A piece by Rachel Brodsky for Stereogum addressing the Kate Bush "Running Up That Hill" hoo-ha and other signs that "everything old is new again, and everything new is out of luck"
It references the Ted Gioia /Atlantic piece titled “Is Old Music Killing New Music?” from earlier this year (which I discussed / quoted here) and likewise explores the "resurfaced" life of old tunes off the back of TV needledrops, TikTok memificaitons, the sale of legacy artists's catalogues for "hundreds of millions", the dominance of deep catalogue in streaming stats.
Brodksy writes; "I think what separates earlier instances of “bringback” culture from the one we’re currently in is that this one feels much more permanent. We might see more microtrends b/w/o dance challenges and memes, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that older music is way more accessible for all in 2022 than it was in 1992. That’s why “genre-fluid” musicians such as Billie Eilish, Post Malone, and Lil Uzi Vert have been popping up right and left over the last few years. Today’s popular artist frequently draws influence from across the genre spectrum because they’ve spent their lives immersed in 10 record stores’ worth of material. It used to be that rap producers had to go crate-digging to find obscure funk and soul tracks with which to build a new song. Today, it’s literally never been easier to find old music and treat it as new."
This discourse is itself becoming a kind of revival movement, a deja loop, a groundhog grind!
I wonder if this creeping anxiety about retro-as-necrosis and Zeitgeist failure will ever fade?
It's like the collective muscle memory of a generation that still has some faint lingering feeling for ideas like the Next Big Thing, forward-facing movements in music, the supercession of styles and era-epistemes etc.
But presumably for people who have only ever known atemporality - younger people - these kind of complaints and worries will not compute at all, by a certain point. The past and the present will coexist as this flattened field of stuff to dip into at will.
Perhaps then, finally, the well of retrotalk will dry up. So there might be a retrotalk2023 series of posts, and retrotalk2024.... But retrotalk2030?