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How the other half listens

posted by Jason Kottke   Jun 29, 2002

I’ve been watching MTV and listening to some top 40 on iTunes for the past couple of days. I shouldn’t be surprised by this, but the music sounds exactly like it did when I was in college. The fashion is up-to-date and the band names are different (Avril Lavigne is a present-day Alanis Morissette), but the sounds seem like they’re coming from tribute bands. And don’t even get me started on rap and R&B…talk about stagnant, nothing new there for years.

To its credit (and great advantage), despite its derivative nature, today’s pop music is still incredibly addictive…I just can’t get some of them out of my head. When I went to do the dishes yesterday, they “looked like a job for me” rather than just a simple chore. Thanks pop music, you make life more fun and manageable!

Reader comments

jJul 01, 2002 at 6:06PM

nothing new in rap and r&b since Lauryn Hill was sane…sigh…

Peter CooperJul 01, 2002 at 6:25PM

*ba-da-buhm* I wouldn’t usually comment, but those were the two worst music related puns I’ve ever read ;-)

Dave NatJul 01, 2002 at 9:19PM

Nothing new in Rap and R&B for years? Pop R&B has been mostly stagnant, sure, but what about Wyclef, N.E.R.D., Nappy Roots, Jurassic 5, OutKast?

roelJul 03, 2002 at 10:24PM

It’s a bit of a late comment, but did you ever listen to Mos Def’s “Black on both Sides”? I could come up with more, but that one is one of the more popular worthwhile rap cd’s of the last couple of years. Maybe you should give it a try.
http://www.oxy.edu/~thepaper/archive/issue991029/stories/mosdef.htm

tomasJul 10, 2002 at 1:53PM

I don’t have time to put as much time into this response as I’d like, but there’s plenty of spectacular rap music coming out right now, and even some good r&b.

In rap, I’d recommend pretty much anything coming out on the Definitive Jux label, especially Cannibal Ox, Mr. Lif, El-P and Aesop Rock. Although I can’t speak for their previous albums, the Antipop Consortium’s latest record is excellent. Oh and if you haven’t heard Quasimoto’s “The Unseen” or MF Doom’s “Operation:Doomsday”, both from a couple years ago, you’re missing out. I second Dave Nat’s recommendation of Outkast.

Commercial rap and r&b is definitely more of a mixed bag, but I’d recommend checking out anything produced by Tim “Timbaland” Mosely (Missy Elliot, Tweet) or the Neptunes a.k.a. N*E*R*D. I also like Destiny’s Child a whole lot.

This thread is closed to new comments. Thanks to everyone who responded.

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