5 Bold Predictions for 2016

Have you heard?  2015 is out, and the newest trend in time is 2016.  For those of us born on the cusps of generation Y it is still hard to wrap our brains around the strange acceleration we have witnessed in our life times.  In elementary school keyboarding class took place on flickering Apple IIe’s while now kids are born with smart phones attached to their heads.  Our photocopies were still a bluish purple and not scanned into our tablets.  The future is strange.

This is happened to our music too.   I’m sure we were all confident in the meteoric rise of nu-metal and grunge rock, while figuring that Chumbawumba would certainty be more than a one hit wonder.  No, none of that came to pass (I guess for the better) and instead we have people with half-shaved heads smashing the enter key on their laptops causing everyone to vibrate violently to disturbingly powerful sub-woofers gone awry.  Laser light shows have been eclipsed by holograms of dead musicians (more on this later) and convenience charges have surpassed the actual cost of tickets (that is contingent on you actually beating a bot to get the tickets in the first place).

Yes, yes the future is a strange place and 2016 may just be the year where shit gets really weird.  Lets take a moment to observe some of my bold predictions for the coming year in music.

The Guns ‘N Roses Reunion At Coachella is terrible and no one will admit it

In an era dominated by hair metal schlock we got suckered in by their above average song-writing and Axl Rose’s completely ridiculous shrieking about paradise cities and sweet children of his.  Sure Slash is a talented guitarist and seemingly all-around nice guy (aside from naming his kid ‘Cash’), but both ego titans are more memorable in name and market value than their musical production as of late.  I know Chinese Democracy is a few years old at this point, but my goodness is it still fun to criticize.

When Coachella announced a proper reunion of GNR this year, many fans went ballistic, assuming that the two would never get back together on stage to perform, and for good reason, as the two figure heads have a history of not playing nice together.  Coachella’s curators have a keen talent (AKA Giant checkbook) of getting long dormant and dead groups to glue themselves back together for reunion shows, much to the glee of their attendees who paid hundreds of dollars to get sun-burnt and see bros where Native American head-dresses in a non-ironic manner (Not that wearing them ironically is any better).

That being said, despite their ability to get bands to reunite, the score-card for actually good reunion shows is spotty at best.  At The Drive-In‘s 2012 reunion was cut wildly short by Justice being lazy in taking down their set, and was marred by a weak vocal performance and a horridly indifferent Omar on guitar,  Outkast struggled to wow audience’s with their 2014 musical victory lap, and I’m pretty sure Dr. Dre needed the lyrics presented via teleprompter for him to remember what his songs actually sounded like (rumor mill is that months of using shoddy Beats headphones have caused permanent hearing loss and brain damage).  Now, to be fair, later At The Drive-In and Outkast shows did recover and prove to be highly entertaining (Dre….not so sure).  So with that in mind I struggle to imagine a man better known for his hat than his guitar playing and the slovenly Axl Rose will be able to produce anything of reasonable greatness.

Sure, they will play your favorites and you won’t care that they’re played at 75% their normal speed AND you won’t care that Axl is grossly out of tune and out of breath by song 4 because “you were there man”.  You were there when after over 20 years apart, the least white-trash of hair metal bands reunited to play Sweet Child Of Mine, Cold November Rain, and Live and Let Die while you sipped Bud Lights and groped the woman’s ass in front of you.  It’s 1986 all over again man; not that the majority of the crowd was born before 1996 but fuck it.

I not only predict that their show will only rise to average at most, I will predict that it is rather short (45 minutes tops), and feature loads of shoe-horned guest musicians you didn’t ask for (Holy shit is that Brett Michaels!?) and some sort of laser light show you never wanted.

Hologram Musicians reach the apex of bad taste

Look, the hologram musician thing is kind of cute in a “haha I’m a music exec and can still milk a dead person for all they are worth” way.  Nobody needed Hologram 2pac and while the dance rutine for hologram Michael Jackson was impressive, it also was completely pointless.  Musicians singing their inspirations songs is one thing, but the ability to sync up someone’s song to a fake image of them is of questionable taste.

That said, I think in 2016 the envelope will be pushed in this regard.  I think we will go beyond one song homages to full concerts of fake imagery and pre-recorded audio.  I can imagine Dave Grohl deciding to invite hologram Kurt for a round of Nirvana covers or Luke Bryan going “Yall mind if I invite Johnny Cash out for a few numbers?”, then hologram Johnny takes a swig of hologram whiskey, sits in a chair and plays Ring of Fire to the chagrin of Grammy viewers everywhere.  You ass-holes will eat it up too.

But wait, there is more to this parade of dead mirages to appease the idiot masses who believe ‘Weekend at Bernies’ is based on a true story.  Grateful Dead will realise that their shows print money and decide they could rent out Madison Square Garden for a week.  While there, a fat, grotesque visage of Jerry Garcia stumbles onto the stage (you gotta get that mid-heroin stupor just right) to play Alabama Getaway for 20 minutes or something else equally tasteless (although this new Dead & Friends shtick seems pretty good at shamelessly asking for cash anyway).  Then, during the 4th of July fireworks show in Chicago a hologram John Philips Sousa comes out to direct the CSO’s rendition of Stars and Stripes.

It will hit its absolute apex when 20,000 people pay real money to see hologram Elvis perform a complete set at The Staples Center.  A team of 500 computer nerds will have him gyrate and spin while the speakers play audio recorded from the 1960s over the loudspeakers.  Perhaps, Elvis will ask some of his hologram or real buddies to come out and do some duets with him (these lines will have to be recorded by sound-a-likes, because Elvis never knew Brad Paisley).  This tour will go across America, with the catchy title of ‘HE’ (standing for, obviously, Hologram Elvis).  You can even add some catchy tag-lines like “HE has risen” or “HE is back for his comeback tour” or even “You idiots will throw your money away for anything”.

Taylor Swift wins album of the year over Kendrick Lamar at The Grammys, screwing him once again.

Tay fans will geek out over how she ‘finally did’ as if sleeping on a mountain of money as reward for being a privileged white woman wasn’t enough.  Kendrick fans will sigh, throw their hands up in the air and declare “this shit again?”.

A slightly obscure musician will die.  Everyone will post to Facebook that one minor single they knew them from

Every year another great musician will pass away due to the currents of time, a current that is sped up by rampant physical negligence and bad genetics.  Without fail this will result in a torrent of people posting on social media about how this person’s music changed their life and will always be remembered.  If you remember when Lou Reed died and all your friends posted Take a Walk On The Wild Side you already know what you are in for.  Record sales for the slightly obscure musician will sky-rocket as people pay 40 bucks for the Music on Vinyl overpriced reissue of their only charting album.  At parties that one song will be played and everyone will go on and on about how obscure musician changed their lives.

You will look at your record shelf, containing this person’s entire discography and sigh an annoyed sigh.  I feel for you.  Don’t worry, your indie cred will be reinstated in 10 months time.  Until then, use this time to convince people they actually want to listen to the obscure musicians 1985 dub-reggae release in the original Mono pressing.  Just make sure you are saving your money so you can buy that $200 boxset of b-sides and rarities when it comes out.

Editors Note:  This was written before the passing of our lord and savior David Bowie.  He is not obscure.  That was a tragedy

Record Store Day sales bomb as people realize vinyl collecting is a cumbersome pain in the pass hobby

There are plenty of reasons to buy vinyl over alternative options for listening to music: potentially better audio quality, the pomp and circumstance of putting the needle on the wax, the big artwork, and the cred you get  when people see your massive collection.  For me, it never gets old when people freak out over your shelves of cardboard and wax, lamenting on the nostalgic kitsch factor that radiates from it.

There is evidence to support that people love vinyl too, record sales keep growing and growing, record stores keep popping up, and more albums are being printed and reprinted on vinyl.  One might predict that vinyl will one day pass up the humble CD in sales, reducing those plastic discs to the dustbins of history along with cassette tapes and 8-tracks.  Huzzah we will declare on that fated day!  We will have shown the big music executives that the consumer was right and we didn’t need your new blasted music format.

Not so fast, as I predict 2016 will be the year where the tide changes, where the vinyl collecting ventures too far into the mainstream and the hip young millennials with their 3 Deathcab For Cutie records will declare the hobby both uncool, and a cumbersome pain in the ass.  You don’t know a cumbersome vinyl collection until you have amassed an entire Omar Rodriguez-Lopez discography.  Vinyl prices will begin to slowly drop and used copies of Digital Ash in a Digital Urn will litter the used market.

Admit it, this hobby, with its small list of perks, is a massive and frustrating pain in the ass.  Vinyl is heavy, expensive, cumbersome, and heinously inconvenient.  There is no logical reason to get into vinyl and I predict in 2016 the collective lightbulb will go off in everyone’s head, realizing this is a hobby with little satisfaction compared to the passion that pours in.  People will breath a heavy sigh of relief as they get half of their living room back and they do not need to file for that second mortgage to pay for their new $5,000 turntable.  Society will return to normal.

The rest of us will scavenge the sales bins.

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