Nostalgia Prevents Progression

Ahh, nostalgia, how nice you are, yet how unbelievably stupid and annoying!!

Nostalgia is defined as a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations.

So basically anytime you experienced something blissful for the first time, and more or less your entire childhood falls under this tyrannical word…nostalgia.

Do I have nostalgic feelings? Absolutely! But I have no problem thinking back to the things I am nostalgic about and realizing that maybe things weren’t so great.

But I seem to be in the minority. People hold on to their nostalgia for life. This is a serious problem, for I feel it prevents progression; I mean this in terms of media and life.

If you are always looking back in the past, always reminiscing about better days, then you will never learn to like anything again and will be forever miserable, for you will always be longing to find something that makes you feel the way that first time you felt whatever it was when you were a kid or whatever. Now add years of nostalgia on top of that happy memory and/or feeling, and your brain deludes you into thinking it was greater than it ever actually was. This effect increases over time, for your actual memory of the event or object or what have you fades, thus leaving only the feelings you had for that, resulting in a cozy little nest for nostalgia to settle in to.

This reminds me of heroin…that’s right, I am saying nostalgia is heroin. They say heroin addicts are constantly using, trying to achieve that first high they ever got from the drug, for that it was the greatest thing they have ever experienced and all theey want is to re-experience it. But they never do, and then they end up dead from an overdose.

Nostalgia is exactly the same, is it not? Though do not worry, I’m rather certain you can’t die from an overdose of nostalgia.

I fortunately/unfortunately have a brother who is like the most nostalgic person I know. He hates everything new because he has such strong feelings for all the things we had or experienced as little kids that he thinks everything else is complete and utter trash.

I am referring to media, like movies. He swears all these movies we watched as children are so amazing and wonderful. While some of them are, a lot of them are not. I mean for little kids they are great, but as adults, they are annoying and impossible to sit through.

tmnt 2Now when I watch a movie that I absolutely loved from my childhood and come to find it’s terrible, I admit I feel disappointed that it wasn’t as good as I remember, but then I immediately get over it. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 was one of my favorite movies of all time when I was young. But I watched the movie about 10 years later, when I was an adult, and found it to be borderline terrible.

Now, I just accept this and move on. Big deal. My feelings on movies when I was 5 versus 25 are going to be different. But people like my brother- they just focus so much on their initial feelings from when we first saw the movie that I am not even sure they are actually watching it, but instead are wandering through some nostalgic wonderland, thinking off all the great times they had as kids and what not.

Now, we could just have differing opinions on things, but this happens on just about everything.

Another example is the SNES. We really only had this console growing up. It was an amazing console back in the 90’s and it certainly still is today. I still play mine, but I have no problems moving on to other consoles and games.

My brother, however, is so nostalgic over the SNES and its many fine games on it, that he won’t even entertain the thought of playing other games. Super Mario World, A Link to the Past, and Super Metroid are probably his 3 favorite games, and they are without a doubt three of the best games ever made. But he absolutely refuses to play any Mario, Zelda or Metroid games made afterwards, as if their very existence is an insult to his childhood. Even if he watches a trailer, he will watch the first 10 seconds and turn it off in disgust. If it isn’t a game for SNES, then it is no good, so he thinks.

But this is not entirely true. Another game we played as kids was the WarCraft, Diablo and StarCraft series, so he loves these games too.

blizzard franchises

Literally all he plays, 20 years later, is all our old SNES games and the Blizzard games for PC, disgusted by everything else out there, with a few exceptions.

He despises Nintendo now, because they dared to move on from the SNES and evolve, like all companies must do to survive.

-UPDATE-

I was talking with my cousin about Mario Odyssey, and my brother was listening in. He sarcastically said, “Yeah, throwing his hat is so cool. Remember when he did that in the old games?”

This just goes to show you how blinding nostalgia is. Really, that comment can be translated to, “How dare they progress and do something different.” I mean seriously, that is an unbelievably stupid thing to say and makes no sense whatsoever.

-END UPDATE-

Which brings me back to my fear of progression and lack there of. My brother is hardly alone in these blinding, nostalgic feelings. That is why so many companies are trying to force nostalgia into their products, to trick that little kid still living in all of us into purchasing whatever it is. This is not really a bad thing, but again, if we are so focused on the past, we can never truly experience something brand new, fresh and exciting. But most people are afraid of change and would rather feel something familiar when charting new territory, and I understand that, but how long must we be tethered to the past?

And anyway, bringing back old things makes them less special. Now that they are in the here and now, it makes the original lose some of it’s charm. But most people will disagree, because they still have that huge nostalgic feeling clouding their brain. Even if what they are reliving is exactly the same as when they first experienced, it will not be the same to them, swearing it is different, and that is simply because of the nostalgic feelings associated with the original.

And don’t dare try to remake or update anything so sacred. People will immediately hate it, just for being different, whether the product is good or not. Like the new Nintendo games, they are doing nothing but insulting their good memories and childhoods. How often do you hear “the original is the best” or something along those lines. The Halloween remake and Ghostbusters remake comes to mind when thinking about this. And they are just two in a very enormous list.

star wars

A perfect example is the Star Wars movies. The original trilogy came out to unbelievable praise and they are probably the most famous movies in history. Then the Special Editions came out, and for literally no reason that I can fathom, a lot of people hated them. That is because of nostalgia once again. LucasFilm dared to change such sacred movies. And really, all they did was more or less put in bigger explosions and add some more creatures. How is that a negative in anyway? Because it insults peoples nostalgic feelings, that’s how!

And then the prequels came out, and everyone hates them. The special editions were forgivable, because it was really the movies fans knew and loved. But now, they got a dose of something different. Most of the complaints about the prequels are completely ridiculous, and no matter how hard I try, I can’t understand why so many people hate them. Until I realized the cause was most likely nostalgia.

I spent my early childhood watching the crap out of the original trilogy. I loved them then and I still do. I love the prequels just as much, if not more. They gave me everything I wanted that the original three lacked. But I see so many people who hate them because they don’t give them the same feeling they got from when they first saw Star Wars. My brother has only seen the prequels once or twice when they first came out, and he hates them, and it’s all because of his nostalgic feelings for 4-6. He doesn’t even remember the movies anymore, but he hates them real bad. To me, if you can’t remember why you hate something, then you mustn’t actually hate it. But that’s what nostalgia wants you to think.

The prequels were a change in formula for the series, but still very much felt like Star Wars, which to me is perfect for when someone makes something new within an existing universe. As long as you are not left wondering where the heck you are, then I welcome all the new stuff.

But then we get to the more recent Episode 7: The Force Awakens. I remember watching the movie in complete awe from beginning to end. This is because first and foremost, I absolutely love Star Wars and have been wanting another trilogy since I first watched Return of the Jedi, but then secondly, because Disney filled the crap out of this movie with nostalgia. It took about an hour after the movie for my nostalgia to wear off and then I realized what a disappointing movie it is. They took hardly any risks with the movie, if any, and gave us Episode 4.1. And people love every minute of it.

Don’t get me wrong, I still love the movie, but it is by far the worst out of the 7. The point I am trying to make here is that progression failed here, because Disney was too worried about appealing to all the nostalgia ridden people who hated the prequels to actually make something new. And it paid off for them, which is what really scares me for the upcoming episode 8, which seems to be not a far cry off from Empire Strikes Back, but I will reserve judgement until I see the movie, of course.

And for the heck of it, I will throw in one more example of how nostalgia blinds people. I am going to mention that good ol’ rapper, Eminem.

He kind of owned the world back in the very late 90’s and early 00’s. His second major album, the Marshal Mathers LP was when he really took off. It reached diamond and I think it still holds the record for fastest selling album. You couldn’t go anywhere at that time without hearing his songs on the radio, the TV, or just people singing them.

eminemFast forward to today and he’s released a whole lot more albums and I think another should be coming out very soon. In any case, his talents as a rapper have increased rather substantially. He is a far, far better artist than he was 20 years ago. But guess what everyone’s favorite album is, (including my brother’s)? That’s right, the MM LP. Again, I am not saying that that album is nothing less than amazing, but most of his stuff after that has completely destroyed that album. But people hang on to that nostalgia of when they first heard of Eminem and that amazing feeling they got when they heard “My Name Is”and “The Real Slim Shady” for the first time. It doesn’t help matters that Eminem was so controversial and almost taboo that every kid who owned his album was looked up to as some kind of bad ass god. That will certainly swell the nostalgic feelings a bit.

But thank goodness Eminem only focuses on the music and getting better, otherwise, he would hold himself back to please all the nostalgic people who loved his early stuff so much. Thus progression would be thwarted. But this has indeed happened to many artists anyway.

And the best part is…even if someone made something exactly like the thing fans were nostalgic for, even if it was everything good about the original and more…it still would displease them. The creators would be accused of trying to change the original…like a remake, accusing them of being out of ideas. But if they do progress and make something new, better or not, they are lynched for changing and moving on from what has been held so beloved by people.

In other words…nostalgia can not be beat. It has a grip on too many people, and no one can take down something so overwhelmingly powerful.

But I shall conclude my thoughts now. I am not saying nostalgia is a bad thing. It can truly be wonderful. But don’t let that stop you from trying new things and adventuring forth in a world that could have so much more to offer, and who knows, maybe you’ll find something better? You just have to let go of pointless attachments to memories from years and years ago. If you do, they will still be there, but you will see and think more clearly and be more open to just about everything. There is always room to share in that brain of yours, and your heart…

 

 

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Attention Musical Artists-Enough With the “Hidden” Songs Already!

Anyone who owns at least a few cds knows what I am talking about here. Those annoying and entirely pointless “hidden” songs that are usually stuck at the end of a regular song, but there’s like 7 minutes of nothing separating them. And some songs even have the nerve to have a regular song, nothing, a small something, nothing again, and then some more small little pieces of audio. And some just pointlessly have nothing at the end of these long spells of blankness, just to trick us.

I am writing this to beg these oh so clever artists to CUT IT OUT!!

It is entirely pointless. If you really want to add an extra song, then put it on it’s own separate track! But most of the time it is a short 1 minute song, or some other stupid audio of some kind. If that’s the case, then leave it off the album all together! If it is not important enough to you to place it on it’s own separate track, then it doesn’t need to be there at all! You are not giving us a special treat by hiding something at the end of a song. No one is going to just let it sit out for an obscenely long time with no music, waiting to hear that short little ditty you wanted to surprise us with.

And then there’s bands like Coheed and Cambria, who thought it would be funny to actually make tracks 12-22 on their second album a few seconds of nothing, and even naming them A Whole Lot of Nothing 1-10, or something like that, before giving us a song on track number 23. But this is almost tolerable, because you can just skip the tracks, and even if you don’t, they probably just equate to a minute which is still shorter than most gaps of nothing. But what makes it worth it, is we are treated to one of the best songs they’ve ever come out with at the end of the empty rainbow, and it’s like 9 minutes long to boot!

But still, wouldn’t it have just been better to just have it right there at track 12, instead of pointlessly putting it on 23?

And bands like the Bled do crap like having a short little song, then repeating the last 2 measures of the song for over 20 minutes before something new happens. I don’t know if this is worse or better. I remember the first time I listened to that song, I was driving home from work, and was just waiting for something to happen. At the time, I only had a 15 minute commute and it was still repeating that part by the time I got home. I fast forwarded it afterwards to discover that a song that could have been over in under 3 minutes was like over 32 minutes. Why? And is it better to hear the same thing over and over again, or nothing at all? When you are hearing something, it tricks you into thinking that something is coming, where as a whole lot of nothing means you know nothing is going to happen until the last minute. But come on, why? Is that really how you thank your fans who support you and buy your music?

I mean, all this is such a common thing that has persisted for decades. Enough is enough already. It’s not cool, it’s not surprising, it’s nothing but aggravating and extremely stupid.

According to my iTunes, I have 5321 songs, which I listen to on my iPod with shuffle. And I swear, like every 15-20 songs, I encounter one of these awesome songs. So now I either have to fast forward to the hidden audio, or skip the song. Both of which are extremely hard to do since they stopped making the wonderful iPod Classic, forcing me to buy the bullcrap, unnecessary, feature filled iPod touch, which is so unresponsive and precise, that it is impossible to really do anything you want it to on the first few tries.

And mind you, I am driving when I have to change the song. So you dumb bands are putting people at risk of getting into collisions and possibly killing ourselves or others while we struggle to fast forward through the unnecessary nothingness on our crappy idevices, all because you bands try to be so cool.

Next time you want to try it, think about how much blood will be on your hands if you do!

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Thanks bands…thanks Apple.

Artists Whose Talents Greatly Increased Between Albums, Part 4

Phew, it’s been a while since I’ve done one of these. You can check out part 1, 2 and 3 listed here if you’re curious. Now let’s see what other great talents need to be recognized.

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“Common Courtesy” (2013) by A Day To Remember

Genre: Metal, Hardcore, Pop Punk, Screamo, Progressive

A Day To Remember have always been okay to me, with the exception of one of their albums. They had a rocky start for sure, struggling to find a consistent, flowing sound. But their incredibly catchy clean vocals always made them fun and easy to listen to. It wasn’t until this album came out that they really showed what they could do. This is the album that everyone was waiting for, using the perfect blend of hardcore and pop punk that they have been searching for for years. Every song is creative, unique, emotional and just awesome. The music is the best they’ve ever done and there isn’t one dull moment on the album. After fans had to be kept waiting for years due to a legal battle with Victory Records, we weren’t left disappointed. For an album debuting their own, brand new record label, it couldn’t have been more perfect.

 

still_searching

“Still Searching” (2007) by Senses Fail

Genre: Post-Hardcore, Punk/Pop

I can still remember the first time I listened to this album, and I still get amazed every time I hear a song off or it 10 years later. Their debut album was a decent, enjoyable album, nothing too special, but good. And I loved it anyway. Then Senses Fail took us by surprise with Still Searching. It was like listening to a completely new and redefined band, yet still having their original central sound mixed in there. Every song is nothing short of amazing. The worst song to me is “Can’t Be Saved” and that is like one of their biggest singles. So take that into consideration to figure out how good the rest of the songs are. The album isn’t over done. It’s straight and simple, with catchy music with nice hardcore and metal riffs blended in…in short, it’s post-hardcore at it’s finest. They aren’t the most talented band out there, but they do the best they could, and the effect was something most bands can ever only hope to achieve.

And while we are talking about Senses Fail, let’s take it further. When Still Searching came out, I was actually kind of sad. I knew nothing could top it. They would only decline from there. The album was just too perfect. But no, Senses Fail proved me wrong.

 Image result for senses fail life is not a waiting room“Life Is Not A Waiting Room” (2008) by Senses Fail

Genre: Post-Hardcore, Punk/Pop

Not even two years after one masterpiece, they release another. I loved this album before I even opened up the case. I mean, look at that awesome cover. I was excited right from there. I went into this album wondering how far it would fall short from it’s predecessor, but was pleased to find out that it took it one step beyond. It was basically the same exact style of song writing and performance, just only done better. Their talents all improved and this album shows it. The lyrics and vocals are so emotional and personal, and fit and blend so well with the music. I could listen to this album every day. Life Is Not A Waiting Room and Still Searching are easily in my top 5 favorite albums. Sadly, the decline I so feared happened after this album. They are now so bad I won’t ever likely buy another album from them again.

Image result for as i lay dying an ocean between us“An Ocean Between Us” (2007) by As I Lay Dying

Genre: Metalcore

As I Lay Dying’s first album was decent for a debut. Their second was worse, using so much uninspired, typical stock metal for music. It wasn’t until their third that they showed the world what they could do.

An Ocean Between Us can only be described as perfect. It starts off with a nice clean instrumental that builds into harmonizing, distorted guitars. This 1 minute long instrumental sets the tone for the whole album. It just builds up and gets better and better. Right after the intro song, it immediately jumps into track 2, and right away you notice an energy and ability the band has never come close to showing before. The guitars, the drums, heck, even the screams are all vastly improved. Each song is intense, never slowing down, just melting your face with some of the best metal riffs and break downs you will ever hear.

The band has come together to perfect a sound we could only dream of. They even threw in a lot more clean vocals that fit in perfect to the high energy mash of metal. It’s just a perfect, wonderful, wonderful album. And they didn’t slow down after this, either. They released two more albums with just as much high, non stop energy and amazing musicianship. All three albums are something that every metal fan needs to here.

 Image result“Recovery” (2010) by Eminem

Genre: Rap/Hip Hop

I am not exactly a fan of rap, but Eminem has always blown me away. His unique take on the genre has enticed me to follow him ever since he exploded onto the scene in the late 90’s. His first three major release albums are nothing short of incredible. He is a truly gifted writer and presents his lyrics in humorous, clever, unmatched ways. Whether he is yelling like a maniac or doing something more personal and serious, you can’t help but be drawn in by it. His fourth and fifth albums were not as good, but still had some memorable songs.

But I didn’t truly start to see just how gifted he is until Recovery. This album was a few steps up from anything he’s ever done before. Everything about it seemed more mature. He wasn’t talking about drugs and killing people, Kim and his mom all the time anymore. It was more down to earth and personal. He’s still got some goofy songs, but they are all so good. He also brings in a lot of guest vocalists to enhance his choruses. Even his beats were infinitely better, mostly consisting of real instruments and actual song structure instead of just the typical 2 measures of a computer created beat repeated over and over for 5 minutes. The way he uses this music and reacts and emotes his voice to match it makes everything that much more interesting. Sometimes I almost forget I am listening to a rap album, instead hearing a band with a fast talking vocalist, which is probably why someone like me who is not a particular fan of rap loves this so much.

This album set the tone for the new Eminem, and he has done nothing but get better and better ever since.

Nostalgia Goodies In Eminem’s “Marshal Mathers LP 2” Part 2

Welcome to part 2 of my comb through the “Marshal Mathers LP 2,” looking for any specific call outs or throwbacks to his older albums and songs. This is a continuation that starts from the eleventh track to the end of the album. You can read about tracks 1-10 here.

Track 11: Stronger Than I Was

Nothing here, as it’s a more slow, serious song.

Track 12: The Monster

Other than the fact that he does this song with Rihanna, like he did one with her on “Recovery,” there is nothing here.

Track 13: So Far…

At 2:58 the beat abruptly changes to a toned down version of I’m Back from the “Marshal Mathers LP.” While this happens, he raps “the other day someone got all elaborate and stuck a head from a fucking dead cat in my mailbox.” This coincides with the beat of I’m Back because one of the lyrics in that song is “I cut a kitten’s head off and stuck it in this kid’s mailbox.”

Immediately after the last one, the beat switches to The Real Slim Shady from the “Marshal Mathers LP” as he says “went to Burger King, they spit on my onion rings,” a throw back to the line “he cold be working at Burger King, spitting on your onion rings.”

Track 14: Love Game

Great song, but no throwbacks.

Track 15: Headlights

There are no specific throw backs, but the entire song is basically an apology to his mother for all the songs and lyrics he wrote about her. He especially regrets Cleaning Out My Closet from “The Eminem Show.”

Track 16: Evil Twin

Through the chorus and one more spot in the song, sound clips of Royce da 5’9s” lyrics “I see my evil twin who gives me an evil grin,” or certain words from this lyric can be heard. The line is from Bad Meets Evil’s The Reunion off of their album “Hell: The Sequel.”

At 4:31, Eminem sort of introduces “Slim Shady” into the song, whose first word is “Hi,” spoken in the same way as he does on the song that introduced him, My Name Is from “The Slim Shady LP.”

That’s that for disc 1. The five songs on disc 2 contain no throwbacks.

 

 

 

Images from 4music.blogfa.com, moviepilot.com

Nostalgia Goodies In Eminem’s “Marshal Mathers LP 2”

Eminem’s latest solo album is chock full of nods, throw backs and all sorts of nostalgia from earlier works in his career. I am here to compile a list of them, picking out and listing everyone I notice. I highly doubt I will recognize all of them, so please help out on any I’ve missed that you may have picked up on!

Well to start things off, the title “Marshal Mathers LP 2” is a sequel to his second major release, the “Marshal Mathers LP” 13 years earlier. A fitting name, as I am rather certain Eminem was going for a retro feel with plenty of nostalgia for this album. The album cover is even him sitting on the same steps in front of his old home, the exact picture of the first album, except now the house is boarded up and worse for wear. Cool!

Now let’s dive into the actual cd.

Track 01: Bad Guy

The song in it’s entirety is a sequel to Stan from the “Marshal Mathers LP,” told in the eyes of the late Stan’s little brother, who is indeed mentioned briefly in the first song.

A specific nod is at 4:05 when Matthew gives Em back an autographed hat that the rapper sends to him in the first song.

Right after that at 4:14, he recites lyrics from Criminal from the “Marshal Mathers LP.”

Matthew repeats the actions of his brother by driving high speed on a bridge with a live victim locked in the trunk. 5:01 he says to Eminem the same words Stan says on his suicide tape…”well, gotta go, almost at the bridge.” There is even an under toned “haha” after the lyric.

Track 02: Parking Lot (Skit)

This is the continuation to the skit that plays during the song Criminal. Listeners get to see what happens after he shoots the clerk and shouts “Thank you!” That is exactly where this new skit picks up in fact.

Track 03: Rhyme or Reason

At 0:57, he uses a clip of him yelling “die hard” from Bad Meets Evil’s Welcome 2 Hell, from their album “Hell: The Sequel.”

4:44, he says “Criminal” in the exact way he does in the chorus of the song Criminal.

Track 04: So Much Better

I did not pick up on anything in this song

Track 05: Survival

None here either

Track 06: Legacy

I got nothing…

Track 07: Asshole

Right after the first chorus at 1:18, Em says “thanks for the support asshole” and then repeats it. The way it is presented and repeated makes it seem like a big intentional nod to his lyric, “Dear Dave, thanks for the support, asshole” from the song My Name Is, off of the “Slim Shady LP.”

Exactly one minute later (2:18) he parodies a line from Lose Yourself from “8 Mile.” The original line is “The soul’s escaping through this hole that is gaping,” which he changes to “My soul’s escaping through this asshole that is gaping.”

There is another throwback to one of his older lines at 3:53. The lyric is “it’s apparent I shouldn’t have been a parent,” no doubt calling back to the “Marshal Mathers LP” song Who  Knew‘s line “apparently you ain’t parents.”

The last throwback for this one is the last few lines of the song…”White America’s mirror, so don’t feel awkward or weird, if you stare at me and see yourself, because you’re one too.” This is more subtle, but these lines are basically what the whole song White America from “The Eminem Show” is all about.

Track 08: Berserk

Though this song is filled with mentions, references and samples from many other celebrities, nothing so much about his own songs.

Track 09: Rap God

Right at the beginning, he repeats over and over again, “six minutes Slim Shady, you’re on.” This is not the first time this has been said, originally on the song Remember Me off of the “Marshal Mathers LP.”

The next is rather obvious, as he himself points out a line from the “Marshal Mathers LP,” at 3:43, referring that it was once censored, but no longer isn’t as he repeats the entire line, originally recorded on the song I’m Back.

Tracok 10: Brainless

I didn’t notice any here.

I will complete the rest of the album next week. See you then!