The past year produced plenty of quality music but you wouldn't know it perusing the Nielsen SoundScan's sales tallies, which landed in my inbox today. Other than Kings of Leon, Jay-Z (who probably would serve his legacy best by re-retiring) and Eminem, whose best album, The Slim Shady LP
, came out in 1999, there's not a single active artist or band of merit who really connected with the masses.
It appears Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga (pictured) might be the future of music, which should sadden anyone who still cares about brilliant artists coming along with the power to fill stadiums with songs that matter. Swift might mature into an interesting artist--she's only 20 and writes her own material--but it's doubtful she'll some day pull and Miranda Lambert and bravely attempt to kick Nashville's shiny ass. As for Lady Gaga, she's a maven when it comes to style but merely a mediocre singer.
A dead guy, a 20-year-old pop-country star and a band that broke up 40 years ago occupy the top three spots while a singer of tired, sentimental cover songs places fourth. The only young artist in the Top 5 is better known for her freaky fashion statements than frothy music output. Only Kings of Leon, which barely made the list, offers any real hope. Eminem and Jay-Z are rap titans but neither have slung fresh rhymes in years.
Stay tuned for a look at some of the other categories.