I mentioned last year that it seemed like 1975, that dead musical year before punk woke everything up. So where is the new punk? I'm still waiting. When I look at the new-release CDs I've bought, borrowed or hired this year, they all turn out to be old material repackaged, or previously unreleased nuggets. Even the new genres have a retro feel to them - Nu-Metal, Nu-Soul; Nu-Bluegrass for all I know. I've been enjoying the new Detroit bands like the Von Bondies, the Detroit Cobras and especially the White Stripes, but these also seem to be re-inventing the sixties. Perhaps old is the new new? The prevalent dance/DJ culture seem to be stifling other forms of music, much as disco did for soul music in the seventies. It has been a good year for Kylie. I can't get Can't Get You Out Of My Head out of my head.
Catatonia, a band I followed from the start, split up this year. They seemed to lose direction as soon as they found success, a failure probably engendered by short-sighted record company pressures. Perhaps Melys, a Welsh band following in their wake, will not go the same way as they have formed their own independent label. Elastica also ceased to be in 2001, having made one of the finest albums of the decade.
Saddest of all were the deaths of both John Walters, John Peel's former producer who did a huge amount for the music world and also managed to bring the relatively intellectual field of modern and performance art to Radio One, no mean feat, and George Harrison, without whom world music would probably not exist in its current form, following his exploration of the sitar and Eastern culture, and who also re-awakened King Arthur in the mind of the populace through his investment in Monty Python And The Holy Grail.
For those of you still keeping records, my CD library now has nearly 19,000 song titles, whilst my MiniDisc collection stands at 15,000. I completed the archiving of my reggae collection, which has expanded thanks to Mark Lamarr's excellent Beginner's Guide To Reggae on Radio 2. I also recommend Radio 3's Late Junction, a programme with no musical boundaries, especially when put together by Verity Sharp, my nomination in the recent Radio Times poll for most attractively-voiced presenter. I also voted in the Festive Fifty this year. My nominations were the Detroit Cobras/Shout Bamalama, White Stripes/Fell In Love With A Girl and Melys/Chinese Whispers - lets see how they do when the new chart is broadcast by John Peel (December 25-27th).
Last updated 10 June 2005