dispatches from the pop scene...minus the corn syrup.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

One More Time: A Decade Of Mixed Emotions And Pop Albums, Part 1

The decade's over in a day. Here's the first half of what I listened to—and what personally made me tick—over the past 10 years.

2000: This was the year I spent practically every Saturday morning/ afternoon rollerblading at Santa Monica Beach with my discman (!) shoved in the pocket of my Capri pants (!!). I once played *NSync's "Bye Bye Bye" on repeat for three hours while zipping up and down the boardwalk. I also blasted Britney Spears' Oops!...I Did It Again on the way to see Aimee Mann in concert.

Other random things from that year: I took an acting class. I took a creative writing class. I bought my first cell phone. I worked as an assistant at Summit Entertainment—and when all the bosses were in Cannes that May, I converted the PAL VHS of the British Queer As Folk that I found on a former employee's desk to NTSC in the conference room. (It took two full days.)

By December, I'd reconnected with a long lost college friend, who was also randomly living in Los Angeles. I was financially and emotionally broke after my first full year living 2,500 miles from home, and had planned to move back to Pennsylvania in the new year. Steps' third album Buzz was the soundtrack to that December. You'll be so sorry.

2001: I had the CD single (remember those?) for A*Teens' "Bouncing Off The Ceiling (Upside Down)" and played it over and over one day that January on the way to this Italian restaurant called Goodfellas on Melrose Avenue. There was a waiter there I'd had a crush on since the prior summer, and we always had some good conversations. My friends convinced me to slip him my number on a napkin. So I did. He never called.

I read a lot of books in 2001. A co-worker got Julia Phillips to sign my ratty copy of You'll Never Eat Lunch In This Town Again. She died six months later. Another friend of a friend of Bret Easton Ellis secretly had him sign my first edition copy of The Rules Of Attraction. It was my favorite book at the time, which shows you where my head was at.

ATC's "Around The World (La La La La La)" was always on somewhere in the background that spring. I didn't realize it would be the last true Eurodance single to cross over in the States. I went out to bars and clubs practically every weekend—pretty much the last year I would do so.

I didn't have a computer at home, so I bought a stereo that had a CD burner built into it. Daft Punk's Discovery was my personal favorite album of the year. I sat down to watch the news the morning of September 11 and ended up in front of the television for hours. I never did call in to say I wouldn't be coming to work that day.

And, needless to say, I never did move back to Pennsylvania that year.

2002: Technically, Cher's Living Proof and Kylie Minogue's Fever were released in late 2001 in Europe. And thanks to my pal Moogaboo, I had imports of both in my mitts upon their release.

That said, I played those CDs constantly in 2002. This was the year I left E! and went to work at Instinct. Natalie Imbruglia's White Lilies Island and Michelle Branch's The Spirit Room were in heavy rotation that spring, and Saint Etienne's Finisterre capped off the fall.

I housesat for a co-worker that August and just happened to flip on the TV and see Kelly Clarkson become the winner of some cheesefest called American Idol.

I felt sad a lot. And there was way too much rap on the radio.

2003: Music really kind of sucked in 2003. Beyonce's "Crazy In Love" was okay, I guess. I think I tried to force myself to like Fast Food Rockers' "The Fast Food Song." (The follow-up, "Say Cheese!", was far better.) And didn't some lame pop-punk band cover "The Boys Of Summer"?

Annie Lennox's Bare was depressing. I remember being in Las Vegas in July 2003 and playing that CD in the car. I kept wondering why there wasn't anything like "Walking On Broken Glass" or "No More 'I Love You's'" on it. I saw Mamma Mia! on that trip and thought the plot was pretty flimsy.

I visited Europe for the first time that November, and sat in a Japanese restaurant in the Canary Islands when I suddenly remembered that it was Thanksgiving back in the States.

2004: It made me feel old to realize it'd been 10 years since Kurt Cobain had died. I read Charles R. Cross' Heavier Than Heaven: A Biography Of Kurt Cobain that spring. It made me sad. Adding fuel to that was the fact that a good friend who started working at Instinct the same day I did two years prior quit in April. Things were shifting.

My jobless friend called me up while temping one day and said we should start a blog. So we did. We set about writing from the perspective of two Los Angelenos who regularly went out on the town and reported on the hip, happening goings-on in the city. There was just one problem: I was a total homebody at this point.

I was heavily into taking Polaroid pictures. I saw some band called the Killers open for Morrissey that May. I bought Hot Fuss at the now-deceased Virgin Megastore on Sunset Boulevard one Friday night that June, and played it the next morning while reading Clay's Way by Blair Mastbaum in the bathtub.

The 2004 election was a real fuck-over moment. On a flight to New York, I wanted to kill myself when the pilot announced that John Kerry had conceded. But instead I played Interpol's "Not Even Jail" on repeat for about two hours.

The night I first heard Gwen Stefani's Love.Angel.Music.Baby album, I was dragged two hours into the desert by a friend who made me go see the Eagles Of Death Metal play at some hick bar.

said it best with "Everybody's Changing." And I don't feel the same.

* One More Time: A Decade Of Mixed Emotions And Pop Albums, Pt. 2
* The 10 Best Pop Singles Of 2009
* The 10 Worst Singles Of 2009
* The Top 40 Pop Singles Of The '00s
* The Best Pop Singles Of 2008
* The Best Pop Singles Of 2007
* The Best Pop Singles Of 2006
* The Best Pop Singles Of 2005

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