Most of my blogs so far have pretty much just been telling it as it is, (or how I think it is). Today, I’d rather open up a discussion. So please, join in.
What causes us to be nostalgic about music? Or conversely, what keeps us from being nostalgic about music?
I ask this from the only frame I can clearly see through: my own. I am able to still listen to and enjoy all the music I have ever listened to pretty much from throughout my whole life. I have had the same favorite rock band for almost a decade and some of my favorite singer-songwriters of today were introduced to me when I was a child.
However, I see a trend all around me of people moving on from one style of music to another; leaving behind some bands and discovering newer ones; getting tired of hearing the same old song. Why is this?
When we all look back at the summer of 2013 musically, I know some people will remember it for “Blurred Lines” and “Get Lucky” and “Can’t Hold Us,” but will anyone still love them songs years from now? Maybe so. For me, this summer makes me think of I the Mighty’s Satori and Have Mercy’s Earth Pushed Back, albums I know I’ll still be listening to in years to come.
I know this because I can look back and say 8th grade was the year of Thrice’s Vheissu, Gastbys American Dream’s Volcano, and Backstreet Boys’ Never Gone. People might remember 9th grade for “Bad Day” or “My Love” or “You’re Beautiful,” but I remember that as the year of Monty Are I’s Wall of People, Jonezetta’s Popularity, and Forever Changed’s The Need to Feel Alive. And I still listen to and love all of these records.
Am I different than other people? Can others pinpoint music to times in their lives, and do you still enjoy that music today? Or do you move on to different songs, different artists, and different styles?
And if you are different, do you prefer it that way? Does my perspective seem crazy or narrow or obsessive?
If I am different, I offer this possibility of why – if you haven’t already noticed, I’m more of a fan of full albums rather than just songs or singles. Maybe it’s because I devoted forty minutes instead of four, ten dollars instead of one, to these artists, that I still have such a strong connection to their art today.
I’m thinking about all of this today because I had a fun run-through of Number One Gun’s discography in excitement for their upcoming, Kickstarter-funded fifth album. I found myself a little shocked some of my reactions while listening, though. First, my opinion of their second album, Promises for the Imperfect, has done nothing but improved since I first heard it 7 or 8 years ago. The craft of that album is golden, and sentimentally it’s one of those albums that came into my life at a primary time when my tastes in rock music were really being formed. That said, I was also surprised by their follow-up record, The North Pole Project, which I used to consider their weakest album. Hearing it now, for the first time in years, I think the album might actually be the band’s best (yet). It’s exciting to be able to return to an artist and feel like I’ve grown with them, feel like I can have a conversation with them.