Best Musical Trends of 2011
Tell the world, rock is coming home
OK, Sexy Sax Man. Just 15 more minutes.
This year saw a wave of rock bands catching up to a new generation. We got Soundgarden touring again, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Blink-182 and even less renowned bands like Urge Overkill and Bush releasing new albums. After living up to its namesake for about a decade, Evanescence appeared out the ether, too.
Every pop star needs a 303
One thing I noticed in pop music is the revival of a distorted bassline resembling the Roland TB-303. Rihanna's "Where Have You Been" and LMFAO's "Sexy and I Know It" carried the signature sound of acid house. Now all that needs to happen is for today's electronic scene to rediscover its acid house roots.
An ironic nod to the '80s saxophone wave, artists of every genre employed a form of saxophone that fit their mood and style. If you wanted the shrieking solo in Katy Perry's "Last Friday Night" or a warm, smooth massage in Destroyer's "Kaputt," 2011 was your year.
It's now easier than ever to listen to new music...
For a time between 2009 and 2010, Lala was king of streaming music excepting YouTube videos with flashy lyrics and the possibility of being reported and taken off. When Lala was bought out and shut down by Apple last year, I worried I might have to rely on unreliable copycats to to get the satisfaction I got with Lala. I looked to news about Swedish music firm Spotify trying to find middle ground with the American music industry. This year, Spotify debuted in the US, and it's like Lala all over again. (For those who have Spotify, here's my playlist of favorite tracks from 2011.)
...and mix music for your friends
When describing the person who arranges music for parties, clubs and broadcast, I've always preferred the Anglo-Caribbean word "selector" over egotistical terms like disc jockey or mix master. You didn't make the tracks, you selected them. That said, selecting can be fun to do as a group. Sites like Turntable.fm and Rolling.fm make it easier for music fans to discover new music and share their musical tastes.
You can even make music on your iPad
2011 was not just a boon for selectors. This year, Apple released their popular recording and sequencing software GarageBand for the iPad and iPhone/iPod Touch. Also, iPad studio suites like Korg iMS-20 and ReBirth for iPad blew your dinky piano app out of the water. You could probably make an effortless Top 40 track for me to trash in "The Problem With..." in 10 minutes with all this neat software.