the history of i-D in 35 years of music

35 years have passed since the first issue of i-D and music has been all over the place. It’s quite a mess really. But listen to this history of pop and you’ll understand why.

by Dean Kissick
Jun 4 2015, 12:53pm

1980. Talking Heads, Once In A Lifetime
The 80s began and Talking Heads brought us a very fantastic dance video.

1981. Ultravox, Vienna
1981 was the peak of new romanticism. "We wanted to take the song," explained singer Midge Ure, "and make it incredibly pompous in the middle, leaving it very sparse before and after."

1982. Roxy Music, More Than This

1983. Heaven 17, Temptation

1984. Malcolm McLaren, Madam Butterfly
In 1984, after having helped to create and then subsequently destroy punk in London, Malcolm McLaren decided to make a solo album that would mix 80s synth-pop with opera recordings from the Unitarian Church in Belmont.

1985. New Order, The Perfect Kiss

1986. Trisomie 21, The Last Song
Visit the goth disco of your dreams, in this video by French coldwave kids Trisomie 21 which is pure joy.

1987. Ralphi Rosario, You Used To Hold Me (Kenny's mix)
A house classic.

1988. A Guy Called Gerald, Voodoo Ray
An acid house classic.

1989. Pixies, Wave Of Mutilation
This really has the strangest lyrics.

1990. Pet Shop Boys, Being Boring
Being Boring has been heralded by the Guardian "the perfect pop song" and "the greatest single of all time." A couple of years earlier in 1988, rather than going on tour, the Pet Shop Boys made a mad feature-length musical film, It Couldn't Happen Here, which you can watch here.

1991. Talk Talk, New Grass
This might just be the best cover art of the last 35 years.

1992. KWS, Please Don't Go
The original version of Please Don't Go by KC And The Sunshine Band was the first number 1 of the 80s. But this is even better.

1993 SWV, Right Here
Originally released to little fanfare the year prior, Teddy Riley remixed Right Here into a new jack swing song with a Michael Jackson sample and it really took off. But less successfully, and also in 1993, there was a UK Back to Black remix with vocals from a very young Pharrell Williams.

1994. Oasis, Live Forever

1995.  Blur, Country House
1995 was a year of animosity. There was the "Battle of Britpop" with Blur and Oasis releasing their singles on the same day, and there was the East Coast - West Coast rap rivalry in the States. That year Tupac was filming the California Love video in the Black Rock Desert (as recorded for posterity in Dre's beautiful love letter) close to Burning Man; the following year he was murdered in Las Vegas, surrounded by the dark Mojave Desert.

1996. Olive, You're Not Alone
Today in Dalston there is a large, tempting advertising sign saying, "You're not a loan."

1997. Williams Fairey Brass Band, In Yer Face
In 1997 artist Jeremy Deller worked with the Williams Fairey Brass Band from Stockport on an album of acid house and Detroit techno covers. This is their interpretation of 808 State's In Yer Face, originally released in 1990, and from the very beginning it is absolute bliss.

1998. Wamdue Project, King Of My Castle
As the end of the millennium loomed Wamdue Project made this very robotic song with futuristic visuals from Japanese anime Ghost In The Shell.

1999. Eminem, Stan
As it ended, Eminem released the greatest rap story ever told.

2000. Fischerspooner, Emerge
Though they started out as a New York weird art project - first performing inside a Rikrit Tiravanija installation at Gavin Brown's Enterprise in 1999 - only the following year Fischerspooner were offered a million-pound Ministry of Sound record deal. Dance music, apparently, was the new rock 'n' roll.

2001. N.E.R.D., Rock Star
Or maybe hip hop was the new rock 'n' roll.

2002. The Libertines, Up The Bracket
Or maybe the old rock 'n' roll was the new rock 'n' roll. At this point music stood on a precipice, with two paths leading in wildly different directions: this way The Libertines with their promises of skinny Hedi Slimane jeans, supermodels and heroin. That way More Fire Crew with their Donald Duck and Bugs Bunny sweatshirts, walking slowly round the Top Of The Pops stage shouting "Oi!" at people. Who to follow, who to follow?

2003. Wiley, Igloo

2004. Trim, The Lowdown
Around this time London was just dripping in grime, everywhere, and it was exciting. On Roll Deep's Creeper Vol. 2 mixtape, Trim spat out the best cuss track ever written.

2005. Metronomy, This Could Be Beautiful
After spending a day listening to 35 years of music I think 2005 was the worst by a long way. But this beautiful song was the closing of the first Kitsuné Maison compilation; a trendy French compilation on which you can almost hear the wave of polysexual, neon fashion parties about to crash down upon the East End.

2006. Hot Chip, The Warning
A song with such a good bridge.

2007. Klaxons, Golden Skans
2007 was a year of musical possibilities: Klaxons were the poster-boys of nu rave, Foals of math rock, and T2 of heartbroken bassline.

2008. Fuck Buttons, Sweet Love For Planet Earth
Who would have thought a pair of psychedelic and yet relentlessly repetitive experimental noise musicians from Bristol would find their productions playing not only at a Rodarte show, but also at the opening ceremony of the London Olympics? These are ten minutes of angry heaven.

2009. Gucci Mane, Round One (Salem remix)
Witch house was all the rage; I went to a hotel terrace in Venice and Jack Donoghue was running around with Riccardo Tisci raising all sorts of hell. This Salem remix is astoundingly good.

2010. Hype Williams, The Throning

2011. DJ Khaled And Drake, I'm On One (Unicorn Kid remix)
Another year of confusion in-between rap and dance. Unicorn Kid made melancholy Drake into a happy sea-punk shanty, Chris Brown released the wonderful apogee of trance rap, Beautiful People, and Kanye and Jay held smoky, strobe-lit shows at which they just played Niggas In Paris over and over again.

2012. Kendrick Lamar, Sing About Me, I'm Dying Of Thirst
A year of clarity in rap: Kendrick Lamar, Chief Keef, and Odd Future jumping out of the underground into the light, full of new sounds and ideas. Today at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles the most exciting and vibrant exhibition is a 15-minute Kahlil Joseph video-portrait of the city with Kendrick as its soundtrack.

2013. Sophie, Nothing More To Say
Listen carefully from around four minutes in and you can hear house slowly melting, unravelling into a PC Music monster made of computer chips, cute girls, and energy drinks.

2014. Fetty Wap, Trap Queen

2015. Young Thug and Birdman, Constantly Hating
This is produced by an unknown called Wheezy with hardly any drums, only distant noises and silences, and throughout the first verse Young Thug is just mumbling and whispering about who knows what.

Dean Kissick
35 years of i-d