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Saint Etiennes nostalgia for the nineties | The New Yorker



Saint Etiennes nostalgia of the nineties | The New Yorker

Pop music’s animating force is its youth. Many of the greatest musical revolutions and upheavals were the result of teens experiencing the world for first time and capturing that feeling. They then turned their feelings and intimacies into art. It’s not just the reality of youth that inspires pop music. It’s also a reminder what it felt like to be a teenager. It’s a strong muse to long for the extremes of youth, such as the ups and downs, and the incredible breadth of your imagination when it was possible to absorb everything simultaneously.

Saint Etienne is a British trio consisting of Bob Stanley and Sarah Cracknell. They have been focusing on a nostalgic, time-traveling style of pop music for over thirty years. Stanley, a music journalist since the 1980s, was inspired by Wiggs’ childhood friend to experiment with samplers. Her first single, “Only Love Can Break Your Heart”, was a huge success. Moira was able to reinterpret Neil Young’s laid-back, passed-out number as swinging, slow-down house music. It was a big hit, and the group used it as a template for their style over the next ten years. They grafted club beats and hip-hop-inspired beat collages onto sentimental and cheesy lyrics.

Stanley and Wiggs invited Cracknell to join their band in 1991 as a singer. Her 1993 album “So Tough”, which was released in 1993, was a classic example of the sample culture that dominated the nineties. Cracknell’s distinctive vocals combined plaintive folk with the sounds and sirens house music of the sixties with Cracknell’s unique voice. Over the next decade, Cracknell’s vocals were like portals to other times, some into the past, and others into a new future. However, their maniacal beats and lifelong lyrics were profoundly attuned with the feeling that one can live in the moment, find oneself and search for one’s tribe.

Saint Etienne’s new album “I’ve Been Trying to Tell You”The release of ‘The Nineties Feel’ last week is an attempt at capturing that feeling. The nostalgia of modern times has made these years a time of hope, optimism, and after the Cold War. This is a more complex memory for the band. Saint Etienne was once wistful and young, but now it feels hazy. The band is trying to find hints of a glorious history in pop songs of that era. However, replacement lyrics from old hits seem to be floating around in the air. It’s a bit creepy. The album opens with “Music Again” which features a rather stately, dusty-sounding harpsichord melody. It is actually a sample of “Love of a Lifetime”, a 1998 song by British girl group Honeyz. The speed was slowed to a hypnotic crawl. Cracknell used intricate references to specific moments and places on her previous albums. This track sounds almost like Cracknell is singing along on the radio repeating a mysterious phrase: “Neverhad a way of going.”

The track “Fonteyn”Repeats the opening of 1997 Lighthouse Family dance pop hit “Raincloud”The original’s euphoric high is captured in swirling, dub-influenced hip hop. “Pond House”This is a sample from Natalie Imbruglia’s 2001 track that was overlooked “Beauty on the Fire”. “Here it goes again,” Imbruglia repeats, over a floating bass and a drizzle pianos. It’s haunting and dreamy, much like the YouTube clips of familiar tracks being played in abandoned shopping centres. “Little K”, which is a continuation of Samantha Mumba’s 2000 song, “Til the Night Becomes the Day”, is one of the most captivating songs. Mumba’s upbeat hymn is reconstructed as an epic slow-burn, with the majestic strings and harps of the original bending and falling to a glorious crash. It is like a bid to live longer in Mumba’s sun-kissed exuberance.

In 2013, Stanley was released “Yeah! Yes! Yeah !: The Story of Pop Music from Bill Haley to Beyoncé ”A celebration of the idiosyncratic nature of the“ permanent change ”Pop music. He defends the long-forgotten novelty smash in an atmospheric section “Beach Baby”Stanley refers to the First Class as “the work a dedicated pop fan who wants nothing in return and tries to increase love for his heroes” from 1974. This captures Saint Etienne’s ethos perfectly. Pastiches by the group refer to a history of listening, and the desire to experience the excitement of first hearing something. They explored amazing and childlike memories on previous records. “I’ve Been Trying to Tell You” contains a darker side of nostalgia. The rehearsals stop in 2001. It appears that the group wants to regain hope for politics and society prior to September 11.

Saint Etienne, who has been fascinated by second-hand memories of postwar England for many years, composed music about London’s razed neighborhoods and a concept album that features neighbors living in a residence. Alasdair MacLellan’s Impressionist film, which features a group of young people who are stunningly beautiful while traveling around the UK, is accompanying the new album. As container ships pass by, they skip stones. It’s a picture of cool stillness alongside the bustle of global trade. Young men can let out steam in a river while steam is blowing from a country power station. Stonehenge images are juxtaposed to the valleys and curves of a graffiti-strewn park. Both spectacles show human daring. The mid-twenties dance in an old limousine’s headlights at night. You are young and feel as if you’re in the most exciting spot on earth, just like it should be.

With “Yes!” Yes! Yes! ”Writes Stanley that“ Great Pop ”This is about“ tension, opposition, progress and fear of progress ”. We build our musical tastes around what we have. Stanley understood this to be a record collection. However, a well-curated music collection was like having your own little world. Today, music discovery looks quite different. There are endless streams of content. It is easy to believe that our knowledge of the past has increased due to the loss of physical objects. It is easy to believe that all information is available online, just waiting to be discovered. Names are never found. It was announced in August that Aaliyah’s back catalogue would be available on streaming platforms. This is presumably to capitalize on the 20th anniversary of her death. (For many years, the only album available was the R. Kelly-produced “Age Ain’t Nothing but a number”. It had finally struck a deal to have its classic albums streaming from the late 1980s to 2001.

If the history and music of hip-hop were compiled using Spotify playlists and Spotify guide before these announcements, it would be as if these artists never existed. The problem with streaming services and their seemingly infinity is that they can easily erase entire sections of the musical past. Pop music is built on the memories of discovery. Our sense of the audible future shifts to the internet, and our senses of history become more dependent upon the available platforms. We forget. Saint-Etienne’s story is not for everyone. Some may find the locations its members fetishize strange. However, her work indexing longwave radio’s 1970s history, studying European pop charts and informing hip-hop and club culture encourages us to think about the possibilities for memory. Music is all about love for music, so it’s important to pay tribute.You have to pay tribute to someone you love so much. ♦

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