It’s only Thursday and I already feel a bit fried (and not in the cannabis-enhanced sense, either.) Two days till’ my move, and I’m in a frenzy canceling utilities and dealing with a landlord who want talk to me because he only cares to deal with one of my other roommates, not all three of us.

I finally saw the video for the White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army” on MTV2 this morning over a bowl of frosted mini-wheats. It’s weird that they’ve become popular. Well, not that popular, top ten album and all. As cool and hum-worthy as it is, I doubt the song will become a radio staple on the order of “The Middle”. Still, although a part of me is ecstatic at their success (particularly in the UK, where “Elephant” has been hovering either on or near the top of the album chart since its release eight weeks ago), they seem like the least likely top of the pops band ever.

I think back to August 2001, when in my writing journal, I mused about who could be the next Nirvana, the next savior to rescue pop music from its tedious, generic state. All I could come up with was Alicia Keys, only knowing her song “Falling”, impressed by how it was splendidly out of time with what the rest of radio offered that summer. I still like “Falling” (even after hearing it 5,000 times), and ‘A Woman’s Worth”, “Girlfriend”, and the faithful cover of Prince’s “How Come You Don’t Call Me” were pleasant follow-ups, but the rest of the album was just OK. I have a feeling Keys’ impact will ultimately pale in comparison to Carole King’s, Donna Summer’s, definitely Madonna’s, even Sinead O’Connor’s. That is, unless she pulls off an unexpected, wicked transformation with her second record like Pink did. For now, Keys is little more that a talented but rather average musician who is a testament to Clive Davis’ chutzpah.

Weeks before 9/11, little did I know that it would not be a musical event on the order of “Nevermind” knocking “Dangerous” off the top of the charts but a severe tragedy that would shape this decade. However, I did say there probably wouldn’t be another band with a Nirvana-like impact that changes everything (although sucky music and antiquated genres still thrived in 1992, kids). The increasing volume of music available will make it more difficult for this to occur; also, there will simply never be another Nirvana or another Kurt Cobain, just like Kurt was not Elvis Presley, John Lennon, or Michael Jackson; he was Kurt. The next artist to have a similar changing-of-the-guard role will not be even remotely like Kurt. For all I know, it could be a rapper, although I don’t believe, popularity and ubiquity aside, Eminem has gotten there yet. It’ll happen if he grows artistically. Given his apparently increasing lack of a sense of humor (for Chrissakes, let Weird Al do a video for his “Lose Yourself’ parody!), I remain doubtful.

One day, will we look back on The White Stripes as vanguards that changed pop music or altered the climate significantly? I don’t think that will happen, even if music critics gush about their records for decades to come. In another ten years, we’ll probably reminisce about them (and I mean reminisce, ‘cause you just know they still won’t be together) the way we fondly look back at Pavement or “Exile In Guyville” now. As of this date, “Elephant” is my favorite record of 2003, because it’s endlessly repeatable, and one of the few new records I actually fervently wait in anticipation of the next time I’ll get to play it again… especially the moments when the signature guitar riff of “Ball and Biscuit” suddenly reappears after one of Jack’s messy solos.