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 2

The decade's over after today. Here's the second half (part one linked at the end of the post) of what I listened to—and what personally made me tick—over the past 10 years.

2005: The blog I mentioned my friend and I started in 2004 became more of me ranting against Band Aid 20 and waxing on the merits of Green Day's American Idiot, and less about L.A.'s hot spots. So with 50 Cent dominating the airwaves in America, someone had to lament the lack of decent pop on U.S. airwaves. Thus, Chart Rigger was born that January.

My new iPod mini became my best friend, and made Sunday laps around the UCLA campus all the more enjoyable. My unhealthy obsession with buying import CD singles finally ended. Editors at Instinct changed. I went on a fun trip to Dallas.

Kelly Clarkson's "Since U Been Gone" became an anthem to be reckoned with. I saw Interpol, The Killers, Shiny Toy Guns, Franz Ferdinand, Keane, Green Day and Secret Machines live (plus about 20 other concerts I can't remember right now). A British friend got me into Sugababes. I flew to London and caught Jason Donovan and Sinitta perform at G-A-Y.

The last five minutes of the Six Feet Under finale were really sad. I had to go to court as a witness in a restraining order case. I didn't "get" the hype over Coldplay's X&Y, though I did love "Talk" (chalk it up to Kraftwerk?). Crazy Frog was fun trash. Who knew Saint Etienne would release their last studio album to date that summer?

Nobody read Chart Rigger that year. Until my formerly-jobless friend, who was now the editor of a local publication, wrote about my love/hate relationship with Mariah Carey. Oh, baby, baby, we belong together.

2006: I happened upon a blog called XO's Middle Eight, and a British guy named Paul began commenting on Chart Rigger. Adem, Don't Stop The Pop and Poster Girl entered the fray. Others seemed to come and go—what ever did happen to Pinkie, or Samuel from Hotstuff Files?

Watching videos on YouTube became a new hobby. In January I went away for a weekend, and upon my return two days later something called High School Musical had begun to dominate iTunes. I watched the entire Disney Channel movie—which someone had uploaded to YouTube in nine parts! Saint Etienne came to L.A. that February, and I interviewed Sarah Cracknell.

I couldn't wait for the new Pet Shop Boys album, but in the end found The Feeling's debut, Twelve Stops And Home, to be much more exciting. There was a road trip up to San Francisco to see Editors one weekend. I got drunk and went to bed before the band ever took the stage. I did, however, buy Pink's I'm Not Dead and eat really good dim sum on that trip.

MTV's 25th anniversary inspired the very first Chart Rigger banterview. Nelly Furtado's Loose was surprisingly amazing. Timbaland reinvented Justin Timberlake as pop's suave James Bond.

Take That's reunion felt like something that shouldn't have been a big deal to an American music fan. But it kind of was.

2007: I bought the first season of The X-Files on DVD and figured it would take the whole year to watch. I flew through all nine seasons between February and October.

OneRepublic's "Apologize" and Keri Hilson's "The Way I Are" off Timbaland's Shock Value album proved to be masterful pop. Someone contacted me about interviewing Dan Gillespie Sells, the Feeling's frontman. I went on a week-long trip to France.

Rihanna's "Umbrella" was mesmerizing at first, then super annoying after the 147th listen on radio. There seemed to be no love for the Scooch reunion. Robyn was everywhere, and I was admittedly skeptical at first. She did win me over in the end.

The Spice Girls reunion tour was way more fun than it should have been—though, two years later, I almost forgot I even went. I read both the Gary Barlow and Jason Donovan autobiographies.

On a trip back to Pittsburgh that Christmas, I remember playing Shayne Ward's Breathless while driving through the city.

2008: There was a week I spent in Italy in April 2008 which will probably remain as one of the top three experiences of my life. I ate a lot of gelato. The two songs I remember hearing the most during that trip were Madonna and Justin Timberlake's "4 Minutes" and Mariah Carey's "Touch My Body."

After six years and three months, I left Instinct. It just felt like it was time to go. The final interviews I did for the magazine before departing were Robyn, Michelle Williams and Leona Lewis. Meanwhile, I'd done a Chart Rigger post on Leona Lewis right before that which drew her fang-baring fans out by the droves. I loved it.

I was kind of obsessed with Chris Brown's "Forever." There was a shift at radio, and pop finally began to infiltrate the Top 10 again. After ten years, Britney Spears finally landed a second #1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100.

Unlike the rest of the masses, I never warmed to Girls Aloud. But the Saturdays' debut was pure pleasure. Cut Copy and Lady Gaga released albums I didn't fully get into until 2009. I couldn't believe it had been 15 years since Pet Shop Boys released Very.

The U.S. elected Barack Obama as President. I got in my car that night and just drove for two hours. I don't remember what I listened to on the ride.

2009: On February 5, two days before my birthday, I was let go from the job I'd taken seven months prior. It felt liberating. I was ready to be a recessionista.

That same day, the new Pet Shop Boys single "Love etc." leaked. It sounded pretty fresh compared to their previous 15 years of output. During my four months of not working, I worked on a script I'd started writing in 2005. Every day I'd drive to Westwood and sit in Starbucks, writing while listening to Lily Allen's It's Not Me, It's You and Cut Copy's In Ghost Colours.

In June, I finished the first draft of the script. The next day I got a really awesome full time freelance gig writing new content for the ABC network's website. Michael Jackson died. Three weeks later my dad died.

What else can you do but work? I finished the ABC job in late August, the same week one of my best friends got into a nasty motorcycle accident. The following week I started another freelance job for Universal Music Group. It was a lonely time. I listened to Owl City's Ocean Eyes a lot.

This year marked a full decade of living in Los Angeles for me. The iBook G4 I'd had since November 2004 finally kicked it. I replaced it with a new MacBook Pro. I started writing for Idolator. This Christmas was the first one I didn't fly back to Pennsylvania since living here.

I did, however, play Beatles Rock Band for the first time this week.

The decade is over in 12 more hours. I still don't have a grasp on what all went down since 1999. And, really, maybe no one does.

* One More Time: A Decade Of Mixed Emotions And Pop Albums, Pt. 1
* 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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  • At 3:52 PM, Blogger prettydoc said…

    Shout out from a Dallas fan. Your awesome post inspired me to make a little decade review of my own. I wish you a happy new year!

  • At 4:09 PM, Anonymous Shaun said…

    Happy New Year, Robbie. I remember stumbling upon this blog in 2005...hard to believe you've been a daily stop for over five years now. Without your musings, I would not be in a position to impress all my thirty-something friends with my insights on what the kids are and are not listening to. I know what you mean, by the way, about not understanding fully what happened this decade. I think it's been an eventful, trying, and challenging (somewhat in a good way) ten years for many of us. Have some fun tonight!

  • At 4:16 PM, Blogger Moogaboo said…

    Yep -- that's the decade in a nutshell, and what a nutty nutshell it was. SO MUCH happened. I think we came out of the 00's better than we started, though. I mean look at us, we're still so hot.

  • At 9:41 PM, Anonymous PopMuse said…

    happy new year! xoxo, JoJo

  • At 10:02 PM, Blogger rcLoy said…

    Happy New Year Robbie! I like the scruff, looking hot~ :D

  • At 8:51 AM, Blogger MrBrady said…

    Happy new year Robbie, and to one and all. Let's hope this decade starts off a bit better than the last one ended.

  • At 4:28 PM, Blogger D'luv said…

    Prettydoc, glad I could inspire you! I may actually be traveling that way again in the spring.

    Shaun, wow—it has been five years you've been coming by, hasn't it? Well, almost...end of January is the actual five-year anniversary ;)

    Moog, like a fine wine...

    PopMuse, you too!

    rcLoy, I know...I mean, thanks!

    Mr Brady, preach! I can't believe it's been over four years since I last saw you now :( To a meet-up somehow, somewhere in 2010 :)

  • At 1:15 PM, Anonymous numbfromdrugs said…

    honored to have been part of the genesis of chartrigger. even though i am referred to only as "jobless friend" hmmph!

  • At 7:15 AM, Blogger Maroussia said…

    It will be great to watch Pet Shop Boys, i have bought tickets from
    http://ticketfront.com/event/Pet_Shop_Boys-tickets looking forward to it.


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