped was how it was featured in the weirdo pop-culture rat king movie, Detention.
posted by brundlefly at 12:10 AM on August 11 [2 favorites]


and to be clear, any music year that includes Exile on Coldharbour Lane had to happen
posted by philip-random at 12:10 AM on August 11 [1 favorite]


'97 was a pretty good time for DnB is what I'm saying.

May 6, 1997, is also when the first "MTV's AMP" compilation came out--Photek, Aphex Twin, Chemical Brothers, etc.--so things like that were reaching a fairly wide audience. I can't find tracklists or episodes for the TV show that are definitely from the two weeks in question, but here are playlists that represent shows 1x25 and 1x26 from June 15 and July 22 (or, according to this source, June 22) respectively. And here are three actual segments of the episode from June 15, 1997: 1, 2, 3.
posted by Wobbuffet at 12:24 AM on August 11 [5 favorites]


I was all ready to be mildly disgruntled but then I looked it up and Teenage Fanclub released Songs From Northern Britain a couple of weeks after this so I'm good.
posted by gnuhavenpier at 12:39 AM on August 11 [2 favorites]


The Mighty Mighty Bosstones and Cherry Poppin’ Daddies were heralding pop-punk’s mutation into third-wave ska

... In 1997? Didn't that already happen in 1988-1989? (See also.) Or 1993-1994? You can't herald something that had been releasing retrospective compilations for 2-3 years at that point.
posted by salvia at 12:45 AM on August 11 [3 favorites]


I can't even take this seriously. Ween's most popular album (no I can't back that up) comes out and they're all, "some people really like them, I guess." '97 really was a great year for electronic music. I was sure we'd all be raving in unity any minute now. Most importantly, perhaps, 97 saw the pinnacle of goa trance with The Lone Deranger. The fact that I graduated college in 1997 has nothing to do with my opinions. No really.
posted by makoi at 1:24 AM on August 11 [1 favorite]


and rounded out by irritating, nonsensical earworms like... Hanson’s “MMMBop”

Huh? MMMBop's pretty clear: it's about the existential dread that nearly all your relationships will decay and you can't know in advance if you've chosen the right people to share your life with. An 'mmmbop' is a unit of arbitrary time, longer than a flash or a tick or a moment, but shorter than you realise.

No seriously, check out the lyrics.

I will leave it to others to draw conclusions about how much Hanson was dismissed for being lightweight teenyboppers despite this never really being an accurate description
posted by Merus at 1:30 AM on August 11 [21 favorites]


also I know that 'Cherry Poppin' Daddies' is a really gross bandname* but they apparently have a gift for turns of phrase. 'Zoot Suit Riot' is pleasing in a way I can't explain.

* innnnnnnnnnnnncest
posted by Merus at 1:32 AM on August 11 [2 favorites]


The authors were presumably not born yet during the period when you could not go out in public without hearing Phil Collins and Huey Lewis And The News, often both at the same time.

Insulting Phil Collins? Those are fighting words.
posted by daybeforetheday at 1:52 AM on August 11 [1 favorite]


This article is pretty good, and also pretty funny, but I am always annoyed by people who lazily dismiss ICP. I am no fan of their music, but they have been a pretty big deal for a certain segment of the population for decades.
posted by Literaryhero at 2:10 AM on August 11


From TFA:

"Granted, I’m not much of a Ween fan, and I’m aware that its fanbase loves just about every one of its indulgent experiments—even an album of sea shanties—so there’s probably someone who would say that The Mollusk alone redeems these two weeks. But I feel that would probably be disingenuous."


I read that before i posted and let me dismantle it.

The writer admits they're not a fan of the band.

They then mischaracterize the album as "sea shanties." It is, in fact, a sort of an anti-concept album performed in several styles, including show- tune, country, and prog-rock among others.

They then try to twist their dislike of the band and ignorance about the album into the conclusion they already reached in order to dismiss the awesomeness of the album.

They know they are possibly wrong but dismiss the album anyways. Ergo, they are being disingenuous by calling others disingenuous.

I sentence them to five hours of "Nookie" or time served if they've already listened to that song for at least five hours. Rock court adjourned.
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:27 AM on August 11 [7 favorites]


'Zoot Suit Riot' is pleasing in a way I can't explain.

Zoot suit riots are an actual historical -- and super awful racist -- thing.
posted by kewb at 3:09 AM on August 11 [4 favorites]


"so there’s probably someone who would say that The Mollusk alone redeems these two weeks." argh … I … was going to say exactly that.

I'm horribly predictable.
posted by iamkimiam at 3:20 AM on August 11 [4 favorites]


The song 'Zoot Suit Riot' isn't racist. It's sung from the point of view of the Zoot Suited.
posted by communicator at 3:26 AM on August 11 [2 favorites]


The writer admits they are not a fan of the band.

This is not an "admission", it is a statement that the band and its music fail to entertain them, which is the point of the band and its music. Insinuating that a critic not being a fan invalidates their criticism is misunderstanding the points of critics, fans, and art.
posted by Etrigan at 3:45 AM on August 11 [2 favorites]


1997 was actually an epic year for electronic music and new music in general.

Other notable electronic albums from that year: Daft Punk - Homework, The Orb - Orblivion, Portishead - Portishead, Plaid - Not for Threes (One of my favorite albums of all time. Go listen to Plaid! Trust me!), Aphex Twin - Come to Daddy, DJ Shadow - Entroducing, Stereolab - Dots and Loops, Roni Size and Reprazent - New Forms, Amon Tobin - Bricolage, Thievery Corporation - Sounds from the Thievery Hi Fi, u-ziq - Lunatic Harness, The Crystal Method - Vegas.


Plaid's Not for Threes alone can atone for and erase any and all sins mentioned in the article. Hell, it even makes up for Insane Clown Posse and Limp Bizkit.

And Primal Scream being released during the dates in question kind of automatically makes the "worst weeks ever" point moot.
posted by loquacious at 4:03 AM on August 11 [8 favorites]


I wasn't expecting to feel defensive about any of the listed albums, but then I saw "Robyn is Here" and I frowned. VERY IMPORTANT ALBUM.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 4:44 AM on August 11 [8 favorites]


1997... that was the post grunge era where Axe bodyspray really found its niche in advertainment? This was the peak of companies buying naming rights to stadiums and arenas. As a culture, the capitalist world decided to sell out. This was the OJ civil trial that proved you could be innocent of murder but guiltyish enough to pay. This was Earios being launched as Mike Tyson' breakfast cereal of choice... This was the year you spent every other weekend in the theatre having to watch Titanic. Nelson Mandela met the Spice Girls... I mean don't complain about the music without putting it in context of the rest of the pop culture-trash-a-polooza.
posted by Nanukthedog at 5:12 AM on August 11 [3 favorites]


> Perhaps you could call it one of the worst years for popular music.

Vs.

> 1997 was actually an epic year for electronic music and new music in general.

It's as if there's a connection between the two!
posted by jeremias at 5:18 AM on August 11 [4 favorites]


Everything shitty on this list is negated...is lifted high...is forgiven all transgressions...because of Ok Computer. So while those couple weeks were wretched, Radiohead alone did enough heavy lifting in 1997 to make it a GREAT year in music.
posted by Windigo at 5:27 AM on August 11


In 1951, "The Little White Cloud That Cried" was a smash hit. "The Macarena" was number one for fourteen weeks in 1996. A song about muskrats having sex peaked at #4 in 1976 and was performed at the White House in front of the Queen of England.

1997. Pfft.
posted by kyrademon at 5:42 AM on August 11 [2 favorites]


If Vanishing Point came out during that time span, it can't be the worse. While it's not Screamadelica or XTRMNTR, it's by far the most focused of all Primal Scream albums.
posted by lmfsilva at 5:45 AM on August 11 [1 favorite]


TIL Sham 69 released an album in 1997.
posted by Room 641-A at 5:51 AM on August 11


Terry Jacks' "Seasons In The Sun" was not released during 1997. So these authors' argument is, by definition, wrong.
posted by tallmiddleagedgeek at 6:07 AM on August 11 [1 favorite]


It's possible to write eloquently about popular music and still be totally wrong.
posted by tommasz at 6:11 AM on August 11 [2 favorites]


Yeah those were a weird couple weeks... I believe Phish was touring Europe at the time. Then they came back to the states and put on a legendary Fall tour (a.k.a. Phish Destroys America) that restored order and balance to the rock & roll universe.
posted by stinkfoot at 6:23 AM on August 11


Lazy fly-by's on Prodigy, Robyn and Ween to prove their point.
posted by mannequito at 6:42 AM on August 11 [1 favorite]


There was a recent thread on an article about Euron-Grayjoy-as-douchebag that someone accused of being classist, but that had nothing on this article. It takes them a while to get around to it, but that's the same as noting that a moth rarely flies directly into the flame: "And finally, it’s way, way too easy to rip on Limp Bizkit, so let’s do it." And even then, they momentarily lapse into honesty:
The proliferation of mouth-breathing rap-metal that Limp Bizkit’s popularity inspired, all the misogyny and violence and Woodstock riots it instigated, all the dumb fucking songs that were still yet to issue from Fred Durst’s mouth—there’s no need to reiterate it, especially when Durst said it best himself: “For years I looked into the crowd and saw a bunch of bullies and assholes who tortured me and ruined my life,” he told Rolling Stone in 2009, adding, “I don’t even listen to any type of music that’s like Limp Bizkit at all.”
IIRC, Kurt Cobain came to much the same conclusion WRT the popularity of his music among the sort of person that he hated. But the authors of this piece move on to take an easy swipe at Insane Clown Posse, which is basically the free middle square in classist bingo.
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:45 AM on August 11 [7 favorites]


I'm just not going to get sucked into these clickbaity entirely subjective, outrage/nostalgia music pieces any more. It's just designed to - wait now YOU TAKE THAT BACK ABOUT DEL AMITRI RIGHT THIS MINUTE!
posted by Catseye at 7:05 AM on August 11 [3 favorites]


I am doomed, because the summer of 1997 was when I was 11 years old and was awakening to pop culture and boys in general. I spent hours having this music in the background as my friends and I discussed the merits of various boys in our grade while we circled clothes in the latest Delia's catalog. So now it's all imprinted on my brain as my Carefree Youth soundtrack and I know it's bad music, but I can't stop the warm nostalgia glow I get when I hear this crap.
posted by castlebravo at 7:05 AM on August 11 [6 favorites]


I have very little patience these days for long-winded pontification on music. You literally can't write pieces like this without trying your best to pass an opinion off as fact, which just strikes me as arrogant in the worst way. Especially if your attempt to do so is based on trying to associate a type of music with a group/class of people the author assumes the audience looks down on.

All music is good. The world is a better place with more music in it. If at least one person likes a track, then that's a good track. And if NO ONE likes an album, it's still good because that is an extra special achievement.
posted by FakeFreyja at 7:25 AM on August 11 [6 favorites]


The failure of Mmmbop to rekindle an interest in Sartre's back catalog comes down to the old chestnut of "It's not what you say, it's how you say it." Which may have been the point! Or the Hansen brothers may have just stumbled upon a universal truth during the everything-is-an-epiphany phase of youth. Who knows?

I have very little patience these days for long-winded pontification on music. ... All music is good.

I consider myself a poptimist and try to hear the song rather than the performance when listening to new music but have wasted too much time giving earnest Ernies the benefit of the doubt to concur with "all music is good." There is a metric boatload of worthless schlock out there, and quality criticism helps find the stuff that is worth paying attention to, though it doesn't require long wind.
posted by grumpybear69 at 7:39 AM on August 11 [2 favorites]


1997 was actually an epic year for electronic music and new music in general.

Yeah, that piece is pretty dumb, so dumb that I wonder how the writers found the strength to go on in the face of such dumbness, but 1997 was a stand-out year for electronic music in a decade that was already great: Future Sounds of London's Dead Cities, Portishead, Massive Attack's Mezzanine, Mouse on Mars' Autoditacker, Roni Size & Reprazent's New Forms, Autechre's Chiastic Slide, Photek's Modus Operandi, Björk's Homogenic, Daft Punk's Homework, Squarepusher's Hard Normal Daddy and Feed Me Weird Things, Paul Schütze's Second Site: 27°37'35" N 77°13'05" E (on which every cut is given titles like "Visible Portions Of The Celestial Sphere Are Represented By This Map Which Has A Movable Elliptic Which Pivots At The Point Representing The Pole"), Biosphere's Substrata, Terre Thaemlitz's Couture Cosmetique and Die Roboter Rubato, and Wolfgang Voigt's Zauberberg to name just a few. 1997 was also great for weird stuff like Gorky's Zygotic Mynci's Barafundle and Super Furry Animals' Radiator as well as being a high point of the Shibuya-kei scene and seeing a Lounge/Exotica revival. (And three of my all-time favorites, Underworld's Beaucoup Fish, A Man Called Adam's Duende, and Madonna's Ray Of Light followed the next year.)

It's a function of memory, age, and distance, but I think of 1997/98 almost as a kind of "Summer of Love" with new, thrilling music arriving every day.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:26 AM on August 11 [6 favorites]


The presence of Emperor's Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk on that list also invalidates the entire premise of this article. As does the relentless shitting on Squirrel Nut Zippers, that crew was great.
posted by Existential Dread at 8:40 AM on August 11 [3 favorites]


try to hear the song rather than the performance when listening to new music

Eh, for me, in a lot of cases it's the performance that is way more important than the song in making something enjoyable. I don't know if everything is good, but nearly everything has something to recommend it, even if it's just the way the congas go bippity-tok in the third verse.
posted by uncleozzy at 8:43 AM on August 11


Here to agree that 1997 had a lot of great electronic music balancing out the universe. I was frustrated with the shitness of popular music even at the time, which may have culminated in a Sugar Ray / 311 / Sublime triple bill at my college amphitheater. Having great dance music and a thriving community of DJs who played it really improved that weird, weird summer.
posted by migurski at 8:43 AM on August 11


The article is only arguing that a specific two-week period was the worst two-week period in modern top-40 music history, not that 1997 was awful. Lots of extraordinary albums came out that year, like Homogenic. And the big beat movement that helped legitimize electronic music in the public sphere was having its torch carried by The Chemical Brothers with Dig Your Own Hole's hit single "Block Rockin' Beats."

But "Sex & Candy" came out that autumn, so something was definitely rotten in Denmark.
posted by grumpybear69 at 9:02 AM on August 11 [2 favorites]


How can Sean talk shit about The Mollusk?! 🦑 He's no longer on my darling music reviewers list.
posted by Annika Cicada at 10:04 AM on August 11 [2 favorites]


In 1997 I discovered Super Furry Animals, Elliott Smith, and Arto Lindsay by hearing them at my local coffeehouse; the top-40 music I only heard in passing in shops and whatnot, so not enough to actively hate any of it, but I certainly wasn't seeking it out. I turned 28 in 1997 and passing out of the age range most top-40 music is produced for, anyway. I'd forgotten most of the bands/songs the article was railing against!

"Say You'll Be There", though, I do like for some reason, even if I think only one woman on the track can actually sing.

/old
posted by droplet at 10:27 AM on August 11


The worst time in music was 740 BC. Neo-Assyrian Ambient Industrial was inescapable.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:39 AM on August 11 [4 favorites]


I kind of liked Limp Bizkit, FIGHT ME. I still have a kind of nostalgic affection for them, the way you might remember that high school crush who was always kinda aggro for no reason and had frosted tips and maybe questionable attempts at facial hair and, well, did donuts in the Hardee's parking lot, but who also somehow had a sick body despite mainly eating food from convenience stores, and always had weed and got a little sensitive when it was just the two of you hanging out and was maybe a tiny bit bi curious (but probably just liked attention)? ...Nobody? Just me?

Seriously though I feel like a semi-ironic nu-metal revival wouldn't be the worst thing in the world if it meant we got a new crop of catchy angsty music that was fun to jump up and down to/shout along with, but without the shitty misogyny/homophobia etc. I mean I remember when people were all, "disco was irredeemable trash, thank god we put that to bed forever" and, well, lol.
posted by en forme de poire at 10:41 AM on August 11 [2 favorites]


I never liked Limp Bizkit, en forme de poire, but I never wanted to like them so much before now.
posted by octobersurprise at 10:47 AM on August 11 [3 favorites]


Massive Attack's Mezzanine

I obviously agree in principle but this was 1998, no?

1997 was definitely a pretty great year for electronic music, looking at that list -- I wish I'd had more exposure to it at the time it was all coming out, but most of it was coming out of the UK/Europe and I was an American pre-broadband teenager. Fortunately it was still exciting to discover a few years later when I got college internet and more disposable income.
posted by en forme de poire at 10:54 AM on August 11


The writer admits they are not a fan of the band.

This is not an "admission", it is a statement that the band and its music fail to entertain them, which is the point of the band and its music. Insinuating that a critic not being a fan invalidates their criticism is misunderstanding the points of critics, fans, and art.


I'm sorry, rock court has already passed sentence. You'll have to plead your case to the fifth circuit general pop music court to overrule the decision.
posted by Joey Michaels at 11:02 AM on August 11 [2 favorites]


Now see, this faux outrage is exactly what I warned against, you (lovable) goofballs. Humor, people! Run with it! Everyone's taste in music is different, that's what makes talking about it fun. Don't get mad about it—get funny.

Everyone in this rush to get offended is skipping past the article's (very) silly conceit. It's talking about a specific, very short period of time, not the entire year. Half this thread is completely O/T and derailed.

I can't even take this seriously.
Excellent! Now you get it.
posted by los pantalones del muerte at 11:09 AM on August 11 [2 favorites]


this was 1998, no?

So it was!
posted by octobersurprise at 11:09 AM on August 11


Everything shitty on this list is negated...is lifted high...is forgiven all transgressions...because of Ok Computer.

sorry. parked right next to Dark Side of the Moon on my most-overrated-albums-of-all-time list. Not bad at all, just not ... that transcendent.

97 really was a great year for electronic music. I was sure we'd all be raving

when I track what I was really listening to in '97-98, it seems to be two completely divergent strands. A. all manner of what we called "spaced out groove music", not necessarily trance and dance, just spaced and dubbed and echo-blasted way the hell out. Call it trip-hop, I guess, except the best of it wasn't exactly making the This is Trip Hop compilations. B. the vinyl collection of my then roommate, who had about a decade on me and thus had all manner of cool and mostly forgotten jazz and blues and swing and 60s psyche. I definitely got lost in there for a while.

As for what was popular -- that was for the high school kids to worry about, as always. And the middle school kids, who did get one thing very right. Mmmmbop was (and still is) a hell of pop nugget. I remember the day I first heard it, playing on a tinny radio in a corner store. I actually stopped and nodded and thought, wow, somebody's channeling some prime Motown here, and making it work. And then, later that same day, there was the video on TV. Boys. Very young. White. From Oklahoma. Wonders never cease.
posted by philip-random at 11:12 AM on August 11 [1 favorite]


1997 was shit for many a reason, but mostly because on June 12, 1997, I got the worst food poisoning in my life - 2 days before my 21st birthday. And I shit and vomited everywhere until I had no desire to go out on my 21st birthday.

But - It was a great ab workout!
posted by Nanukthedog at 11:23 AM on August 11 [1 favorite]


Mmmmbop was (and still is) a hell of pop nugget.

I agree. And so did Dave.
posted by octobersurprise at 11:44 AM on August 11 [1 favorite]


I find it weird that Glory to the Brave wasn't even mentioned in that article. I mean, there aren't many songs on the list, and they talk about all the other noticeable albums on it, but not the best remembered album of an influential metal band?
posted by Canageek at 11:48 AM on August 11


Now see, this faux outrage is exactly what I warned against, you (lovable) goofballs. Humor, people! Run with it!

Seriously! The article is a riot.
posted by grumpybear69 at 12:22 PM on August 11


It was a pretty good year for rock music generally; apart from the stuff that was already mentioned, Smog, KARP, Blonde Redhead, American Analog Set, Songs: Ohia and Nick Cave all had solid-to-great releases releases that year. But none of them were released during those two weeks!
posted by whir at 12:56 PM on August 11 [3 favorites]


It's all about the he-said, she-said bullshit.
posted by gucci mane at 12:57 PM on August 11 [1 favorite]


>A song about muskrats having sex peaked at #4 in 1976<

Which, until today, was thankfully lost to history as far as my audioreceptors were concerned... damnit... now I have to go expunge it again...
posted by twidget at 1:45 PM on August 11


I seem to recall 1997 as a bit of a turning point, where I started to listen to more and more vocal-free music. All those great DnB records (Roni Size!) and others that were mentioned above. As well, Homogenic and The Mollusk and Dots and Loops are all classics for me. One album that was released that year that I still haven't seen mentioned is Amon Tobin's "Bricolage", which is fantastic.
posted by sauril at 4:16 PM on August 11 [1 favorite]


I felt like 1997 was a turning point in mainstream use of, for the lack of a better word, more "computery" electronic production (as opposed to the plain old hardware drum machines, synths, and samplers of 80s pop), both on its own and mixed with acoustic instruments. For me one standout not mentioned yet in the latter category was The Sea and Cake's The Fawn. And Chiastic Slide was like a trancendental experience I've never recovered from. (And no doubt helped me weather this arbitrary two-week period of mediocre cherry-picked releases.)
posted by mubba at 6:27 PM on August 11 [1 favorite]


@mubba Chiastic Slide is good (no Tri Repetae but what is) and I forgot about The Fawn too - I honestly didn't get into it until much later.
posted by sauril at 8:44 PM on August 11 [1 favorite]


Pizzicato 5's Happy End of the World was '97 too. It's no This Year's Girl, but it's still P5.
posted by juv3nal at 10:55 PM on August 11


1997 was a turning point in mainstream use of, for the lack of a better word, more "computery" electronic production (as opposed to the plain old hardware drum machines, synths, and samplers of 80s pop)

I'd argue Madonna's Ray of Light, released in early 1998 was the definitive turning point. Having Orbit on production duties was a stroke of genius.
posted by lmfsilva at 8:59 AM on August 12 [1 favorite]


1997 feh.

We have not yet found the bottom in 2017. John Mayer still tours and records.
posted by Sauce Trough at 3:54 PM on August 12 [1 favorite]


interchangeable rom-com jangle-pop
Counting Crows-esque simpering
mouth-breathing rap-metal

Awww, this makes 23-year-old me feel so validated
posted by obiwanwasabi at 8:54 PM on August 13


This is nonsense, The Great Milenko is far and away Insane Clown Posse's best album.
posted by Durhey at 11:17 AM on August 14


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