“Can You Even Name Five of Their Songs?”: On Pink Floyd’s Album Announcement and Teen Nostalgia

by / 33 Comments / 365 View / July 16, 2014

To all you teenagers with Dark Side of the Moon crop tops from Forever 21: Rejoice. After twenty years of silence, Pink Floyd will release their fifteenth album The Endless River this October. But don’t expect this to be the next Wish You Were Here; despite speculation, this album will not feature the legendary Roger Waters, nor will it include any material written during your lifetime.

The Endless River is based on ambient instrumentals from 1993, when David Gilmour, Nick Mason, and Richard Wright (who died in 2008) recorded Pink Floyd’s last album, The Division Bell.

While new Floyd music is exciting for any music freak, this album announcement is hugely anti-climactic—the news broke when Gilmour’s wife Polly Samson tweeted, “Btw Pink Floyd album out in October…”

Why release old recordings from twenty years ago? It’s the same reason why teenagers wear Nirvana t-shirts and don’t know who Kurt Cobain is: Our generation is crazy for nostalgia, and the evidence is everywhere.

Last month, Led Zeppelin released reissues of their first three albums, earning a 9.2/10 rating from Pitchfork, whose critics are so notoriously harsh that they gave Jet’s “Shine On” a 0.0/10. And instead of writing a review to explain the unprecedentedly low rating, Pitchfork attached a YouTube video of a monkey peeing into its own mouth.

But a band need not be a cemented 70’s classic to generate such nostalgic hysteria. The Libertines, kings of the early 2000s Brit Rock scene, played a reunion show on July 5, but were forced to stop playing twice during the set because the crowd was so dangerously wild. Thirty-eight people were injured by the end of the show.

Various other bands, several past their prime, have also announced reunions recently, like The Kinks, Slowdive, and Blur.

When acclaimed acts reunite, it’s hard to feel shocked anymore—personally, I’m giving it about five years until Noel and Liam Gallagher of Oasis finally decide that they can tolerate each other enough to occupy the same room.

But that’s how powerful rock music is. Even burnt-out musicians feel nostalgic for their glory days—after all, how do you go from headlining international music festivals to driving your kid to soccer practice?

I’m still a bit confused as to why people who have never listened to The Doors will pay to wear Jim Morrison’s face on their chest. I have to admit that I get annoyed sometimes when my classmates wear Abbey Road t-shirts, yet don’t know what the Abbey Road Medley is. But I’ve realized that when people wear Forever 21 Beatles crop tops, they aren’t celebrating that soul-sucking George Harrison guitar solo—they’re celebrating the spirit of classic rock. And that’s okay.

In the height of its popularity, rock music developed on the foundations of freedom and rebellion, which are incredibly easy to romanticize. We dream about what it must have been like to hear Jimi Hendrix play the Star Spangled Banner at Woodstock, we scour the racks at Goodwill, searching for the perfect pair of old dad jeans to bleach-dye and cut into trendy high-waisted shorts, and we spend twenty dollars a piece on vinyl records that we can stream for free on Spotify. There’s just something so enrapturing about the past that our generation cannot escape, which is why reunion albums and gigs are so common.

I’d be lying if I said that I was aloof to this trend. I started collecting vinyl when I was fifteen and found my dad’s old record collection, rife with Talking Heads, Electric Light Orchestra, and naturally, Pink Floyd. I spent the majority of high school scoffing at my classmates who had never listened to The Smiths and Joy Division—they just didn’t understand the complexity of my emotions, you know? But I don’t think I listened to these bands solely because I liked their music. Part of the appeal was the chance to feel like a part of something far bigger than I could possibly imagine.

The Endless River may not become the best album of 2014 (coughLazaretto by Jack White—cough), but it will surely be an interesting release to check out, so long as you keep an open mind. Whether or not you end up playing the album in your car for months, The Endless River is going to be epically historic. Even the album’s name pays a nostalgic homage to Pink Floyd’s prolific past; The Endless River references one of the last lyrics on “High Hopes,” the final song on The Division Bell. David Gilmour sings, “The dawn mist glowing/The water flowing/The endless river/Forever and ever.”

Oddly enough, those lyrics sum up the legacy of classic rock—no matter how far modern music deviates from its roots, Dark Side of the Moon t-shirts are still going to be in style for the next several decades.  There are generations and generations to come of out-casted teenagers who will worship The Wall like a bible and run home after school to download bootlegged Floyd recordings from the 80’s. But the most exciting thing about music is that you never know when the next legendary band will emerge. Who knows? They may be touring in your city next week.

  • Su King

    Amazing article. I completely identify with this 100%. I agree the main appeal is the nostalgia and being part of something bigger than yourself. Who doesn’t want to be a part of something that made history and will be remembered on for decades and maybe even centuries to come.

  • lucyinthesky

    “I’m still a bit confused as to why people who have never listened to The Doors will pay to wear Jim Morrison’s face on their chest. I have to admit that I get annoyed sometimes when my classmates wear Abbey Road t-shirts, yet don’t know what the Abbey Road Medley is.”

    What a pretentious article. There is no prerequisite for wearing an Abbey Road t-shirt, it doesn’t matter whether someone knows one or one hundred Beatles songs, that’s not what JPRG were about. It seems like you parade the fact you listen to old bands just so you can make yourself seem more ‘cultured’ than others. Knowing the Abbey Road Medley doesn’t make you an expert on The Beatles either by the way, you seem like the type of person that would ‘scoff’ at someone who says their favourite Beatles song is Twist and Shout or A Day in the Life.

    “I spent the majority of high school scoffing at my classmates who had never listened to The Smiths and Joy Division—they just didn’t understand the complexity of my emotions, you know?”

    Honestly you need to get over yourself. Listening to The Smiths doesn’t make you this extraordinarily complex person and it doesn’t make you better than anyone else. If someone listens to some modern artist like One Direction for example, I bet on my life you think less of them for it. Guess what? People have differing opinions and it absolutely doesn’t make your opinion any better.

    “There are generations and generations to come of out-casted teenagers who will worship The Wall like a bible”

    Again you seem to think the only people who can enjoy ‘classic rock’ are those who are deeply complex and difficult to understand. Get off your high-horse and please realise that this isn’t what music is about.

    Surprisingly the disgraceful misuse of a colon on multiple occasions wasn’t the worst thing about this article, rather the sheer arrogance that you portrayed.

    • Iamthewalrus

      Hi “lucyinthesky” just a quick question: can you take the stick out of your ass? Like honestly, what’s your problem? It’s obvious you’re just trying to pick a fight with the poor author, here, because all of your complaints with the article (actually, less the article, and more personal attacks at the author) are either a) more-than-clearly resolved by the author or b) generic and uninformed assumptions you make for yourself.

      If you weren’t too busy stroking your bloated ego while writing this comment, you might’ve taken time to actually read the piece, which truly shines an important light on a very widespread problem. The quotes you cite (i.e “I spent the majority…”) are completely out of context. The author BLATANTLY implicates herself as a part of this problem, yet you seem too blind to realize it. In no way, shape, or form is she portraying herself as above the teenage fray. In fact, I applaud the author for pointing out cultural shortcoming in such a humble and honest way. It’s people like YOU who need to dismount THEIR high horse and stop misconstruing and clearly misinterpreting fairly innocuous writing.

      Please, reread the article FULLY, then look over your comment. You’ll realize that you’re the only ignorant one here.

      • lucyinthesky

        My ass is currently, and always has been, stick-free.

        “It’s obvious you’re just trying to pick a fight with the poor author, here,”

        It’s obvious that you, Iamthewalrus, are the author of this article. As a reader I have every right to question the author (you), if you don’t like criticism then maybe you should stop writing.

        “just a quick question: can you take the stick out of your ass?”

        This incredibly awkward placement of a colon is strikingly similar to the usage in the actual article.

        “I applaud the author for pointing out cultural shortcoming in such a humble and honest way.”

        Well of course you are going to applaud yourself.

        • Iamthewalrus

          Okay, once again, you’re justifying your claims with wild accusations that, unfortunately for you, aren’t true. I hate to break this to you, but I’m not the author — I know the author, but I’m not her [I’m actually a guy].

          So, on that note, every “argument” you just made fell through the cracks, except for the grammatical quibbles you constantly feel the need to bring up. There is literally one colon usage in the article, and by comparing two APPROPRIATE USAGES, you’re no detective.

          You’re obviously backed up into a corner here, as you continue to default to blippy ad hominem attacks that are falsely predicated. Congratulations — you’ve proved your stupidity.

          • lucyinthesky

            Forever 21: Rejoice

            who Kurt Cobain is: Our generation is crazy for nostalgia

            That’s two already and in other articles written by you the pattern continues.

            Implying that I am stupid, which I’m not, you are also committing an ad hominem through attacking the [wo]man.

            You are so mad that I don’t like your article so now you feel the need to defend it with rude comments attacking me.

          • Iamthewalrus

            BOTH MINE AND AMANDA’S USE OF COLONS ARE APPROPRIATE. The colon “pattern continues” because that’s how normal people use colons. You’re making a fool of yourself. I honestly don’t know how to prove to you that I’m not Amanda. And sure, I’m using an ad hominem attack because I hate having debates with brick walls.

          • lucyinthesky

            I didn’t say they were inappropriate, I was suggesting that they were awkward.

            “I’m using an ad hominem attack because I hate having debates with brick walls.”

            Honestly what the fuck is wrong with you? You criticize me for using ad hominem then you use it again and call me a brick wall.

            You are essentially an oxygen thief.

          • Iamthewalrus

            1. “Surprisingly the disgraceful use of a colon” – sounds a bit more critical than just “awkward.”

            2. Please stop upvoting your own comments, you’re not helping your case.

            3. What’s wrong with me? You. You’re a thorn in my side that I’m not going to acknowledge anymore. I came here to defend Amanda, which I succeeded in, given by your obvious lack of substantive follow-up “arguments,” if you can even call them that, against the article. We can call each other names all day (please refer to “oxygen thief” comment), but it’s clear that you’ve acknowledged how blatantly incorrect you were.

            I’m sorry for calling you a brick wall and offending you, but please just admit that you were too quick in judgement in your original comment, and then proceeded to attack me under the false pretense that I was the author in disguise. Please, review your train of thought and just give up.

          • lucyinthesky

            I will upvote and downvote as I please. Obviously I upvote my own comments, why would I comment if I didn’t agree with them?

            You can’t claim that you’ve succeeded in defending yourself when clearly my ‘attack’ is still ongoing. If I am a brick wall and you are an oxygen thief, then we should have a child together to create something almost as useless as you.

          • Iamthewalrus

            Where’s your “attack?” I haven’t seen a substantive comment that doesn’t deal with petty grammatical preferences since your first comment.

            Also, okay for the upvoting/downvoting, I’m just adhering to social protocol, and no one ever “likes” their own comments, posts, or pictures on platforms like Facebook.

            Furthermore, I apologized for my actions, but are you failing to read text in the same way you did in regards to the article?

          • Damnthatsnew

            lol this is a hilarious conversation.

          • Iamthewalrus

            It’s hilarious in the sense that I literally cannot make any progress convincing this person that they just mis-read the article.

          • lucyinthesky

            “Also, okay for the upvoting/downvoting, I’m just adhering to social protocol, and no one ever “likes” their own comments, posts, or pictures on platforms like Facebook.”

            I replied to a similar comment from another user, I am trying to break out of the rigid ‘social protocol’ because I believe that little progress can be made simply by adhering to this.

          • Iamthewalrus

            Alright, I can respect that. Still waiting for a substantive argument, though. Unless you’d like to admit you’re wrong?

          • lucyinthesky

            You have provided me with a perfect example of a fallacy of false choice, giving me only two options: a substantive argument or admitting wrongdoing.

            I can infer from your comment that a substantive argument will prove that I am correct, however I believe that you will not agree with it even if it was impeccable. Thus, there is no point in me trying as it is of my opinion that you will disagree.

          • Iamthewalrus

            I’ve agreed with every point you’ve made that has fallen into a realm of reason. Take your belief in breaking from social protocol — I openly admitted that I can respect it. Still waiting on a substantive argument, though.

          • lucyinthesky

            “Still waiting on a substantive argument, though.”

            This is the issue. If I provide a substantive argument then you will just shoot it down and say I am wrong. If I don’t then you will say I am wrong. This false dilemma is inescapable because you are unwilling to have a truly open mind.

          • Iamthewalrus

            When you justified your self-upvoting, I accepted it, even though at first I showed how against the action I was. If you provide me with a substantive argument clearly justifying your points in regards to the article, I will gladly accept it. However, your original comment was riddled with factual errors you can find in the text itself.

    • Naka Hiromazika

      “But I don’t think I listened to these bands solely because I liked their music. Part of the appeal was the chance to feel like a part of something far bigger than I could possibly imagine.” was her response to “”I spent the majority of high school scoffing at my classmates who had never listened to The Smiths and Joy Division—they just didn’t understand the complexity of my emotions, you know?”” great reading dude.

    • Naka Hiromazika

      Also your last sentence is ruder than Paula Dean on roid rage

    • Lebron James

      Lol – I love how you like your own comments. It’s really amusing. I’m almost convinced you logged out, liked it, created a new account, liked it, and logged out, and liked it again. My wifi signal in Cleveland aint so good tho so maybe I’m reading this wrong.

      • lucyinthesky

        Of course I like my own comments, why would I comment if I didn’t like them?

        • Lebron James

          You must be new around here – protip for the future: it looks like your hyper inflating. Also you wouldn’t say something and then go :” I concur with that”

          • lucyinthesky

            Exactly, I wouldn’t say “I concur with that” because I can simply like the comment instead.

            I am attempting to break sociocultural norms by liking my own comments, something that is clearly unprecedented around here. If we all conformed to the norms of days past then no progress would be made.

    • Damnthatsnew

      I got to say – you are the coolest commentator I’ve met.

    • Iamthewalrus

      The author hasn’t responded to your comment… Unless YOU’RE THE AUTHOR. See, I’m acting under the false pretense that you did. Your colon usage is unsettling to me, thus you must be the author!!! PLOT. TWIST.

      • lucyinthesky

        It is now obvious we can’t have a real argument as you have degraded it to silly name-calling and whatever the above comment is classified as.

        • Iamthewalrus

          That “silly name-calling” is the exact logic path you have used this entire conversation.

          • lucyinthesky

            Correct.

  • baewitch

    ya’ll need 2 chill the fuck out and look at some flowers or s/t