No album, song, or even chord progression can exist in a vacuum. Indeed, every new sheet of notes is a reaction (whether positive or negative, conscious or unintentional) to the music that came before it, the music being created around it. That's why music reviews are so heavily rooted in comparisons and pinpointing derivations. But what to make of artists that seem literally to have appeared from nowhere, that bounded on to the scene earlier than any reasonable music history timeline would predict? We'll call them our musical messiahs, bursting onto our world and radios to prod doddering music scenes into their next phases. And we've got five top examples:
1. Radiohead, OK Computer
Three years before the clock struck midnight of January 1st, 2000, Radiohead spelled out the isolation, depersonalization, and numbness that would greet us. They managed to encapsulate the crazed oversaturation of information and growing marraige of humans with technology. And, not least of all, they predicted the fate of the "fitter, happier, more productive" lifestyle of the Adderral generation with subtle hints of impending ennui. It's literally like they bottled post-millenial discontent... in 1997.
2. Joy Division, Closer
It makes sense that Joy Division's Closer is clouded in darkness, with the talented and tragic lead singer Ian Curtis committing suicide shortly before its release. This post-humous masterpiece is wildly credited with providing fuel for the goth music movement, as well as predicting the coming of electro-pop.
3. Pink Floyd, Dark Side of the Moon
The 'Idiots Guide to Progressive Rock,' this album set the stage for all that is psychedelic. It used the tip-top technology of the hour (multi-track recording, tape loops), a fearless collage of revolutionary sound effects, and everything from antique clocks ticking to a crazed sound assistant's footsteps. This album invented a new golden rule of rock 'n roll, which is of course, "Throw out all the old rules." Many have followed.
4. Bruce Springsteen, Born To Run
Rock critic Lester Bangs: "I have seen the future of rock 'n roll and it's name is Bruce Springsteen." Bam.
5. Television, Marquee Moon
Television built the framework for the postpunk world. They merged the intellectual with the rebel kid fury, coupled complicated instrumenation with the same punk aethestic. This is the real deal.
Forward thinking musicians pave the way for their disciples by challenging conventions and expectations. While most artists would be lucky to interpret the present with panache, these musicians gazed into tea leaves and defined the music of the future. It's enough to get us into divination.
Tell us what we missed in the comments.