Weeknotes #23

in weeknotes

  • I usually put the music stuff at the end but for the record (ouch), I wanted to note (stop, please) that Apple Music prominently displayed ‘stations’ when I checked the For You section on Monday. I’m not sure if this is a new feature or not. I had a cursory search but didn’t see anyone talking about it. My station is disturbingly perfect. A lot of it is admittedly songs that Apple should know I like but they sprinkle in new ones that I also found myself really enjoying. I guess Apple wrote a good algorithm and that’s… amazing?

  • On the topic of music, I was listening to a Shaun Mendes playlist (Spotify) on the weekend and it occurred to me that almost every song could have been on Justin Timberlake’s 2002 album Justified. Pop music has always called back to the past but this felt different. I’m probably lifting this wholesale from someone but it feels like this is a thing and a thing worthy of a name. The ‘eternal present’?

  • The eternal present is the sense that pop culture has stopped progressing. It’s why I can listen to an artist’s hits from the mid-2010s and think it wouldn’t have sounded out of place on an album that came out 15 years earlier. This isn’t the case for music from the 1990s. Or the 1980s. (Or the 1970s etc.) Same with TV and movies, right? The Avengers storyline in the MCU runs from 2008 to 2019 and there’s basically nothing in Iron Man that would have been out of place in Avengers: Endgame despite being more than a decade apart. Is fashion any different? Is there anything from 2005 that we look back at like we do at 1985?

  • Eri and I were talking about why this would be so and we concluded it’s the Internet’s fault (because of course it is). We figured there were two reasons for this.

  • First is the way that the Internet has eliminated the role of the gatekeeper. When you don’t have a small coterie of people deciding what is ‘current’, it’s a lot more difficult for trends to establish themselves. So while there is new ‘stuff’, there’s nobody in charge who can definitively tell us what’s ‘in’.

  • The second is the accessibility of media. When you can watch, read or listen to just about anything from any point in the past 60 years nothing new can ever have the same broad appeal as it did in the 20th Century. We think of Mad Men and Breaking Bad as being iconic shows from the 2000s but the number of people watching these shows is microscopic compared to run fo the mill TV programmes from the 20th Century.

  • Well, that went on for longer than I intended. I had also planned to spend some time writing about my relationship to Björk but that’ll have to wait til next week. In the meantime, here is ‘Hidden Place’, the opening song from her 2001 album, Vespertine (Apple Music). Could have come out yesterday.

Michael Camilleri @pyrmont