My Surefire Predictions For The Future
Like clockwork, the decade 20 years past is retrieved from the dustbin of history and embraced, semi-ironically, as a totem of wet-eyed nostalgia for those who survived it and a gauche treasure chest of kitschy exotica for those too young to have actually experienced it.
In the ’70s, it was the ’50s, with Happy Days and oldies sock-hops. In the ’80s, it was the ’60s, with The Big Chill and hipsters sporting paisley shirts and love beads. In the ’90s, it was the ’70s, with That ’70s Show, disco nostalgia and the return of the bellbottom. Currently, we are reviving the ’80s, the decade when pants were small and hair was big. God help us. Please.
The ’90s revival is looming, and when it’s discovered that the ’90s were really the ’70s, the shit is really going to hit the fan. Pop culture’s Wayback Machine will accelerate into hyperdrive. Soon we’ll become nostalgic for last year, then last month, then last week and then five minutes ago — until we become nostalgic for the present.
This will cause a cataclysmic disruption in the space-time continuum that will trigger the apocalypse. Dark clouds will loom on the horizon and a ghostly wind will blow across the earth. There will be fire and floods and famine and a black female Republican in the White House.
Suddenly, the four horsemen will appear in the distance. They’ll be four impeccably groomed gay men and they’ll make fun of your clothing, haircut and tastes in interior decorating. And that’s how it will end — not with a bang or a whimper, but a makeover. And then the future will begin.
Here’s what you can expect:
IN THE FUTURE EVERYONE WILL BE ANONYMOUS FOR 15 MINUTES.
Thanks to affordable home recording and CD-burning equipment and the DIY ethic getting way out of control, we will all be pop stars. And nobody will care. The demographic math of fame will invert itself.
Instead of a select few achieving pop royalty and reveling in the adulation of the masses, millions will be famous and a select few will envy and emulate them — probably just your girlfriend and your mother. But even that is not a given; your mother might also be a pop star and far too busy with her own career to care about yours. Her name is Madonna.
IN THE FUTURE, HEAVY METAL WILL BE NICE.
Forsaking the dark side of drug abuse, degeneracy and the devil, future legions of metalheads will release albums of super-lovey-dovey songs of love and hope with keening harmonies and jangling guitars.
Think the Beach Boys with mullets and AC/DC T-shirts giving the two-fingered devil horn salute. Wouldn’t it be nice?
IN THE FUTURE, WHITE WILL BE THE NEW BLACK.
White people will be the only ones making rap music — and it will sound like Barenaked Ladies. Expect WXPN to switch to an all-rap format. Looking to turn the tables on white people for co-opting their music, the likes of 50 Cent and Beanie Sigel (having long since been released from prison) will dress in matching V-neck sweaters, strum acoustic guitars and sing goofy early-’60s folk songs in the tradition of A Mighty Wind. And it will be the shizzle.
IN THE FUTURE, ONLY ROCK CRITICS WILL PAY FOR MUSIC.
Despite increasingly heavy-handed tactics by the RIAA against illegal music downloading — think SWAT teams kicking down the bedroom doors of 12-year-old file sharers — online trading of music will continue to thrive, rendering the market value of recorded music to a zero sum.
Rock critics, being a reactionary lot — witness their fetishization of vinyl and album art you can hold in your hands — will insist on forking over cold cash for music, just, you know, for old times’ sake.
IN THE FUTURE, INDIE ROCK WILL FILL STADIUMS …
… with aged hipsters that have long since given up on music and redirected their record-buying money into NFL season tickets. The inability of anybody over the age of 22 to grasp what the big frickin’ deal is with Dashboard Confessional will be remembered as the tipping point that turned music consumers into rabid sports fans.
IN THE FUTURE, 1966 WILL STILL BE REMEMBERED AS THE COOLEST YEAR IN ROCK.
If you don’t know what I’m talking about, do your homework.
IN THE FUTURE, BRITNEY SPEARS WILL BE CONSIDERED AVANT GARDE …
… by jaded twentysomething hipsters in Williamsburg looking for the next hopelessly uncool thing to render impossibly cool, having finally figured out that electroclash, like, actually sucks.
IN THE FUTURE, PEOPLE WILL FINALLY FIGURE OUT THAT MTV IS THE MATRIX.
Think about it.
IN THE FUTURE, BOB DYLAN WILL STILL BE ON TOUR.
Until the day he’s caught in a downpour at an outdoor concert and starts to vibrate, wheeze and sputter incomprehensibly. At first, everyone in the audience will mistake this for yet another “genius” reworking of his back catalog — until smoke comes out his ears and sparks shoot out his nose. And then, like that scene in Westworld, his face will fall away to reveal a shocking cyborg mask of wires and circuit boards. The crowd will go wild.
IN THE FUTURE, MILLIONS NOW LIVING WILL BE DEAD — EXCEPT FOR KEITH RICHARDS.