The Back Page: Looking Back At 2007


The year 2007 marks exactly three decades since the Year of Punk, 1977, and it’s stunning for someone who cared then and cares now to attempt keeping score on how things all turned out. For me, the fundamental choice between the Sex Pistols and the Clash was a no-future no-brainer. It was Clash all the way. Joe Strummer and the lads were angry and righteous and filled with passion and, in their brave way, even hope. Johnny Rotten and his bunch were cynical little shits who yelped about anarchy as if they had any idea what that might actually be like.

Well, here we are, 30 years later. The Pistols were right, while Strummer’s grand message of hope is down in the ground with him and the worms. There is new music I like and new music I don’t much care for. There is no music that I believe in, and there won’t be again. So fuck it. Download some shit your friend likes and wonder why your attention span isn’t long enough to reach the end of this sentence. Turns out everything is pretty vacant after all. Here’s what the next 12 months will look like. Let’s hope we make it all the way to the end.

Wincing The Night Away, the third-best Shins album and second-best Weezer album, is released on Sub Pop. Your kid sister loves it.

New Cars, Schmew Cars. Ric Ocasek counters Todd Rundgren’s cash-and-grab move, rounding up Kasim Sulton and the boys and going out on the road as Really New Utopia.

The new Chevy truck commercials unveiled during the Super Bowl feature footage of congressmen diddling underage pages, crack babies crying for milk, Exxon executives bathing in black ink and the chimy guitar stylings of John Mellencamp. This is our country, Cougs.

Borat wins the Oscar for Best Actor. Charlie Kaufman’s brother Donald, a 2002 nominee for screenwriting, presents the statuette. (If you get that joke, you need to get out more.)

Michael Stipe, Iggy Pop and Eddie Van Halen jam together on “Cock In My Pocket” at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Life, it turns out, was indeed worth living.

Todd Rundgren forms a new supergroup with Greg Hawkes, David Robinson, the ghost of Ben Orr and Robert “Stewkey” Antoni that will play a tour of racing ovals as the Nazz-Cars. Ric Ocasek responds by nailing Bebe Buell.

The MacArthur Foundation announces a new policy. It will fund its so-called “genius grants” by taking money from wealthy artists and others who have been wrongly described as geniuses. The next day, Kevin Smith, Tony LaRussa, Kanye West, Jonathan Franzen and Colin Meloy wake up with balances of $0.00 in their bank accounts.

Sam Beam’s little-known hobby proves tragic for Iron & Wine fans. Beam, portraying Stonewall Jackson for a group of extremely devoted Civil War re-enactors, loses his left arm at Chancellorsville.

A hip-hop superstar releases a long-awaited new album, teased by a single that opens with the words “I’m back!” and mentions “haters” who slept on said superstar during his absence from the scene.

Todd Rundgren steals Ric Ocasek’s wife, Paulina Porizkova, ending their ongoing chess match when Ocasek finally screams, “That’s my Czech mate!”

The Saudi royal family threatens to withdraw all of the money it’s invested in the United States unless a constitutional amendment is passed allowing George W. Bush to run for a third term, preferably one lasting as long as Bush is alive.

Todd Rundgren goes on tour as Britney Spears.

Looking to cash in on the trend started by Paul Westerberg writing songs for the animated film Open Season, Pixar hires Grant Hart to compose original songs for Down And Out (an animated film about a gay, junkie bunny named Max), while Disney signs Lou Reed for Wild Side (an animated film about a gay, junkie box turtle named Max).

The Reading Festival features comebacks by the Sundays, Happy Mondays, ’Til Tuesday and oh, screw it.

The Saudis buy a full minute of commercial airtime during CSI: Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to make it clear that they’re serious about calling in all their loans. Like, really serious.

Pitchfork gets credit for breaking news that an overrated indie-rock band will be playing a series of 15 dates, mostly in the Midwest.

David Geffen triumphantly announces the recording industry’s ultimate victory over illegal downloading and file-sharing. “Now that everyone gets music for free, the major labels only release music that’s worthless,” says Geffen. “The joke’s on you.”

A planned Guided By Voices reunion falls through because, well, which Guided By Voices?

Freshly reinforced with cash from non-geniuses, the MacArthur Foundation presents its annual genius grants. One goes to Joe Pernice, who immediately spends it all on Red Sox fantasy-camp stints for everyone in his band and immediate circle of friends.

Madonna adopts Angelina Jolie.

Nirvana announces its inevitable comeback tour: Dave Grohl on drums, Krist Novoselic on bass and Todd Rundgren on guitar, vocals and, one hopes, shotgun.

The Saudis crash the economy. Two days later, at a White House press conference, Prince Saud introduces King George, Most High Leader of the United Emirates of Saudi America. The gala event features John Mellencamp performing his hit, “This Was Our Country.”

—Phil Sheridan