Predictions for the New Year

After the brief relaxation and decompression period between Christmas and New Year’s Eve is over, it’s time to sober up and face the music: You have another year of the same old things to look forward to: More school, more work and an annoying, self-deprecating "resolution" to stare you in the face for the first couple of months of the year. But cheer up, friends, for every year has enough surprises to fill a lifetime, and this coming one will surely be no exception. So, to give you a little bit of a leg up on whatever it is you are going to do – exercising, being nice to others, giving to charity or sitting around on your ass for another year – here are a few prophecies of what we have to look forward to in 2006.

o Are you sick of this cheesy ’80s music revival yet? Just wait until you get a load of the new revivals planned for next year, the mid ’90s and early 2000s revivals. You’ll not only be treated to the resurgence in popularity of the Goo Goo Dolls, but will also be hearing about the "misunderstood genius" of POD. Luckily, though, the accompanying return of GAK will provide plenty of ear-plugging material to help tasteful music lovers like yourself endure. And be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the "swing dance revival revival!"

o The Decemberists will break up after realizing that they have become a parody of their own shtick. Colin Meloy will pursue a career in cheap paperback bodice-ripper novels. As for the rest of the band, well, no one even knows their names anyway. They’ll probably just join some other weird bands.

o The "college activist" trend will die down, leaving only actual college activists and a large number of newly jaded 19-year-olds in its bulgur-scented wake. Keep your eyes on Craigslist for the wave of second-hand organic, hemp anti-Bush products that are sure to become available. By the same token, people will realize that fur and leather are actually really, really cool.

o Everyone will realize that Kanye West is, in actuality, really annoying. His record sales and fan base will dwindle to the "really annoying" market. Luckily for West, this makes up about 67% of the record-buying population.

o Every music club in Portland will close down and re-open under different names. That neighborhood venue that you liked for its good atmosphere, booking, prices and beer will be no more, and your block will be covered by 17-year-old emo kids every Friday and Saturday night.

o Although all of last year’s "hot" groups will release new records that would have been wildly successful had they been released this year, they collectively fail to recognize the new "mid ’90s to early 2000s" trend in time to save their careers. As such, they are labeled as being too last-year and end up on late-night "best of 2005" CD compilations.

o In keeping with the rest of the decade’s trend for child television stars to make ear-damaging forays into the world of pop music, expect Frankie Muniz to come out with his Will-Smith-esque album of anti-homework, anti-parent rap. With this bold move, he will end Kanye’s dominance of the "really annoying" market, since no one is more annoying than Frankie Muniz.

o In lieu of an actual test, prospective immigrants will only be required to have a functional MySpace account. The amount of time they spend as "resident aliens" correlates directly to the size of their friends lists and the number of emo bands contained therein.

o You will stop being wrong when you say that it’s 2006 and write 2006 on your papers, since it actually will be 2006.

o The band Nada Surf will again play in Portland, but will have no hilarious heckler as they did at their last concert. As such, no one will remember it at all and the band will return to the "indie-pop has-beens" file at the record store and remain there until further notice.

Well, I hope you asked for earplugs for Christmas and resolved to never leave your house in the New Year. If even a handful of these predictions come true, and I have a feeling they will, it just might be enough to push us into a mass cultural apocalypse the likes of which the world has never seen. Or maybe it will just be like "2005 version 2." In any case, maybe now you can face another year of living with a spring in your step and a clue as to what’s right around the corner. Just remember who you have to thank for the heads-up.