July 15, 2003
More on Music and Nostalgia

Planetary Brian writes a rumination on attending reunion tours:

It might just be me and my obsession with memory, but I think the reason we go has less to do with the music and more to the memories we had with/through the music. Hearing old Dead Milkmen tracks reminds me of summers in the basement singing along; cranking the Violent Femmes first album reminds me of getting drunk for the first time. At some point the quality of the music is lost - it just becomes a vehicle to channel how you felt.

Far be it from me to argue with someone who confesses to being obsessed with memory (because I am, too!). There's a lot to be said for nostalgia. I admit that I enjoyed the feeling of going back to the QAX studios at X, and even farther back to the days of sitting in the hallway outside my dorm room with friends listening to CVB. Heck, I am even enjoying Mike's ruminations about the Vulgar Boatmen (a band I didn't realize he liked at the time) because it reminds me of some of the first shows I ever went to when I'd just turned 21.

But, perhaps for the same reasons I used to be a DJ at a failing cable radio station that no one listened to, I have to maintain that on some level it still is about the music. If it's not, then we're just wallowing in the past and wishing ourselves into irrelevance.

Not everything ages well, and not everything retains its meaning (if it ever had any to begin with). But if you're lucky, some things retain their intrinsic meaning, or they take on new meanings. And some things just need to be said. For instance, in 1989 CVB's "Sweethearts" was a sweet song with a certain element of dread, and Saturday night I thought it was still prescient in light of our current wildly militaristic government.

'Cause he's living in some B-movie
The lines they are so clearly drawn
In black and white life is so easy
And we're all coming along on this one

Angels wings are icing over
McDonnell-Douglas olive drab
They bear the names of our sweethearts
And the captain smiles, as we crash

'Cause in the mind of Ronald Reagan
Wheels they turn and gears they grind
Buildings collapse in slow motion
And the trains collide, everything is fine

Do the kids of today feel this way? (I hope so; hate to think my generation was setting a new precedent for self importance.) 20 years from now, will we be talking fondly about the far-seeing lyrics of Coldplay? Your guess is as good as mine.

Posted at July 15, 2003 08:31 PM