We never know we’re living through history as it happens. For example, if we’re trying to assess what happened in a particular decade, we can’t really do it justice if we attempt to analyze things day to day…you need a break, a little time for things to settle into place when it comes to the grand scheme of things.
Take the 60s, for example. This will sound a bit weird at first, but they didn’t end when the calendar flipped over to January 1, 1970. Decades have momentum—sometimes a hangover—that carries things forward for a year or two or even three afterwards.
Let’s examine that. The 50s carried on until probably 1963. It took the assassination of JFK to really kick off the new decade. Historians have made convincing arguments that the 60s didn’t end until 1972-ish. The 70s may have ended relatively on time, brought about by things like the death of disco, a terrible recession, the election of Ronald Reagan, and other markers that said the “me decade” of 70s were done.
I’d say that the 80s ended by the end of 1991, thanks to the first gulf war, another awful recession, and a wholesale sea change in music as we quickly transitioned from a world awash in hair metal to the new alternative generation. Then I’d put the end of the 90s in 2001. Buried by 9/11 and the retaliation that followed, the rise of the internet, the bursting of the dot-com bubble, and the end of the traditional music industry, the introduction of the iPod.
The Aughts? That’s another decade that I feel ended on time. So much came to a screaming halt with the financial crisis—the great recession in 2008—and by the time the clouds parted about two years later, we were done with that decade.
This leaves us at the dawn of the 2010s which was one of the few decades that started right on time. And for the next 10 years, we saw everything from prosperous economic growth to the rise of authoritarianism. And technology? Wow. The 2010s saw more people get into tech and gadgets than at any time in history: smart phones, the explosion of social media, cord-cutting.
Which brings us to music. When we look back on that decade, what happened? What did we learn? And how were trends and styles and consumption different than earlier decades?
Let’s find out This is the history of the 2010s, part 1.
Songs heard on this show:
- Muse, Uprising
- Skrillex, Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites
- Greta Van Fleet, Highway Tune
- Twenty One Pilots, Blurryface
- Foo Fighters, Everlong
- Royal Blood, Figured It Out
- Jack White, Lazaretto
- Radiohead, Lotus Flower
- Interrupters, She’s Kerosene
Here’s Eric Wilhite’s playlist.
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