I was driving to the store during my lunch shift today when I heard a Radiohead song come on the radio. I absolutely was not feeling it. Funny, because at one point during the late 1990s I was totally in love with the band. I remember getting a ticket to the sold out OK Computer show at the Warfield in 1996 and it being the best thing that had ever happened to me. I drove over from Modesto on a school night, my friend Jenny Kramer being the only person who would go with me. Today, however, I've got no emotional attachment to their music. It simply doesn't hold up over time for me. There are many other bands I feel the same way about (Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jane's Addiction, etc) -- music that meant everything to me at one point in the past, yet today seems rather lackluster.
On the other hand, there are bands that we tried to forget about, that we were embarrassed to admit we liked, whose music is catching on once again. Vanilla Ice is now retro gold, rather than cheesy white rap. Warrant's "Cherry Pie" is today a classic rock anthem, rather than a reminder of another era's downfall (that song was also on the radio as I headed to buy my lunch today). At one point I owned both the Cherry Pie and To The Extreme albums from both artists and before I entered high school I made sure to sell them to the local used record store. Today, I feel the same way about some rock music from the 1990s. Other artists still hold up, however. Why? I'm not really sure. It's just that their style was built to last perhaps. I'll still rock out at full volume when I hear one-hit wonders like Cracker's "Low" or The Toadies "Possum Kingdom." Those songs will never get old.
Fashion can be trendy. It can also be timeless. Military-style trench coats will never look out-of-date. Neon polka dot pants, however, have an expiration date --big in the 80s, out in the 90s, back in again today. Booze works in much the same way. Whisky was unpopular for decades (hence, why we've had so much old stuff to drink for the past ten years), but it's back now and it's in full effect. Cognac, however, is not so popular right now. Lemon Drops were all the rage ten years ago. Today they're the epitome of cocktail unsophistication. Which spirits, however, are the ones that will never go out of fashion? Campari? I don't know. I'm not sure if there's a proper example or analogy, but I do know that booze goes in and out like any other style.
Which one will be the next big thing? Which one will get played out into embarrassment? Remember when absinthe was the "it" spirit? Creme de Violette? Those products seem played out already.