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By Joshua Clover

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Extra resources for 1989: Bob Dylan Didn't Have This to Sing About

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Countryside. introduction 15 These parties were early on known as “Acid House Summers”; it was in 1989 that they were rebranded “rave parties” in the British press. This will be the solstice of the long “Second Summer of Love”: a term that, strangely but conveniently, was applied not to a single season but to the full span 1988–1991, as well as to each of the actually existing summers of 1988 and 1989. What might be meant, in summoning the specter of San Francisco’s 1967 and of a more generalized and long-bankrupt hippie tradition, is one of the curiosities herein.

37 D oowutchalike In such volatile moments, with one dominant toppling and another not yet consolidated, the field flies open, or at least so it feels. The period is scarcely the only one of expansive and strange experimentation—by default, for example, the early days of Old School are ripe with inventions workable and not, songs like “Rappin’ Duke” (by the eponymous artist) and the collective adventures of the “Roxanne” series. In any period, moreover, a great proportion of rap exists beyond that moment’s organizing structures—the kind of music often referred to as “pop rap,” a term less indicative of its success than its deracinated eagerness to please (though these may accompany each other, as in MC Hammer’s 1990 Please Hammer, Don’t Hurt ’Em, then the bestselling rap album ever).

Nonetheless, the possibilities that come into view in this window are remarkable for their variegation, openness, uneven brilliance. This alone should be enough to suggest that periodization is in order—that something is happening here which wants a careful accounting. These possibilities can scarcely be enumerated: wry sex thug Tone-Loc, British soul-hopper Monie Love, the inimitable Biz Markie having a heyday (and a legal disaster), and a thousand more. ),” by Pete Rock and CL Smooth, with its dusty alto sax sample signifying not so much authenticity as nostalgia and loss, the heart of the song.

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