The music of 2009-2011 has an aesthetic that’s stuck with me. It had the pallet and timbre of the 80’s mixed with the daring to be weird of the 90’s. It had relentless positivity despite clear undertones of sadness and despair. It was an era of mixed feelings. Our faith in the American economic system was being questioned by the Great Recession. We were beginning to accept the reality of endless war in the Middle East. At the same time, the optimism of the beginning of the Obama administration was still going strong. Smart phones had just been invented and they were amazing to us. The internet had just come into maturity and for the first time in history, the world was connected. It was the beginning of the modern era.
At this time, I was living in an apartment in Athens, Georgia studying economics at UGA. It was a challenging time to come into adulthood. The recession delayed my independence quite a bit because the job market was completely dead. The realization that the system can come crashing down gave me a complex that’s shared by many people my age. We have a strong desire to commit to and be part of the world, but something holds us back. The result was a lot of awkard sounding dance music.
Here are some tracks that to me define the spirit of 2009-2011:
Ariel Pink – Round and Round
Pick up the phone!
The Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Zero
Was it the cure? Hope not.
Arcade Fire – Sprawl II
On the surface the city lights shine. They’re screaming at us we don’t need your kind.
Fever Ray – When I Grow Up
Staring at the seashell waiting for it to embrace me.
Twin Sister – All Around and Away We Go
I’m smiling for two.
Cults – Go Outside
I know what’s good exactly cause I have been there before.
Beach House – Walk in the Park
In a matter of time, it would slip from my mind. In and out of my life, you would slip from my mind.
PJ Harvey – The Last Living Rose
Let me walk through the stinking alleys to the music of drunken beatings.
Washed Out – Eyes Be Closed
Feel the wave form now, ride the foam. See the world clearly now.
Miami Horror – I Look to You
The future we’ve found to stay here on high ground.