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On Nostalgia In The Evolution of Music

@tags=music, philosophy

I looked up 2000's music yesterday on spotify. I am a child of the 80's and 90's and when I listen to music, I really lean heavy into those decades, and like most people when they hit middle age, they tune into the newest music on the radio, and feel that the music of their childhood is way superior.

We are now in the 2020's, and so the '00's music would be basically retro today, as depressing as that sounds. Also, admittedly, I don't know any of the music except for a few hits from the 2000's, so I was surprised to be enjoying the mix, where I was hating the current top 40's.

Then I was hit with a realization... and probably a pretty obvious realization.

This realization stemmed also from listening to top 40 countdowns by year from the 80's and 90's...

Whatever the time period, most music kinda sucks. Those songs from your childhood - they were the cream of the crop; the ultra-fit songs that survived the brutal process of musical natural selection. There are plenty of them, but they only account for 5% of the stuff that was playing on the radio all the time. This is why you remember them. It was exciting when something really good came on the radio.

This is why the 2000's top hits mix is so much better than what is in the top 40 today, and even without the rose colored lenses of nostalgia. They are the ones that people made sure to include in the mix, and it is chosen from a full 10 years of music. Radio stations that are playing the newest hits, aren't playing things from 4 years ago, because it has become dated and it isn't hip, but when that music graduates on to a decades channel when those that are young and hip now become adults, they will continue the trend of thinking their music was the best.

Yeah, nostalgia makes the decades you grew up in warm and fuzzy. But go back and listen to music of the 60's and 70's, eras you didn't grow up in, and that music is also fantastic, even if less familiar. It is simply that choosing the top 40 of a decade 10 years after that decade ends will result in a much better collection of music than if you are just choosing whatever is in vogue today.

This can be extended to movies, clothing fashions, cars, catch phrases, and anything. The stuff that was good enough to stick in your brain 10 years later has battled it out with whatever was cool at any time, and yeah it might have been played out at the time, you can be damn sure you are singing along and talking a yarn about how great it was today to your kids who just look at you as some senile old parent who just doesn't get it.

And thus the cycle goes on.