Pop music has a knack of being relatable to an array of listeners, often written about lost love and aching hearts it is something we can all cling to. This link that is created between our emotions and the music we listen to through personal situations makes nostalgia inevitable. You can’t not listen to ‘that’ song without thinking straight back to ‘that’ person. The definition of nostalgia, ‘A sentimental longing or wistful affection for a period in the past.’ (The Oxford Dictionary), can be revised when speaking about music. The past, present and future become blurred as a listener, demonstrated by the story that runs through our minds when hearing a beloved song. A personal example of this is when I hear ‘Waves’ by Mr Probz. Firstly, it takes me to the holiday I first came across the song and memories come folding in, then I start to relate the lyrics to situations I’m in at present and how they could progress in the future, as if the song tells my story. This creates a sense of ownership over records and makes it clear why fan culture is flourishing, as many individuals hear their problems and find the solutions through music. A close bond with specific artists is formed in people’s minds, as in their eyes that person has helped them through a tough situation.
Reynolds speaks about the notion of music museums and how they fail to provide a truly nostalgic experience, which is in accordance with reality as nostalgia derives from personal experiences, and a place that is designed for public viewing is the furthest thing from that. He asks ‘Can such an apocalyptic rupture be contained within the filing system of an archive and still retain its essence…?’ (Reynolds, S), putting forward the point that museums take away the spirit of the music. However, I believe that although museums of music may strip away the soul of a song, it forces them to tell a different story and bring forward emotions that we may not realise are nostalgic, as they are felt collectively rather than just for the individual. The evolution of music is in conjunction with historical changes in the world and society, and can be shown by which genre is most popular throughout different eras.
During a time of urbanisation in the late 20th century music shifted from being sophisticated and classical to being ‘loud, forceful, and energetic’ (Rentfrow. Goldberg. Levitin.). This shift comes with the various changes in society, including the fall in religion, causing a new age of acceptance and optimism. In ‘Music and Revolution’, Robin D.Moore spoke about music in socialist Cuba and how ‘the ‘slippage,’ or disconnect, between the state socialist societies ostensibly strive for through the arts’. This displays the relationship between historical events and music, people will write about how they feel towards circumstances effecting them in the world, whether personal or collective. A strong example of this in the modern day would be The Black Eyed Peas coming back together in 2016 for a re-release of their hit ‘Where is The Love?’, a new version made up of numerous influential people singing the song to combat the issue of police brutality against the black community (Brennan, A). In years to come, people will be able to look back on that record and remember the harrowing events of 2016 and the Black Lives Matter campaign; the perfect recipe for nostalgic reflection.
The Oxford dictionary. (1992). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Reynolds, S. (2012) Retromania: Pop Culture’s Addiction to Its Own Past. London: Faber.
Rentfrow, P. Goldberg, L. Levitin, D. (2011) The Structure of Musical Preferences: A Five Factor Model.
D.Moore, R. (2006) Music and Revolution: Cultural Change in Socialist Cuba.
Brennan, A. Every person who appears in The Black Eyed Peas star-studded 2016 remake of ‘Where is the Love?’ Retrieved April 01, 2017, from http://www.gq-magazine.co.uk/article/black-eyed-peas-where-is-the-love-2016