The Super Bowl Halftime Show Proves Music Stopped Being Good After the Mid-2000s

Jordan Claes
Snoop Dogg and Eminem
instagram | @snoopdogg

People simply can't stop talking about the Super Bowl. Not because of the game itself, but rather due to the fact that this year's Halftime Show was arguably one of the best ever.

It got me thinking that the reasoning behind the acclaim had less to do with the overall performance, and pertains more to the era the performing artists inhabited.

In a nutshell, it's my assertion that this year's Super Bowl Halftime Show proves that music, as a whole, stopped being good after the mid-2000s.

The Super Bowl is the pinnacle sports event in North America.

Rams at the superbowl
instagram | @nfl

Aside from the excitement of the game itself, there are several other factors that help to make the Super Bowl enjoyable for those who consider themselves to be casual fans of the game.

For instance, the Super Bowl is the only time that TV audiences actually look forward to watching commercials.

With so many incredibly nostalgic commercials, including a tribute to Mike Myers in Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, as well as Jamie-Lynn Sigler in The Sopranos — this year's Super Bowl commercials were some of the best ever.

But the biggest and best aspect of the Super Bowl, arguably even bigger than the game itself, is the Halftime Show.

Mary J Blige at Super Bowl
instagram | @nfl

This year, Millennials had high expectations, especially considering that the lineup consisted of some of the greatest artists of our (or any) generation. When all was said and done, many were left with the impression that the 2022 Halftime Show was the best ever.

It got me thinking about music as a whole, and how it just hasn't been the same since the mid-2000s.

DJ at board
Giphy | REZZ

Throughout the '90s and up until roughly 2008, the airwaves were dominated by two overarching genres: Rock and Hip-Hip. In 2009, things began to shift as North America bore witness to the beginnings of the EDM revolution — a paradigm we still currently inhabit even to this day.

In the early 2010s, EDM began fusing with Pop music.

On the one hand, this helped to tear down genre barriers and allowed artists the freedom to flex their musical muscles more than ever before. All of a sudden, country artists like Taylor Swift and acoustic songbirds like Ed Sheeran could get away with making EDM-inspired club tunes.

However, without any kind of genre restrictions to speak of — everything started sounding the same.

Songs such as Ke$ha's "Tik Tok" and Katy Perry's "California Girls" are all but indistinguishable from one another. Artists like Nicki Minaj and Cardi B are basically the same person, as far as I'm concerned.

On the other hand, no one on this planet sounds like Snoop Dogg.

Snoop Dogg at Super Bowl
instagram | @snoopdogg

Snoop is revered and adored all over the globe. The timbre and swagger of his voice make him instantly recognizable and he's just as popular today as he was back when Dr. Dre first discovered him.

In a similar fashion, there isn't a man or woman alive who can rap like Eminem.

Eminem in front of albums
instagram | @eminem

Slim Shady first burst onto the scene back in 1999 and has been the undisputed king of the hip-hop world ever since. The only artist of the new generation who can even come close to comparing is, ironically, Kendrick Lamar.

This leads me to my next point: no matter how many years go by, there will never again be another producer like Dr. Dre.

Dre holding sign
instagram | @drdre

Dre produced 2pac's and Mary J. Blige's most memorable songs; "California Love" and "No More Drama" respectively. He mentored Snoop Dogg, discovered Eminem and Kendrick Lamar, and also co-wrote what has arguably become the most recognizable beat in hip-hop — "Still D.R.E."

Music these days has abandoned artistry in pursuit of one simple thing: money.

Dave Chapelle holding money
Giphy |

Impermanence is the defining characteristic of the new generation of musicians. The goal is no longer to be the best at your respective craft, but rather to make the most amount of money in the shortest amount of time.

That's why we harken back to the '90s and early '00s — because it reminds us of a time when music still meant something.

Dr. Dre sitting down
instagram | @drdre

It's not just a matter of nostalgia. Rather, it's about acknowledging a time when to be the best meant you had to beat the best — when artistic ingenuity and determination defined an entire era. Nowadays, music is all about commercialism, which is why it will never again be as good as it once was.