Nostalgia has been pacifying/plaguing us for centuries (see: The Odyssey), but looking back has never been as up in our grills as it is now. And that’s because the smart kids in class kept looking forward.
“Old” records, bands, and artists were reintroduced to younger generations of listeners circa Napster and MySpace. That’s when “even the most dysfunctional ’80s and ’90s bands” reunited, according to The New Yorker. Which stands to reason: Their music was appearing right alongside the sounds of the day in the average music lover’s flashy new iPod. A sample playlist from someone cool: “The Doors, My Bloody Valentine, Caribou, Paul McCartney & Wings, Peter Bjorn and John.”
Though you’d think that with all of this mind-blowing technology we would, as a people, continue surging ahead, creating new ways of experiencing art, forming new neural pathways leading to tolerance and enlightenment, destroying the old ways of thinking suggested by the old technological modes.
All we’ve been doing, though, is piloting our time machines to the recent past. See: Pixies, Black Sabbath, Sleater-Kinney, Outkast, The Replacements, and a few shows this week.
The downside, for those of us old enough to remember when MTV, terrestrial radio, and Rolling Stone ruled the world, is being forced to re-live the crap. For decades, I’ve successfully forgotten about the glorified cover songs crapped out back in the day by Puff Daddy, and here comes American Airlines Center, telling me he’s playing there Wednesday with a couple of other late-’90s R&B/hip-hop stars (Faith Evans, Mase, Lil Kim). Missing you? Hardly.
The upside –– and it can be a pretty big one –– is that we get to see the acts we couldn’t see back in the day because we were underage.
At The Bomb Factory on Saturday, Vanilla Ice headlines a bill that also includes Coolio, Tone “Wild Thing” Loc, Young “Bust a Move” MC, and 2 Live “Mother-Fucking” Crew.
Even better (“smoother”?), on that same night, The Lot in Mansfield hosts what’s being called a Yacht Rock Revival: Ambrosia, Player, Robbie “Steal Away” Dupree, and Matthew Wilder.
The weird thing about nostalgia is that it’s full of tricks. All of that soft rock I wrote off as “sissy la-la crap” back in the day is what I listen to now to lift my spirits. Nostalgia’s a helluva drug.
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