I don't watch TV too much these days, especially not popular TV, but when I was younger I watched a hell of a lot. Growing up back in the days when MTV showed music, it was always on for me. I've been a little out of it when it comes to popular music in the last 5 years or so because of the many events and circumstances in life that have demanded my attention. So when I had an evening to myself with no one at home and no movies to watch, I found myself watching the second half MTV Video Music Awards. I haven't watched one of these in at least 15 years maybe. The whole time I was just shocked at how much Hip Hop has taken over the music industry and eclipsed a lot of the other genres. This assumes that you can use the MTV VMA as a water mark for popular music, of course. I like Hip Hop, but I was wondering where all the other good music went.
I was underwhelmed. I saw lots of popular stuff that didn't inspire me. Oh, well, actually there was Christina Aguillera. I'm always floored by her voice. She blew everyone else away. I was convinced at that point that she was the only performer on that stage -- or among the nominees -- that had the kind of exceptional talent that can make music survive past a week's pop chart. It seemed the show was over and I was unmoved by any of what I saw except for Aguillera. I accepted that that was the current state of pop music through the lens of MTV. Then Axl Rose came on and introduced the Killers.
Now, I'm not a musician, but if I was and all I had been listening to on the radio was every other song they played during that VMA show, and then all of a sudden the Killers dropped "When You Were Young" on my lap, I would know what I wanted to do with my life. Alright, so maybe this wasn't exactly a moment like that, but the Killers' performance was epic -- to me anyway as a non-musician. I've actually heard some of their stuff before, but never paid much attention. Maybe it was the live performance that did it. The light and video was just amazing. Maybe it's the fusion of all their influences, who I grew up listening to -- New Order, The Cure, The Smiths/Morrisey and the like. Maybe it's that the song is simple but builds up like a massive ocean wave swelling to take over every thing in it's way. I just got sucked into it like that and it hasn't gotten out of my head since then.
I haven't been into Britpop so I don't know enough about what bands came before the Killers that may be more important to the rock landscape than they are. They're from Las Vegas, by the way, not England, but they appear to also be influenced by bands like Oasis and are compared with that wave of Britpop. So I could just be clueless here. The Killers' "When You Were Young" is now in heavy rotation on my iPod.