Best Of The 2000s: Part 2 ... What A Time
"YOU'RE FROM WHEN?"
"Two ... thousand ... nine. Boy, I knew people were taking this Y2K craziness pretty seriously, but I think you've outdone them all."
"No, no. (Ow, my head ...) Honestly, I don't know how I got ... back ... here, but somehow I ... just ... did."
"I think somebody's been partying like it's nineteen-ninety-nine a little too hard."
"No, please, listen. It was a stormy New Year's Eve, two-thousand-nine. We were about to ring in two-thousand-ten.
"The iPod was charging. So was the BlackBerry. And Ryan Seacrest was on TV getting ready to count down to midnight."
"The what? The what? And who?"
"Thunder was crackling, and lightning was flashing and, then ... a fuse blew. I went downstairs to fix it. I began to flip the switch, and ...
"Well, the next thing I knew, here I am."
"You're from two-thousand-nine?"
"Ten years in the fut- ... oh ... kay ... easy there, easy. Let's have you sit up, buddy, and just relax. I don't think you're completely sure of what you're saying. 'Time travel' just isn't possible. Unless you're talking about 'Back to the Future'."
"Right. Or 'Lost'."
"It's a TV show. It premiered in two-thousand-four. Lots of time travel on that show."
"Hmm. OK, if you're from two-thousand-nine, explain how this 'Lost' show works. If you're really from when you say you are, that should be easy."
"You'd think so. But, then again, you've never seen 'Lost.'
"Look, I know it seems crazy, but I really am from two-thousand-nine.
"I can prove it. I'm actually more of a music aficionado. How about I tell you what music was like in the two-thousands?"
"Music? Well, I do like music. OK, sure, tell me all about it."
"Alright. I'll do my best. Ask away.""OK, you probably have a pretty good headache there. I'll start with an easy one. What are record stores like in the two-thousands?
"What, why are you laughing?"
"Sorry, it's actually not funny. OK, well, 'record stores' aren't quite the same. They still exist, but there are a lot fewer of them.
"Even the Virgin Records store in Times Square in New York closes. Tower Records went online, and so many others just couldn't keep up with iTunes."
"iTunes. It's an online music store where you can buy music of any style, from any era, right from your own home. You sign up for an account, click on a track, and, within seconds, you have the song."
"The song ... like, just a computer file of it?"
"But what about the artwork?"
"There's a picture, it's just on your computer."
"Oh. I'm not sure I like that."
"I'm not either. It's not quite the same as holding a CD booklet, or a vinyl album cover. But, it is convenient."
"OK, what if your computer crashes? You lose all these songs you paid for."
"Well, you back them up. And, of course, you load them into your iPod."
"iPod. Thousands of songs, all in one little portable device. Fits in your pocket. Every song I've ever liked, all in once place. And, you can 'shuffle' them. It's like having your own radio station. All different kinds of formats mixed into one. You never know what song is coming up next. Just that you'll like it. And, no commercials."
"Hmm. Seems like people wouldn't listen to the radio anymore."
"No, they still do. After all, you can't get weather, traffic or news from your iPod when you're driving. And, there's still something cool about hearing DJs, or having a request played."
"I ... guess ... that ... all sounds ... possible. I just have one question."
"Why do they call it eye-tunes? If it were me, I'd have called it 'Ear-tunes.'
"It's just common sense.""Alright, you look like you're feeling a little better. Let me try another one. Who's the biggest music star in two-thousand-nine?"
"Refresh my memory. Who are the biggest names then? I mean, um ... now."
"I guess I'd say ... well, there are a lot. Can I ask you about a few of them?"
"OK. How about, these, uh, 'N Sync characters. No way they, or any of these boy bands, last."
"Well, 'N Sync breaks up, but Justin Timberlake becomes the biggest male artist in pop music."
"Oh. I bet his girlfriend, Britney Spears, helps him."
"Actually, they break up, too. She goes through a pretty tumultuous time, in fact. She marries and has an annulment. She marries again and divorces.
"Radio won't play her for awhile, but, you know what, she comes back. She starts releasing some of her best music. People love a comeback."
"You know, I'm a big fan of country music. I love that new trio, the Dixie Chicks. And Toby Keith. Hey, do they ever do anything together in the two-thousands?"
"Sort ... of. Just not on the charts."
"How about George Strait?"
"Talk about someone who's mastered traveling through time. Doesn't matter the year, Strait is still the King. Forty-four No. 1s and counting. The most of any artist ever at one format."
"I knew it, country music will never change. Nothing but cowboys in cowboy hats."
"Actually, the biggest star in country - and pop - in two-thousand-nine is a young woman named Taylor Swift. She just turned 20. Great songwriter, great live performer. She used MySpace to get noticed and constantly connects with her fans through vlogs, Facebook and Twitter."
"Uh-oh, maybe we should get some help here. Now, you're just making up words.""What else would you like to know?"
"Well, you know what I've noticed? MTV doesn't play only music anymore.
"I mean, they still play lots of videos, of course. VH1, too. But, now they seem to have some actual shows. Like, more of that 'Real World'-type stuff. You know, strangers forced to live together while being filmed, 24/7. I'm sure that sort of programming catches on ...
"But, music. What about music on TV? Does it disappear entirely?"
"No, not at all, The opposite, in fact. In 2002, the biggest show of the decade premieres. It's called 'American Idol.'
"Paula Abdul is one of its longtime stars, a judge on it. You know her. 'American Idol' is a singing competition. People audition, the best singers are chosen, and then viewers vote for their favorites, until there's a winner."
"Oh, like 'Star Search.' The biggest show of the two-thousands is, basically, 'Star Search'? As Jerry Seinfeld would say, 'What's the deal with that?!'"
"Ha, still love Seinfeld. Although in the two-thousands, when we question something, we simply say, 'reeeeaaaallllyyyy??!'
"Um, anyway ... yes, 'American Idol' just strikes a chord with people. Many of the singers are pretty good, the judges are quite opinionated and we feel like we get to know everyone.
"The show is on a few nights a week, there's no intricate plot to follow, and, who doesn't like discovering new artists?"
"OK, I can see that. Does it produce any stars? I mean, if all they're doing is, basically, singing karaoke ..."
"The contestants do start out by singing covers. But, many finalists have gone on to very successful careers. Pop, country, R&B, you name it. And, many write their own songs on their albums.
"Hmm, OK. And, I guess if they're singing songs by, say, the Beatles, on this show, a whole new generation of fans is learning some of the best music ever written."
"Alright, sounds interesting. Paula Abdul, though? She's an experienced artist. She's probably too technical and takes everything too seriously.
"I hope the other judges add some fun and goofiness, at least.""Hey, look: it's thundering now. And lightning. Wow, it wasn't stormy here before you arrived. Maybe it's a sign you're ... gonna get to ... go back to ...
"Wait a minute, what am I saying? Oh, you had me going there! Entire CD collections compressed into a little box ... some girl just out of high school ruling country music ... 'community auditions' taking over television ...
"What are you gonna tell me next? 'The Simpsons' is still on the air? The Red Sox win the World Series? A U.S. President breaks a societal barrier we never thought we'd see shattered?
"What kind of a ten years was this?"
"You know, I'm not sure. I guess ... I guess, in some ways, it was like any other ten years. There was so much good and so much bad. We had tragedies. And triumphs. We lost leaders in all kinds of fields. We discovered new ones.
"Then again, technology really changed the way we live. We remember how much simpler things used to be. And, we can't imagine ever going back to the way they were before."
"But, in any case ... music ... lives on. It's as popular as ever. Maybe more so. Even if they're not going to record stores as much as in the past to buy albums that they can hold in their hands, and display proudly, people are downloading tracks, legally.
"They're singing and playing acoustic guitars in their bedrooms, and posting those performances online, instantly, for the world to enjoy. Couldn't have gotten that kind of audience before the two-thousands.
"Or, with all the noise - cell phones, which become much smaller than that one, by the way ... apps ... reality TV - maybe music remains one of our last escapes.
"No matter how it's packaged, a song is ultimately one person making a connection with another. At its best, there's nothing like it.
"Still.""Hey ... The wind ... the thunder ... the lightning ...
"I've never seen it this stormy before!
"What's that shaking?!"
"I don't know. Maybe I'm going back to ...""Honey?
"Honey, who ... were ... you ... talking to ... down there? Did we have a visitor?"
"Umm ... no. No one else was here. I don't think ...
"I'm just, you know, Y2K-proofing a few last appliances."
"Oh, OK, well come on up. It's almost two-thousand! Hey, you can help me finish that fruitcake we got for the holidays."
"Fruitcake? You want me to eat a fruitcake? That rock-hard log that would serve a better use in the fireplace than on a plate?
"You want me to eat that. A fruitcake. Reeeeaaaallllyyyy??!
"I mean, um ...
"Fruitcake. Wow. What's the deal with that?!"