Monday, July 02, 2007

Summer of 1997

Maybe I'm sick of reading about the nostalgia of "The Summer of '67" from, but it looks like I'm not the only one. The New York Times ran a similar story in Sunday's July 1 story - saying that 1997 deserves some celebration was well for its tunes

True, 1967, we had a lot of upheaval.
Civil rights struggles
An unpopular war (oh wait, we have that now)
Counterculture eruptions

But 1997 may turn out to be Gen X's so called "summer of love" - though an argument can be made with 1991 (with the rise with Nirvana and rap pretty much putting a nail in the coffin of detractors who kept calling it a "fad"). But just take a look at the Village Voice's list of best material released that year and you've got an amazing list...

Not one, not two, but basically three landmark releases:
  • OK Computer - for being OK Computer - pretty much the standard bearer for all albums that strive for greatness. While folks in the 60s and 70s were saying "We're trying to make our Sergent Peppers", kids nowadays are saying "We're trying to make our OK Computer."
  • We saw an artist who may had written off as a "has been" turn out one of his best works with Time Out of Mind and as a result, continue to ride a wave of momentum that has resulted in nearly a full decade of critical acclaim, with his next two albums topping The Village Voice's Pazz and Jop poll (though something can be said that last year's Modern Times was more out of sentimental reasons than having that album be a stone-cold classic).
  • The hip-hop community struggled to come to grips with the tragic loss of Biggie Smalls, who then ruled the summer airwaves with his Life After Death CD.
  • So what if electronica never made it in the US - that year, The Chemical Brothers gave us a jaw-dropping, genre-defining album with Dig Your Own Hole -
  • And the indie/alternative community could rejoice by seeing the release of these three albums:
    Yo La Tengo's I Can Feel The Heart Beating as One
Bjork's Homogenic

Sleater-Kinney's Dig Me Out

In their own way, all of these albums could have bragging rights for "album of the year" (still, OK Computer wins out).

But while the baby boomers are rightly reveling in their nostalgia for 1967 (I can't get totally bitter since that's the same year that The Velvet Underground and Nico came out), I think Gen X (and at that point, very early Gen Y) deserve a collective pat on the back for 1997.

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home