Allow me to let you in on a little secret about the music business: At the start of every decade, every label records ten years worth of music that they then release in a slow drip. This maximizes profits while also allowing industry executives to take nine-year vacations. It may seem inefficient, but this is just the way it has always worked. For example, the Beatles recorded the entirety of their ‘60s catalogue during a three week stint in Studio City in 1960. They flew back to Liverpool with their big break and subsequent evolution already produced and mixed, the master reels sitting underneath a card table in Burbank.
This means that any song that comments on contemporary themes or events does so coincidentally and the artists are contractually obligated to play along. This is the reason subtext is celebrated as “nuanced songwriting” and why protest anthems rarely mention the war they are protesting by name.
As a member of the media elite, I got to listen to this decade’s cavalcade of singles, albums, and mixtapes back in early 2011. I was not overly impressed. Still, 2013 grew on me upon my second listening this year and I’m cautiously optimistic about 2014.
Here are some highlights to expect:
Macklemore’s Rap Opera
You are going to hate it so much — but guess what? — no one cares what you think. The double album about a little boy with no sense of smell is already scheduled to win a couple Grammys and Rolling Stone is going to put Macklemore on its cover with the headline, “WE WANT MACKLEMORE MORE MORE! IS THERE ANYTHING HE CAN’T DO?” He will be shirtless.
Beyonce’s Super Secret Album
On a seemingly random Thursday morning, Beyonce will surprise the world by announcing the release of “QUEÉN,” an album that no one is allowed to hear. Millions will pay $14.99 for the right to gush about what they think it might sound like.
Chickenfoot are Back!
That’s right, Sammy, Chad, Michael, and Joe are back. America’s favorite supergroup Chickenfoot releases a followup to “Chickenfoot III.” Every major arena in America has been pre-booked for the 2014 tour, which explains why the Super Bowl has to be played outdoors in New Jersey in January.
OneDirection Breaks Up
Jessica Summerville, 14, of Highland Park, Illinois will Instagram a picture of Harry Styles with the caption, “He’s my fave!” The rest of the boy band erupts with jealousy, eventually tearing the group apart. Thanks Jessica, you bitch.
Jay Z Releases Another Album With Linkin Park
It’s not very good, but the track “Don’t Give Up (I’m Not, Only In My Dreamz),” is used in a pretty cool trailer for a Tyler Lautner movie about space orphans who fight by kissing.
John Mayer Tops the Charts With "Love Lullaby"
The song is 3 minutes of near soundlessness; Mayer smirks into a microphone while ignoring text messages. Still, your mom loves it, and with the help with moms across America, it goes number one.