I saw an interesting comment over the weekend. Someone mentioned that MP3 players collapse decades into a single mash: all your favorite songs from the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, and Aughts in the palm of your hand, available for endless rotation in your ears. Over the holiday, I put both the full Beatles stereo boxset on my Zune, plus the great “Monsters of Folk” collaboration by current greats Mike Mogis, Conor Oberst, M.Ward. and Yim Yames (trying hard not to let John, Paul, George, and Ringo crush those 4 dudes in my affections).
Someone asked whether this means nostalgia now rules, or whether it’s on the verge of overkill. My thought is that nostalgia was always an artifact of inaccessibility. The past always feels sweeter when you can’t fully recall it. When it’s a struggle to reconnect with it, it somehow feels more precious, and the too-accessible present more crass.
My feeling is that the corpus of human artistic expression—past and present, frozen and evolving—must always be readily at hand. Only then do you realize that now, and all the fresh new creation—easily stands up to the old.