Recently I’ve made a striking discovery: listening to music from the nineties makes me feel good. I was both shocked and hurt this music had this effect on me. I mean, nostalgia is something old people have, right? Longing back to the 50s and 60s, the good times that will never return. To me, nostalgia was described in this song by Saltatio Mortis: ‘Früher war alles besser,’ in the past, everything was better. So how come my mood is lifted when I listen to music from my teenage years? My teenage years weren’t even that happy. I mostly remember emotions, hormones and lots of drama. Why does this music affect me so much? Why am I not immune to it?

1990s Music

Apparently, the first music you consciously choose to listen to yourself has the most impact on you. I was born in the early 1980s, so the music I listened to first has been in 1994/1995. Having had no previous exposure to pop music, I was introduced to the phenomenon by my friends. We actually bonded over the artists we listened to. We would listen to music and watch channels like MTV when it still showed music videos and their Dutch equivalent TMF. Together, we also went to teenage disco nights in a local community centre and, of course, our school dance nights.

Different Music Through The Years

I listened to an enormous amount of music during these years. So, let’s jump to 2021. Through the years, I encountered many new artists and broadened my music taste. I discovered German rock music I enjoyed and the harder metal and gothic genres. What I actually found the last couple of months was that music brought me little joy anymore. I thought it was due to getting older. It almost became a chore to find the right artists to listen to during the day. I thought: maybe I’m too depressed to enjoy it properly.

Then my neighbours played 90s music in their garden. Our houses are very close together, so I could hear the songs well. But you know what? It didn’t annoy me. Actually, I would sort of sing along and bob my head to the tunes. Why wasn’t I upset?

Song Pop Party

We recently began playing ‘Song Pop Party‘, and I loved identifying the 90s songs better than my husband and his family. And then I saw an ad for ’90s MTV’ being offered through my television service, and I found I was sad I couldn’t receive that channel. I could, but it would be too expensive for what it was.

90s Radio

So I turned on YouTube and searched for a stream of 90s music videos. That was fun, but I couldn’t find a ‘shuffle’ mode, so I continued searching. The answer was the ’90s’ Radio on Apple Music. That was perfect. It airs not just the big hits but also the more minor songs you will know, but you have no idea what they’re called. It’s the ultimate solution for someone longing to relive their youth.

How Could This Be?

As stated above, I thought I wouldn’t succumb to something as mundane as ‘nostalgia.’ I’m getting close to forty years old, but I’m not a senior yet. And like I also mentioned, I don’t recall my teenage years as a particularly happy time. I had mood swings, I was hormonal, I was always in love with the wrong one, and oh, the drama.
But despite all this, some songs from this era make me happy. Often without any particular memory linked to it, it does bring a smile to my face. I did have a lot of fun in the 1990s. I hung out with my friends, we goofed together, we had sleepovers. There were many ‘firsts.’ Our first pop concert, the first time shopping in Amsterdam without supervision, going on holidays together, with a parent present, but still.

Application of Nostalgia

My plan is to make use of these nostalgic feelings but in a smart way. I mean, I’ve seen people succumb to feelings of nostalgia and really wanting to go back to a previous time. I don’t want to go there. But I like the uplifting mood 90s music puts me in, and god knows I can use some uplifting now and then. Life is dark and dreary enough as it is. So please let me enjoy the ‘Macarena’ and ‘Wannabe’ and afterwards I’ll return to my dark place. Life is complicated enough as it is.

Links used in this post:
link – https://www.southampton.ac.uk/nostalgia/index.page

link – https://www.reddit.com/r/explainlikeimfive/comments/22030v/eli5_what_is_nostalgia_how_does_it_work_and_why/


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