As the first decade of the 21st century draws to a close, there have been so many changes in music it's hard to keep track of it all. In this spirit, Pitchfork will, starting next week, be launching a series of articles looking back at how the past ten years have shaped the sounds we listen to.
Despite P-Fork's often annoying elitism, this series may manage to be quite fascinating. In particular Eric Harvey's contribution on "the social history of the mp3," and Nitsuh Abebe on "the mainstreaming of indie."
Of course, here at RF, you will also be able to look back at these changes (though admittedly not until closer to the new year, and from a perspective that is in many ways sharper). Overall, the past ten years represent a fracturing of the mainstream in both a socio-political context, and a cultural one. In short, the same old crap handed down to us from the establishment simply hasn't cut it over the past decade--from the botched war in Iraq to the recent economic meltdown to the seemingly irreversible crisis in the major labels. In response, we've seen some magnificent flashes of ordinary folks simply creating their own culture--from the immigrant uprising to the unstoppability of peer-to-peer and hip-hop's big bounceback.
There's a lot to consider when thinking back on the past decade. And if the past can't help but shape the future, then it seems clear that there will be a lot to look forward to.