Thursday, November 18, 2010

Charting The Decline Then Rise Then Decline Again

It’s odd, but appreciated, that an old song like “Gimme Shelter” can experience a cycle of rebirth prompted by the beginning of The Departed. For every revival, there is a re-laming, e.g. with this:

The combination of overly dramatic music with a video game lames up the apocalyptic excess of “Gimme Shelter,” (IIRC, CBS once promoted one of its CSI spinoffs using the song, which is probably the better “ugh, so overused” moment) so one hopes enough is enough with the use of the song to liven up any situation balanced on the edge of paranoid terror.

It’s kind of incredible, come to think of it, that a somewhat old song can go through the “hit” to “fad” cycle these days; typically it’s songs like, say, “Who Let The Dogs Out?” (that was actually a fad all along) or “Hey Ya!” (now that’s an example. Note that “Hey Ya!” is now completely awesome years after the fact; perhaps it will undergo a rebirth-rehabiliation-re-laming cycle a la “Gimme Shelter”) that do the cycle, and that’s when they were first released. In this case the cycle started spinning for a song that was not merely somewhat old, but one whose virtues were already appreciated when the song came out anyway. You need a long memory to do this, and if there’s any distinctive part about our culture, it’s this: first, that technology very much helps in this direction; and second, the youth are very tolerant towards their parents’ cultural accoutrements (and not reflexively against them, as their parents were [assuming their parents, were in fact, Baby Boomers of the rebellious variety.])

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