Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Nostalgia - In West Coast Rock Wonderland With The Eagles

I’m not sure that it’s ‘right’ to like The Eagles (by which I mean that my inner elitist lover of things obscure is prodding my conscience, ‘saying ‘Oi, don’t be an arse’) but what the hell – I relax back into the bath and soak up ‘One Of These Nights’ courtesy of Smooth FM’s ‘The 70s At 7’ show – eh? Er, hold on, that’s another ‘guilty pleasure’, although I don’t like that term because it suggests to me the club/albums of the same name populated/bought by people who have no ‘guilt’ at all about liking old mainstream Pop because they’re not fans of musique concrete or Improv Jazz to start with.
   You got your demons, you got desires, well I’ve got a few of my own, and I confess they partly involve listening to ‘The 70s At 7’ show and taking great pleasure in The Eagles being played on it. OK, it’s not exactly dark psycho-trauma and perverse sexual yearnings, but it bothers me, sometimes.
   What bothers me first is that I’m lured into the demographic Smooth FM aim for, precisely because by age alone I belong in it. But I’m not that kind of ‘70s person!’ I tell myself as the ads for cholesterol-lowering products and DFS furniture sales play out. I also hate half the records they play. It’s their safe, comfortable, domesticated vision of the 70s, naturally. Parliament or The Pistols will never be on the playlist. But there is the appeal, funnily enough. Pop presses the buttons other music cannot, partly because I still listen to the other side(s) of the 70s, which means the nostalgia is maximised when they play a Soul tune I used to slow-dance to with the latest girl of my dreams at the local disco. Pop is a wider world, the one outside the private space in which I began to explore deeper music. It involves school discos, local discos, Top of the Pops, and Radio One, snogging whilst chewing gum, gang fights and so on.
   Yes, dear reader, I do recall such things whilst listening to Smooth FM, just as many others my age must. So the other night I enjoyed The Eagles. I was in a West Coast Soft Rock wonderland, marvelling at the vocals, arrangement and playing, just like any lover of Mainstream Music. The Doobie Brothers have the same effect. I don’t own an Eagles record, mind you, not anymore, but that too is part of the pleasure I take in Pop Nostalgia Radio. They play records I sold long ago and the return after many years enhances my enjoyment.
   I don’t actually feel ‘guilty’ about this. If I did, I certainly wouldn’t be telling you.

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