Oldies but Goodies

The music industry is constantly evolving. But then, why is it that so many of us can’t help but sing along to the classic “Hey Jude” or that we continue to play “Don’t Stop Believin’” at every party? So, what exactly is it that makes these oldies but goodies stand the test of time?

 

I often find myself wondering how it’s possible to be nostalgic for something I’ve never had. Whether it be longing to see cult classics like The Breakfast Club in cinemas or wishing I had been in the audience of the Ed Sullivan Show when The

Beatles gave their first iconic American performance, the feeling of wanting to experience these moments of a past I never belonged to is frequent. This isn’t to say I don’t love pop culture today because believe me, I really do. I’ll always brag about discovering One Direction before Harry Styles was the flawless rocker he is now or how I’ve been fortunate enough to meet three of the Harry Potter cast members. But why is it that so far in 2021, my favorite song is “Eight Days a Week,” a Beatles' track that was released way back in 1964?


Besides the given that it’s an absolute bop and that Paul McCartney's 5 octave range is unmatched (for perspective, powerhouses Harry Styles and Adele each have 3 octaves), I think there are a few reasons why I'm obsessed with "oldies" music. First off, I think it says a lot that songs like these have stood the test of time.

Songs always come on and off the radio faster than I can memorize the lyrics. Of course, apps like Spotify help because we can always go back and listen to our favorites on repeat, but at the same time, it offers us such a wide catalogue of music that we never have to hear the same song twice if we don't want. It’s great because as listeners, we never run out of new material. But, I do think the fact that people–especially people who weren’t even alive during some of these eras–keep returning to classics like The Beatles really speaks volumes to the songs of the past and their timeless messages.


I think the main reason has to do with the lyrics. Yes, we have some great lyricists today like Lewis Capaldi and Julia Michaels who never fail to amaze me, but for every song by people like them, we get an equally meh one. Not to signal anyone out, but if I have to listen to one more repetitive song with no meaning whatsoever that’s only meant for summer sales, I’m going to lose it. Where did the days of the

epic McCartney-Lennon songwriting duo go? What about Dolly Parton and Aretha Franklin hits? Taylor Swift is restoring my hope in songwriters with her revival of character driven narratives (see betty and champagne problems) which is an aspect I love so much of older music, so fingers crossed the trend continues.


Songs always come on and off the radio faster than I can memorize the lyrics. Of course, apps like Spotify help because we can always go back and listen to our favorites on repeat, but at the same time, it offers us such a wide catalogue of music that we never have to hear the same song twice if we don't want. It’s great because as listeners, we never run out of new material. But, I do think the fact that people–especially people who weren’t even alive during some of these eras–keep returning to classics like The Beatles really speaks volumes to the songs an of the past. . relevant today. Who knows, maybe in twenty years, my future kids will be jamming to “What Makes You Beautiful,” longing for the days of One Direction’s youth and thinking music just isn’t what it used to be way back in the