NPR logo

'Thieves' by She and Him

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/128385425/128393447" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
'50s Nostalgia By '80s Babies

Music Articles

'50s Nostalgia By '80s Babies

The Los Angeles-based garage rock revivalist group The Like. courtesty of artist hide caption

toggle caption
courtesty of artist

The latest episode of All Songs Considered features music by the bands Best Coast and Jenny and Johnny, both of which sparked a conversation about why the late '50s and early '60s sound is so prominent in today's music. I can't be certain of what's inspired an endless list of bands like She & Him, Mynabirds, and Surfer Blood to take this retro route.  But I know this music appeals to me because it’s simple and comforting.

Every time I hear girl group harmonies and Phil Spector’s wall of sound, I’m transported back to my childhood, and by that I mean all the way back to 1995. I’m seven years old again riding in my aunt’s car to the beach, playing with the radio until I hit the golden oldies station. The short simple pop songs were sweet and satisfying to my innocent ears.

Now that I’m older and I’ve transitioned through many musical tastes, those bubblegum pop songs still elicit a warm fuzzy feeling. And I love when bands reinterpret that nostalgia in their own style.

Our upcoming All Songs Considered will feature new music by The Walkmen, a group that drew inspiration from Elvis Presley's early work. We'll also premiere a collaboration by Bjork and The Dirty Projectors, who say they were influenced by '50s doo-wop.

Take a listen to a few clips from bands with a throwback sound. Why do you think today's musicians are referencing an era before their own time? Could it be sentimental? Comment with your thoughts.

'Release Me' by The Like

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/128385425/128393463" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

'Take It Easy' by Surfer Blood

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/128385425/128393474" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

'Boyfriend' by Best Coast

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/128385425/128393458" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

'Thieves' by She and Him

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/128385425/128393447" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">