2013: The Year Without Blockbusters

Grantland looks back on 2013 as the year that failed to deliver any true musical blockbusters–or as I call it,  The Year of Meh.

When historians look back on pop music in 2013, I suspect they will gravitate to one word as a summation for the year’s events.Delusion.

Before we get to the reason for this delusion, let’s revel for a moment in glorious self-deception. After all, this was the year of the carefully orchestrated pre-release promotional campaign, when albums were marketed with the all-in sweep of a $200 million summer blockbuster. And for a while, it was kind of fun. In February, semi-big time and über-silly rock band 30 Seconds to Mars declared that it was launching its new single into outer space.1 Outer space! And that was only a prologue to the year’s truly big albums.

In spring, Daft Punk commenced a clever advertising scheme for Random Access Memoriesutilizing old media like billboards and enigmatic music videos that aired on Coachella’s JumboTrons and were subsequently bootlegged. We actually pirated commercials back then! Seriously! A few months after that, Jay Z appeared in a Samsung ad with a crew of superstar producer pals in order to announce the July 4 release Magna Carta … Holy Grail like he was Will Smith unveiling Independence Day 2. Remember when you were excited to hear Magna Carta … Holy Grail? Good times!

As the year wore on, the gambits grew weirder and more desperate.

Yep.  I agree.  Continue reading.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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