It’s inevitable, really, given the size of our puny human brains, that we should attempt to break things down, create boundaries and defining divides, impose the illusion of structure upon the chaotic world that we inhabit. Nostalgically we look back across the years, and assume that, with the release of the last Beatles record and the turn of the decade, the sixties came to a crashing halt, and people awoke into a new world filled with flares, spacehoppers, and Elton John.
And so we also like to imagine an increased significance on events that take place as our temporal structures come to an end, or begin anew. While we were all partying like it was 1999, the Flaming Lips dropped their masterpiece, The Soft Bulletin, which would go on to become a bona fide document of the time. It was a record that was so full of unspoken hope and promise for the future, an album that allowed us to metaphorically lift up the sun and look forward to the new millennium, and a changed world. And then, as we arrived there, Radiohead slapped us all around the face with Kid A, reminding us that nothing had changed after all. Everything was in it’s right place, but that’s not necessarily where we wanted it to be. Both these albums come with increased historical significance, perhaps by fortune, perhaps by design, because of their release at times when we look back and demand some sort of definition. Pre-millennial hope followed by post-millennial depression. And as we come to a close of the first decade of the new millennium, enter The Twilight Sad. (more…)