The Blinding Effect of Nostalgia in Music

The world is becoming the hell-in-a-hand-basket we’re constantly being told we’re heading towards; Brexit. Trump. Freddo’s are about £2.79 each, and as a human race, we are seemingly more divided than ever. But one thing we’ve all heard someone say is; “Music was so much better back in my day”, aka nostalgia.

Is that the reason then, we are constantly looking into the past, yearning for days gone by? Has this attitude seeped into our spectacle lenses, and tinted them with a rose glow? Well, when it comes to these following examples, I’d have to say yes.

This form of nostalgia is powerful stuff – but before we get into it, we first need to define what we’re classing ‘nostalgia’ as. For the purpose of this post, nostalgia is; “songs/bands/albums you listened to when you were younger, adored, but if were brought out today you wouldn’t give the time of day”. It’s a retro-active form of hipster-ism, but let’s give a few examples from my personal stash.

Photo by Simone Acquaroli on Unsplash

Pop Punk
A genre that never ceases to pull me back in, is pop punk. I fucking love pop-punk. Remember when people used to go into a store and buy music in person? I think it was called a ‘Compak Diss’ or something…CD for short anyway.

Pop punk was difficult to sniff out because it never got filed under it’s own ‘pop punk’ genre. It was either amongst the Britney Spears & Spice Girls pop section, or just alphabetised among everything else. But once you found it, there were some real gems. The whole genre was dedicated to addressing the feelings of angsty teens, who had a ‘middle-finger-to-authority’ personality, and spent their weekends skating. Or a teen like me, who had a ‘middle-class-respect-for-authority’, fantasised about telling a teacher to fuck themselves, & could only pretend to skateboard on Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater.

Top 5 Nostalgia Picks:

  • Avril Lavigne: Let Go (name a twenty something who didn’t have a crush on her when they were younger)
  • Good Charlotte: The Young and the Hopeless
  • Sum 41: All Killer No Filler
  • blink 182: Enema of the State (if you were barely 7/8 years old when you got your hands on this album like me, then you had to be very inventive with hiding the album case).
  • Lit: A Place in the Sun

BONUS: Stacy’s Mom by Fountain’s of Wayne may have single-handedly kickstarted puberty for millions of boys, me included. Have a guess why…

On that note, let’s move on.

Picture the scene. It’s 2008/09. School has just broken up for summer. You’ve managed to get your hands on some Glen’s vodka by asking a dodgy man with a hole in his beanie hat to buy it for you. You’re texting people on your Sony Ericsson Walkman phone. Girls are wearing foundation on their lips. Kidulthood is considered to be the best film ever fucking made. The choice of song on your MySpace profile could make or break whether you were classed as a dickhead or not. You’re getting ready to go and get pissed up in a park with people from your year.

I tell you what though, if you’re a twenty something reading this, but this wasn’t how your weekends were in secondary school, you were missing out…on some questionable life choices.

But I digress, what playlist do you put on while you get ready?

Channel U
Before SB:TV and Jamal Edwards, there was Channel U (now Channel AKA). It would play all the latest urban music videos, from Skepta to Fugative. Want to know where Tinie Tempah started off, before jet-setting around the world and being plastered all over MTV? It was on this channel right here.

You could call in and choose what music video to played next, from hits that pretty much exclusively came from London artists. Here’s a few ‘links ‘(10 nostalgia points if you can work out what this used to mean back in the day), for you to get a taster of what was on.

Bad Channel U Songs:

Look, they’re bad. How do I know they’re bad? Well, have you heard the latest single from Aggro Santos or Imperial Squad…? No, me neither. But people loved listening to them.

Tapping into the objective, Cynically Sound, part of my brain, allows me to see these songs for what they are. But nostalgia takes a hold of my ears whenever they’re played, creating a warm familiar fuzz in my stomach.

Having said that, Channel U provided a platform for urban music that no one else would touch. Sure, some of the tracks were throwaway to say the least, but they gave airtime to the likes of; Kano, Akala, Wiley, Skepta, Dizzee Rascal & Wretch 32. They were pioneers of the genre, and if it wasn’t for their exposure, then grime may have been confined permanently to the realm of underground obscurity.

Nostalgia Trippin’
So next time you’re listening to an album that transports you back to your youth, or a song comes on that makes you feel 14 again, ask yourself if you’d like it if it came out today? Then, whatever the answer is. Disregard it, because who gives a fuck? Music is about feeling, and if you’re feeling it, then it doesn’t matter what a jumped up music critic has to say about it.

Just acknowledge it for what it is…