Skip to main content

". . if I ever start referring to these as the best years of my life, remind me to kill myself."

Nathan wrote a piece on a couple of movies released this year that are set in the nineties. Also examining nostalgia in general, he makes some excellent points about why a movie like American Graffiti worked so well in 1973. Simply, these movies are looks at times long since passed and a characterization of more "innocent" times.

But I must say -- not forgetting the fact that I love American Graffiti, The Last Picture Show, and Dazed and Confused, and how I've spent the last four years of my life chronicling post-hardcore before it became commercialized -- nostalgia can be an evil, misleading mindset.

I have not seen The Wackness or August, the two films Nathan mentions that are set in the nineties. That's not really the point at hand. The point at hand is, setting a film in a day and age that was before 9/11 and George W. Bush's time as president. Whether or not that's really going back to a more "innocent" time is in the eye of the beholder. I'm sure there are people who think that way, and that's fine. I think the reason why movies like American Graffiti and Dazed and Confused hold up really well today is because they go beyond the pop culture and vibe of the day and capture a timeless feeling: the twilight of youth.

For me, I can't fully believe that any of my previous twenty-eight years on this planet were flat-out innocent. I might have been innocent, but the world as a whole wasn't.

In the eighties, when I was getting into pop music through Janet Jackson, INXS, and Men at Work on my Walkman radio, and watching Star Wars, Buckaroo Banzai, and Back to the Future over and over again on Beta, there were college students who hated hair metal, preferred for Down By Law over Lethal Weapon, and counted the days until Reagan was out of office. In the nineties, rock music went deeper with me as Nirvana's Nevermind came out when I was in seventh grade and in full-blown puberty. I'm sure there were plenty of people older than me who thought the major labels were exploiting a sound that so many bands before Nirvana had refined.

Basically, it's all about your perspective, and most importantly, the context of the day.

I cannot stress how important context is. In my case, on one hand, my life in college was a lot of fun. Hanging out with people I'd never met before college, working in college radio, being exposed to movies I never saw for rent at Blockbuster, seeing the rise of MP3 sharing, etc. On the other hand, there was a lot of college angst, loneliness, and strained relationships going in my life as well. I'm not saying it was an all-out crappy time, but it wasn't all smiles. The same can be said with my post-college life in 2002. On one hand, I had more time to hang out with my friends who were still in college. . . . And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, the Strokes, and the Hives had incredible records out. But it was probably one of the lowest periods of my life where I felt so worthless because I didn't have a full-time job.

My point is, nostalgia can make people long for a time prior to today and make the present seem hopeless and past the point of no return. I argue that's the nostalgia trap corrupting your memories. And it can continue if you fully believe your best days are behind you. All we have is the present. Besides, how can we say we're living in the present with our in heads almost completely in the past? (I know I'm one to talk, seeing as how it takes a while for me to get over stuff from the past, but I'm just saying.)

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Catherine Wheel

Originally posted: Tuesday, August 29th, 2006 Despite managing to release five proper albums, Catherine Wheel was one of those bands that always seemed to slip past the mainstream rock crowd. Yes, they got some nice airplay in their day, but people seem to have forgotten about them. You may hear “Black Metallic” or “Waydown” on a “classic alternative” show on Sirius or XM or maybe even on terrestrial radio, but that’s about it. For me, they were one of most consistent rock bands of the ’90s, meandering through shoegazer, hard rock, space rock and pop rock, all while eluding mainstream pigeonholing. Led by the smooth, warm pipes of vocalist/guitarist Rob Dickinson (cousin of Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson), Catherine Wheel featured Brian Futter on lead guitar, Dave Hawes on bass and Neil Sims on drums. They weren’t a pretty-boy guitar band, but they weren’t a scuzzy bunch of ragamuffins either. Though the band hailed from England, Catherine Wheel found itself more welcome on American air

I ain't got no crystal ball

I've never been a big fan of Sublime's reggae-punk-ska, but I feel bad for their hardcore fans. Billboard reports that a four-disc box set featuring previously released and unreleased material is on the way. How is this a bad thing? Well, the number of posthumous vault-raiding collections greatly outnumber the band's proper releases. That usually isn't a problem, but the quality of them is very suspect. When they were together, the band recorded three proper albums, Robbin' the Hood , 40 Oz. to Freedom and Sublime . Sublime would be the band's breakthrough record with the mainstream, but that success was very bittersweet. Shortly before its release, frontman/guitarist/songwriter Bradley Nowell died of a heroin overdose. In the following years, the effects of apparently a bad record deal have yielded compilation after compilation. Here's the rundown so far: Second Hand Smoke (1997) Stand By Your Van -- Sublime Live in Concert (1998) Sublime Acoustic: Br

Best of 2021

  Last year, my attention span was not wide enough to listen to a lot of LPs from start to finish. Too much went on in 2020 to focus on 10-15 albums, so I went with only a couple to spotlight. Well, 2021 was a little better, as I have a list of top four records, and a lot of individual tracks.  (I made a lengthy Spotify playlist ) So, without further ado, here’s my list of favorites of the year: Albums Deafheaven, Infinite Granite (listen) Hands down, my favorite album of the year. I was not sure where Deafheaven would go after another record that brought My Bloody Valentine and death metal fans together, but they beautifully rebooted their sound on Infinite Granite. The divisive goblin vocals are vastly pared-down here, as are the blast beats. Sounding more inspired by Slowdive, the band has discovered a new sonic palette that I hope they explore more of in the future. It’s a welcome revelation. I still love their older material, but this has renewed my love of what these guys do.  J