Ah, the holidays.
Tis the season for giving, receiving and the ubiquitous ‘Best of’ lists. The infamous ‘Best Of’ list is supposed to be a wrap up to remind us of the important and trivial events of the year, perhaps to let us glimpse just how far we’ve come. Or regressed…
As the Christmas shopping season begins earlier and earlier, the magazines, newspapers and blogs start cluttering our collective unconscious with their top ten lists. Some are critics and well studied on their subjects. Others just think we give a shit about a list of a few of their favorite things.
When faced with the task of creating a list like this, I looked for topics. My favorite live shows? I went to some great ones, but I’m sure I missed some great ones too. Best albums? No matter what I list, there will be some obscure indie hipster fave who will get left off. Best current events? I think most Americans would agree on the number one, and not really want to rank the others. Best personal events and triumphs? What the fuck is this? My diary?
The past is past. The future is where it’s at. Why focus on 2008, when we are at the doors of 2009? But how does one do a year end list for the events that have yet to happen? Clearly I’d need some clairvoyant help. I decided to enlist the help of famous Hollywood telepath, Psychic Girl. But what do you ask the girl who knows everything? What would my fellow music denizens really want to know about? If you could ask a psychic one question about music, what would it be? I polled a few of my friends…
Some people wanted to know about their favorite artists who have crossed over to the other side. Many asked after John Lennon and Freddie Mercury, raising a virtual 40 oz in their honor.
Rock writer and author of Cherry Bomb, Carrie Bozillo-Vrenna wanted to know “Who killed Kurt”?, as did fellow rock journo Rob Tannenbaum of Blender magazine. Obviously, there are many who still mourn the man and the mystery of his death.
Conversely, Alex Greenberg, of MSO PR, wanted to know who did in Biggie and Tupac, as well as: “Did Mama Cass really choke on a ham sandwich?” If so, that’s a crappy last meal.
Dan Lavery, of The Fray, would raise the dead in order to ask Beethoven the identity of his “Immortal Beloved”. Ah, Dan, don’t musicians hate revealing their muses? Otherwise, the men that have written songs about me would be more forthcoming about it.
Carrie also wanted to know who Carly Simon wrote “You’re So Vain” about. I’ve always thought it was about Warren Beatty though she denies it. Who else but Beatty would ‘gavotte’ in a ‘scarf that was apricot’?
Kevin Bronson of Buzz Bands wanted to plan the ultimate dinner party: “What would Noel Gallagher, Axl Rose and Billy Corgan say to each other over dinner?” And who would survive that meeting of rock trinity?
Eddie of Art Brut wanted another music mystery solved: “Where did Jonathan Richman bury the album he made with Phil Spector?” Good question…and are there bodies Phil has buried near by?
The Von Bondies‘ Jason and Don, asked questions that were a bit more existential. Jason wanted to know “Will rock n roll ever die?” I naturally told him it wouldn’t as long as the Bondies kept making music. Don, however, wanted to know “Do my drums like it when I hit them?” Don is special.
For those not wanting to communicate with specters or Spector, wanted a glimpse of the state of the future music industry. Would it remain the same? Improve? Can the industry fix itself? Should those of us, who toil in the world of tunes, stick with it? Or get the hell out?
Time to bring in the expert. With the holiday party season in full swing, a meeting in person was impossible, but Psychic Girl Justine Kenzer assures me a phone session would be just as telling.
When I begain asking questions about music in 09, Justine tells me the story about her American Idol predictions a few years back. When asked on the record who would be the big winner between Chris Daughtry, Katherine McPhee and Taylor Hicks, Kenzer chose Daughtry which seemed like a safe bet. Of course most of the country was surprised when he was eliminated early. There were some that doubted her veracity…however, time proved that Kenzer was right… though Hicks won the tv show/contest, at the end of the year, it was Daughtry who was the year’s ‘big winner’ with a hit album that left the others in the dust. It’s a small senamtics distinction, but an important one…how I phrase the question would affect my answer.
I first ask about the music industry…would it survive? Kenzer answers that it looked to be more of the same. Which is to be expected. Labels need to find different avenues to get their artists out there, be it by internet, TV placement or other innovated ways. With radio’s power waning, people will flood the web and alternative outlets to be heard. Kenzer also commented on the over saturation of the market. With more and more bands becoming savvy to myspace, you tube and the likes, it becomes harder and harder for a band to break through. This seems to be prevalent in 09 as well.
I ask about Grunge. With new baby bands like the Yelling and Dead Confederate spreading their teen spirit, will plaid and Seattle come back in vogue? Unfortunately to my grunge loving ways, Kenzer doesn’t see this as a big trend.
Though the singer/songwriter “Hotel Cafe” type music will continue to grow rapidly. Good news for many of my troubadour friends. As for other genres,
–Hip Hop, which has dominated for years, will still be around, but in a bit of a decline.
–Celebrity DJs will still steal the spotlight from their hardworking vinyl scratching friends, but serato will never kill of the art of turntablism. Thank god.
–Pop music will always have a place in music’s heart, even if some of it is more like a pulmonary aneurism.
I wanted to test the waters with some specifics, so I named some 2008 movers and shakers off the top of my head,to see if their wattage will continue in the new year.
–Katy Perry will continue to strrrrretch her one hit wonder career into a nice little cushion, when she expands her fan base overseas.
–MGMT fever will be under control next year…taking only what they needed from us already.
–Kings Of Leon will continue to get radio play and remained an established rock act.
–Radiohead will not treat us to another album just yet. Kenzer sees a turmoil or heaviness surrounding the group, but that could be the theme of almost every song they’re written.
–Kanye West will continue to have a great influence on music. Though I love his outspokenness the same way one loves a jester, I still think he’s overrated – an R. Kelly with an effects pedal. Apparently both the public, and the stars think I’m wrong.
–Coldplay, who may be winding down their current collaboration, will remain on top, though the pending plagiarism law suit with Joe Satriani will not go away. Is there some validity to Joe’s claim? Perhaps. The controversy will put some of their reputation in jeopardy, but won’t affect sales. Good news for Apple and Moses.
My final music question was about my beloved Blur. Were the new rehearsals going well? Can Damon and Graham keep it together and keep on keeping on? Is there a Coachella Blur set in our future? Not as of yet, says Kenzer, but that could change in the near future.
A tiny bit of possible Tender-ness. A small glimmer of hope for 2009. What else could one want? Oh, and yes, apparently that special man will finally win me over next year.
Dear Diary, looks like 2009 will be superfine.
If you’d like to schedule a reading, you can contact Psychic Girl at www.psychicgirl.com