Pop culture is never as perfect to you as it is when you’re 15 years old. That’s why bad shows like Full House (sorry, Aunt Becky) are remembered so fondly — there’s a romanticized notion that because you liked Danny Tanner then, when you were developing “taste,” you should still like him now. The same goes for music, maybe more than any other pop culture field: I know matchbox twenty sucks but because Yourself or Someone Like You was my favorite album during “these important years,” to quote Hüsker Dü, a band I wish I had been listening to instead of matchbox twenty, I’ll always defend “Push,” despite knowing better.
Listening to the new Cloud Nothings album, Here and Nowhere Else, I felt like I was 15 again.
But I’m not. It’s just that good. Also, it sounds like it was recorded in the mid-1990s. There’s nothing current about Here and Nowhere Else, because its musical cues — breakneck snot-punk, confused angst, booming drums, whirlwind choruses — are eternal. A young man screaming and sweating about joylessness will never age, so long as it’s sung with Dylan Baldi’s hoarse fury. Three-minute bursts of hook-filled nervous passion will never age. Albums that sound like if the band can’t deliver their message in 30 minutes or less (or 31:24, in Here’s case) they’ll explode from within will never age. Riffs that might be called “killer” will never age. But you will. Luckily there are albums like Here and Nowhere Else to make you feel forever 15.
Just don’t start watching Full House again.