I’ve just realised something that may have been obvious to everyone else for ages: that now the vice-like grip of major label record labels has been loosened, the music business has more or less reached the end of trends.
As an example, I was just watching the coverage of Glastonbury Festival on the BBC and I realised that pretty much anything goes now- you just pick any style you like and run with it. I saw Spiritualized, fair enough, they have never followed trends and are all the better for it- but also Hot Chip (nerd-electro or whatever you want to call it), Band of Horses (1976 Neil Young template), Groove Armada (dance), The Imagined Village (folk fusion)…etc etc… my basic point is there is no ‘scene’ or movement of bands which could be called a trend.
I think this is down to the fact that before, major labels had a success, then looked for other bands who were more or less part of the same ‘trend’, signed them and made them change to fit in to the trend template, then pushed the whole package as one through the music magazines. Thus it appeared that everyone was making a certain type of music more than any other at any one time, and this inspired other bands to copy that and so perpetuate the ‘trend’. Then everyone got sick of it, especially the knock-off bands who were signed just as a short term attempt to make some money from the trend and were more likely to have been changed and styled to fit into a trend they were perhaps never that into in the first place. For example, Menswear were shoehorned into the ‘Britpop’ package but probably never really shared much with Blur or Oasis or any of the others (of course they were more shit, but that could have been a result of them being forced to follow the trend instead of their own inspiration. Or it could just be that they weren’t any good.) Same thing with Inspiral Carpets and other bands from ‘Madchester’ around the same time, and it’s these ‘lesser’ bands which made everyone sick of ‘the scene’ and eager to find the next ‘scene’.
Also I rejoice in the dwindling influence of music magazines, I think they wielded an unhealthy amount of power and were complicit in creating these trends.
The only trend is see now is ‘do what you want how you want’. Or as someone far greater than me once put it, ‘have a good time all the time’.