The Return of Bowie, Daft Punk, et al.
What happened: The Mayans were actually right: the world did end on December 22nd, 2012, thus spawning an afterlife of the most unbelievable returns and reunions imaginable. Of course, none of that happened (we think, we hope), but 2013 did become The Year of Demystification. Everything any diehard music fan pined over came true: The Thin White Duke reemerged, My Bloody Valentine actually followed up Loveless, Daft Punk ended years of teasing with Random Access Memories, Paul Westerberg and The Replacements shook off over two decades of dust, Neutral Milk Hotel reupholstered millions of hearts, The Postal Service embarked on a proper tour, Justin Timberlake released two albums, and Trent Reznor rebooted Nine Inch Nails. In between, Queens of the Stone Age made amends with Nick Oliveri, The Breeders waxed nostalgic, Boards of Canada threw our minds for a loop, both Mr. Show and The Kids in the Hall wrote new stage shows, Andrew Stockdale decided he’d rather be called Wolfmother, ‘N Sync sighed, Bernard Sumner and Johnny Marr got Electronic, Fleetwood Mac entertained arenas worldwide (with Christine McVie, no less), and there was a Tale of Two Flags for punkers everywhere. Hell, Will Smith and Jesse and the Rippers even hopped aboard the nostalgia train.
Why it mattered: It felt like a purge, really. For years, we’ve been begging for all of these things, our wishlists reading like an uninspiring, disappointing obsession with the stuffy past. And, with the exception of The Smiths and/or Talking Heads, there’s technically not much left. Yeah, we’ve already seen two big reunions for 2014 in Outkast and maybe Sleater-Kinney, but those hardly feel as rustic as the aforementioned. In a way, it’s like we can move on to newer names and start prioritizing music of today over relics from yesteryear. Of course, we’ll always pine for the things we don’t have, but in the meantime, it’ll be rewarding to allow our nostalgia to reconfigure. Having said that, don’t be surprised to keep hearing pleas like “The White Stripes for Coachella!” or “James Murphy needs to revisit LCD Soundsystem” ad nauseam on message boards everywhere. Who knows, maybe even R.E.M. will get tired of life that doesn’t involve R.E.M. or 3/4ths of a reunion. –Michael Roffman