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Because I’m Older and Know What I’m Talking About

By Staff | Apr 8, 2008

Here’s a thought. “The Moon in Antarctica” by Modest Mouse has been out for eight years. Is it no more significant than Neutral Milk Hotel’s “Aeroplane over the Sea” I read about on Pitchfork?

“The Lonesome Crowded West” by Modest Mouse, one of their greatest and most influential albums in my book, is 10 years old yet I haven’t seen one article about it. Is it that the culture has no real importance barometer, and that just based on a whim albums are chosen for such high praise?

Albums like these that haven’t passed as much time between now and its release or even albums that have passed the same amount of time are not getting the same recognition. However, it seems they are all deserving of it.

But, I mean who really cares that it’s been 10 years since the “Aeroplane over the Sea?” Is Jeff Mangum more of a genius? And does it mean that just because it hadn’t occurred to someone that he is a genius in the past 10 years that the album wasn’t significant before? Does it mean that great albums before turning 10 years old the group must not really cut the mustard in terms of a significant place in art? I mean the whole thing is so masturbatory anyway; trying to make everything larger than life.

Nevertheless, if I’ve learned anything since entering the real world is that sometimes you have to play the game, and while I’m playing it, it might as well be fair. I mean really if we’re going to include Jeff Mangum and his band of hotel members well let’s just start a list of albums in the last 10 years that have really made a difference. I mean think of it, in 1997/early 1998 Third Eye Blind was top of the pops. (Not to put down Third Eye Blind … I really do enjoy most of their songs quite a bit).

Albums like

1.) Radiohead “OK Computer”

2.) Modest Mouse “Lonesome Crowded West”

3.) Ben Folds Five “Whatever and Ever Amen”

4.) Blur “Blur”

5.) Elliott Smith “Either/Or”

6.) The Verve “Urban Hymns”

7.) Grandaddy “Under the Western Freeway”

All turned 10 this past year and yet I didn’t notice any renewed interest in these groundbreaking albums.

However, I don’t want to give the impression that I’m trying to create a 1997 canon, which would ultimately be impossible.

This is mostly impossible because there were so many different albums that turned 10 years old that are pretty significant. How do we decide which to chose? Is it that Neutral Milk Hotel is more obscure and their greatness less well known; highly doubtful considering the rise of “independent” music media such as Pitchfork and their assimilation into pop culture. “OK Computer,” one of the most influential albums of the ’90s didn’t get much of a write up in the major news media.

A culture so interested in the passage of time that we forget that sometimes the greatest achievements aren’t really that great only 10 years later. But what’s someone to do? I mean if you don’t talk about it, well it seems like we all might miss out on being the first to proclaim something as a classic and God forbid that happens.

It’s like having a ’90s party, it’s like ’80s night. Those decades are so fresh in everyone’s mind it seems we still act like they weren’t that long ago. I’m sure our parents didn’t have ’60s parties in 1982.

But that’s what’s happening, one giant push to start remembering before we all forget. I can still remember when it took an hour to download a picture on AOL, I remember when I used to “save up” to buy albums but does that mean we have to milk it for the sake of having something to say? Is it funny that we remember these things or is it sad that it’s all we can remember? Maybe I’m just getting old at an accelerated rate, I watched “Men in Black” last night and realized how not real everything looked. It’s like Ferris said, “life does go fast,” it’s just I didn’t expect it to go this fast.


Contact Ben at bmoffat@graffitiwv.com