nostalgia? what’s that?

i read an interesting piece about nostalgia in the sunday times culture section (a day late, as usual). the writer said that she felt nothing when she heard that a band she loved as a teen would be (kind of) reforming. any performance now would only fall short of her expectations. instead she could turn to youtube or spotify and relive her teenage excitement. so that got me thinking whether or not i’d ever feel nostalgic for today’s music.

obviously i’m not a teen anymore, but still, music is as important to me today as it ever was a decade ago. while album’s like dre‘s 2001, eminem‘s the marshall mathers lp and all of jay-z‘s albums as far as the black album were fixtures in my various cd players over the years, few albums have remained in my ears for as long in recent times. maybe as a result of music becoming so available it’s become that bit more disposable. while there are a few albums that have warranted repeated listening, few seem imbued with the sort of joy and pain that true nostalgia evokes.

i guess the only track this year that has anything along those lines is tonight by the juan maclean. i wrote the following in a review a few months ago…

Tonight, the album’s centrepiece, drifts through on a host of melancholic instrumentation, as acid basslines are topped off with mournful trumpets and out of tune pianos, while Nancy Whang sings of “all the love in this place.”

something about that horn that comes in about two minutes in will always make me think of circling a roundabout on a number 67 (or 68) bus as i arrived at eccles during my my work placement earlier this year. that was maybe my second time hearing it, and already i felt like it was a piece of music i’d known and loved for years. haunting, beautiful, evocative… i could go on. i won’t.

The Juan MacLean – Tonight



2 responses to “nostalgia? what’s that?

  1. You’ve just sold that track to me. Nostalgia is funny. A lot of the music I like evokes nostalgic feelings too. I think that says more about me than the music, though. Chasing childhood rainbows or something. I know a lot of people who hate stuff like Boards of Canada for the same reason I like them.

    Because I am tone-deaf and understand little about musical composition I often end up mentally relating music to feelings or events, and the strongest, most vivid ones tend to be from childhood.

  2. Weirdly enough I never got the whole Boards = nostalgia thing, I always feel like I’m missing something whenever people mention that. Also unlike most acts I truly love, I’m not able to place exactly how I found them or where I first heard them. Funny that. I’ve probably said that before somewhere online…

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