We resume our extended nostalgia-bit with a revisit of the year 2000, courtesy of Richard Wink… we’ll be travelling forwards in time over the coming days after zipping back, so keep your mice peeled or whatnot.
The Marshall Mathers LP helped me pass my GCSEs. I remember sitting in the exam hall during a Maths exam and the lyrics to ‘Who Knew’ kept rolling through my head– “I don’t do black music, I don’t do white music / I make fight music, for high school kids/I put lives at risk when I drive like this/I put wives at risk with a knife like this”. What? You didn’t expect me to be listening to Kid A, did you?
Looking back to 2000 reminds me just how bad my music taste was back then, and it got much worse. As a metalhead I was getting bored of listening to Metallica and Pantera, I was too young to have been around to witness live my other favourites Nirvana, Soundgarden and Alice in Chains, I wanted rock that spoke to my generation, bands that I could call my own and in a sense I got it.
I remember watching MTV2 and seeing this crazy video with ninjas, rapping and angsty screaming. It was Linkin Park’s ‘One Step Closer’ and it opened a door to the world of Nu-Metal, the perfect soundtrack for a moody sixteen year old. As an antidote to the popular placid records of that time, the likes of Moby’s Play, Travis’ The Man Who and Craig David’s Born to Do It, and the influx of girly garbage from the States – Britney, Christina, and Jessica all paraded themselves about, mutton dressed as lamb. Something a little bit loud and shouty, obnoxious and dare I say dangerous (for a kid from the suburbs) was actually a pleasant alternative in the stale mainstream.
Unfortunately a clothing accessory signified the arrival of a rather unsightly monstrosity; no I’m not talking about the hot pants that showcased Kylie’s pert bottom from her celebrated comeback ‘Spinning Around’. I’m referring to the red baseball cap, and the man who wore it, the flag bearer for Nu-Metal - Mr Fred Durst. The grunting man-chimp stomped around the stage urging us to keep on ‘Rollin’’. Durst represented everything that was wrong with Nu-Metal. The misplaced aggression, the objectification of women and the horrific rhymes that made Vanilla Ice seem like a skilled lyricist in comparison.
Thankfully my taste improved deep into winter, and again music on television pointed me into credible waters. No, not MTV but the appearance of ‘He’s Simple, He’s Dumb, He’s the Pilot’ on series two of Trigger Happy TV caused me to checkout Grandaddy’s The Sophtware Slump. A terrestrial showing of the Affleck/Damon-written sapfest Good Will Hunting inadvertently led me to devour Elliott Smith’s Figure 8.
See this was before the likes of Musosguide.com, Drowned in Sound and Pitchfork. I was still listening to John Peel on the radio for new music, but evidently a lot was going over my head. Kerrang and the NME were scanned weekly, a highly rated album usually got purchased (and not illegally downloaded!) and this me led to some worthwhile releases such as Deftones’ White Pony, At the Drive-In’s Relationship of Command and OutKast’s Stankonia.