Our lack of music nostalgia

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, November 23, 2021, 11:09 PM | comments: 0

I got tickets to see Tears For Fear and Garbage in the spring. I saw the former once in high school, the latter six or seven times. I would consider the second and third TFF albums to be among the best ever. Thirty plus years later I still think they're pretty good. Garbage I would say that Strange Little Birds (2016), their second to last album, is about as good as their debut (1995). That's a big spread, 21 years.

But the weird thing for me is that it's about as nostalgic as I get. I don't listen to really anything that I did in high school, which included a lot of Def Leppard, Depeche Mode, Debbie Gibson (I was into the D's) and various R&B and rap artists. Some of this might have to do with the fact that I graduated in 1991, which you may recall was the year that Nirvana's Nevermind and Pearl Jam's Ten came out. The pivot of rock music to something a lot less produced and shiny was quick and brutal for the hair bands. Alternative radio became a thing, and it kind of reminded me of some of the new wave and progressive stuff of the 80's, only with more female led bands. I loved it.

There are definitely some albums from my college years that I still lean on, including James' Seven, a few of the Radiohead records, REM's Out Of Time, The Breeders Last Splash, Nine Inch Nails The Downward Spiral and basically the whole catalog of Toad The Wet Sprocket. But really, I've never stopped looking for new things. It's not just me, either. Diana is largely in the same boat. It's kind of hard to even find the new things now, especially since we dropped SiriusXM and AltNation, which was starting to get boring and homogeneous anyway (how many emo bands that sound exactly the same and/or include Travis Barker do we really need?).

This year has been especially dismal for one-offs and singles that we like. Our annual playlist only has 22 songs. It was a great year for some great albums, fortunately, and I still love to lose myself in 40 minutes or more of music.

Nostalgia is clearly still a big deal, and it sells arenas and stadiums. I don't know if I'm typical for my Gen-X peers, but the idea of going to a show to see Poison or Motley Crue is not something that will ever appeal to me. Even Tears For Fears is a little bit of a stretch, were it not for the brilliance of Seeds of Love. Garbage is still making music, though they do lean hard on the first two albums for their shows.

This year I was excited to hear new things from Wolf Alice, Halsey and even a very different album from Foo Fighters. Grouplove's latest is still growing on me too. I've never bought a Glass Animals album but I love all of their stuff. Hopefully these artists, and others I've never heard of, can keep feeding my new things, because I'm not really interested in going back.


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