Retro, Futuristic, Nostalgia or Nowtro?
“Remember when you were young, you shone like the sun…”
Is there a reason new music stops being life altering after one hits the age of 40? There are lots of really fantastic albums and songs being released right now but none…none are ever going to reach the heights of those from my youth. I know it. And even though music ceases to alter my life in any measurable way that doesn’t mean I don’t still enjoy it. Heck, some, like the new Daft Punk album Random Access Memories even gets me pretty excited. But I still have found myself going back to the old standbys more and more, and the new stuff less and less.
More people are reverting to those tried and true albums of their youth. And more bands are mining the past (a polite way of saying “butt raping the past”), especially the ‘80’s at the moment, in order to find inspiration. Steven Wilson, he of Porcupine and great new solo album The Raven That Refused To Sing (and other stories) fame, says there’s an answer for that:
“There is sense now that we’ve reached the end of a path in terms of what is potentially possible to do with the pop or rock music form in terms of innovating and breaking boundaries. Another “Golden Period” for me sort of began in the mid-to-late ‘60’s with Pet Sounds, Sgt. Pepper’s, and Revolver, and it kind of ended as recently as the mid ‘90’s, with the explosion of electronic music following from the late ‘80’s and early ‘90’s.
Since then, music has been more nostalgia-based. There are very few barriers are left to be broken, and very few hybrids to be created between different forms of music. And that was one of the things that kept music going for awhile: we had hybrids of metal and hip-hop, country and pop, all those other sorts of things. Most hybrids now have been tried by somebody—successfully or otherwise—and most extremes have been visited, as in the case of Japanese noise music, pure bubblegum pop, drone music, and death metal. All the experimentation has largely been done.
What are we left with now? We’re left with personality; we’re left with musicians that are somehow able to make the existing forms seem fresh by virtue of being strung through their musical personality. So now in a sense we’re in a kind of YouTube generation where the past is all available to us with a click of a few buttons, and that becomes very powerful: futurism becomes retro-futurism. People looking for inspiration are no longer looking to the now, they’re looking to the past.”
Is it true? Yeah, I think it is. Is that a bad thing? Depends on your age…