This may seem like a senseless question, but bare with me. I'm referring to the culture, or spirit of a decade. A common approach to 20th century history is to examine it decade by decade, starting in the 1920s onward – as if each decade had its own character, shaped by the people, events, and culture which dominated it. Cultural and historical transformation obviously does not arise out of nowhere at midnight on January 1st nor does it end on December 31st either. So when would you say each cultural decade began and ended? I'd say they roughly go like this:
The 20s: 1919-1929 (Treaty Of Versailles to Wall Sreet Crash) The 30s: 1930-1938 (Great Depression to Rise Of Nazi Germany) The 40s: 1939-1953 (Start of WWII to Rise of Rock N' Roll and Teen Culture) The 50s: 1954-1963 (Malt Shop Era to JFK's Assassination) The 60s: 1964-1972 (Beatles and British Invasion to End of Main Hippie Era) The 70s: 1973-1981 (Rise of Glam Rock and Disco to Ronald Reagan's Inauguration) The 80s: 1982-1991 (Start of MTV's Popularity to the Gulf War) The 90s: 1992-2002 (Grunge era to end of alternative music being popular) The 00s: 2003-2008 (Internet boom to Obama's election) The 10s: 2009-present (Social Media and EDM explosion to present)
Grunge was around in the late 80's, but it was mainly an underground genre at that time. When Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" aired on MTV in September 1991 that was really when it hit the mainstream.
I don't know much about the pre-war decades, but for the ones I do know of, my estimation of the decades could go like this;
The 50's (1946-1964) Really more the "post-war" period since we're talking 18 years here. 1954 and '55 may have been when the rock and roll and youth rebellion culture started, but the whole 'look' of the 50's (malt shops, diners, colorful suburbs) really started in the late 40's when the economy began to boom.
The 60's (1965-1970) Although many people point to Kennedy's assassination and the Beatles arrival as the start of the cultural 60's, I personally don't think these things had that much of an effect on America. In 1965 Vietnam began to escalate and the anti-establishment movement was rising. That, I think, would have really divided the nation, but I suppose you could argue if Kennedy had not been shot these things wouldn't have happened, so I could be way off.
The 70's (1971-197 I always saw 1970 as the end of the 60's, as this was the year the Beatles broke up, and many of the famous 60's musicians (Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin etc.) died, and also it was the year of the Kent State shootings, they'd be nothing to save you from cynicism after that.
The 80's (1979-1990) New wave and synthpop (two very big 80's music genres) began in 1979 and at that point the 80's started to establish themselves, but of course there was still a lot of 70's culture in the early 80's to counter it.
The 90's (1991-2001) Most people agree, 1991 was the dawn of the 90's, the cold war ended, and the distinct grunge fashion started which destroyed hair metal and what was left of synthpop (IMO New Wave was already dead by 1986). The 90's ended with 9/11, this event of course led to all the chaos in the 2000's.
The 00's (2002-200 Short dull decade. A mashup decade, nothing too original here. 2003-2005 was all rap & hip hop but with clothing similar to 90s, except women had cake faces (makeup got heavier). The emo thing was the only thing original here. Later onwards we started to get social media, which seemed more quintessential to the 2010s.
2010s (2008-now): HD stuff more dominant, social media, electronic dance music, heavy CGI movies, all started to get prevalent in 2009 until this day...2008 and 09 is definitely more like today. Fashion was a bit different in 2008 with young people (high fade cut wasn't around), but technology wasn't.
Eh, I'd disagree that there wasn't anything original from the 00's (at least from a global perspective). Stuff like grime and dubstep emerged, and those genres have had a very strong impact on music to this day. There was also stuff like the Korean Wave in Asia and the surge in popularity of anime outside of their respective countries.
Anybody can pick and choose what they want deem noteworthy about this decade or that, but this is ultimately a ridiculous and yes senseless question. Above 60s culture is defined as starting in 1965! It's completely arbitrary. Decades are written about as containing the events they did. There are way too many overlapping occurrences and movements to say that 90s culture didnt start until one album came out or the 60s started in 1958 because of this or that.
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