Country music is loved by many because of reasons such as its patriotic message, relatability, simple blue-collar lifestyle or reflections of past struggles. These aspects of country music are all related to nostalgia. That is one of the reasons why this is mostly loved by country fans.
However, it is not only country fans who like songs about nostalgia. It is also prevalent in pop music, hip hop, rock and roll, and other genres. We always want to remind ourselves of good memories. This is one of the reasons why #ThrowbackThursday became viral. We post photos of our old self and see the difference between before and now.
Country Songs that Give Nostalgia
This also applies to music specifically country. I remember growing up and the first country song that I’ve heard was Alan Jackson’s “Remember When.”
You can listen to the song here:
It is an iconic song from the singer and almost all country fans know the song. It is an autobiography of the singer that turned into a song. Alan sings the song with so much longing of the past and what he had learned from it. Alan Jackson takes us through his journey, and when a song does that to the listener, then it is considered good music.
“Remember When” is easily considered as one of the best Alan Jackson songs because of the message and how he performed it. This is where nostalgia comes in. Music fans are able to relate to the song because they share the same experience. The track made them want to look back at their past lives and see what they have learned from it. At the same time, we use this nostalgic memory to connect with other people. It is actually quite effective when talking about past experiences as a way to bond with our family friends or lovers. Let us go in-depth as to what nostalgia is all about.
The Power of Nostalgia
Nostalgic memories are composed of what we remember growing up. These memories may have been buried in the depths of our mind so when we are reminded of it, we feel a sudden burst of mixed emotions. Psychologist, Erica Hepper, said this:
“Nostalgia is the warm, fuzzy emotion that we feel when we think about fond memories from our past. It often feels bittersweet — mostly happy and comforting, but with a tinge of sadness that whatever we’re remembering is lost in some way.”
The idea of remembering the past was even debated upon by psychologists. Is it healthy to dwell in the past? Or is it better to move on and look forward to the future? Interestingly, the obsession for the past was even considered as a psychological disorder. It was specifically for army troops who longed to go back to their family, but changing times mean changing perspective. Over the years, people studied this phenomenon and they did some good research.
In some of the results, it made the subject feel optimistic about their future. Looking back at their past made them realize the things that they could do better. Further research was done and it really gave good results. One of the researchers said:
“Nostalgia compensates for uncomfortable states, for example, people with feelings of meaninglessness or a discontinuity between past and present. What we find in these cases is that nostalgia spontaneously rushes in and counteracts those things. It elevates meaningfulness, connectedness, and continuity in the past. It is like a vitamin and an antidote to those states. It serves to promote emotional equilibrium, homeostasis.”
In a nutshell, we feel nostalgic as a response to something that is familiar to us. Country music is a good example of using our fond memories to make us relate to the song. Artists would want it for marketing purposes (of course) because it would mean more sales to their records. However, a real artist just wants to connect to his/her fans. This way, their songs will be immortalized and remembered.
Country Music and Nostalgic Memories
What is your favorite song? When asked, I assure you that there is a big chance that your favorite song is an old one. It may be the music that you grew up listening to, who knows? No matter what the case is, we love listening to music from the past. It somehow brings us the comfort of reliving good memories including the bad ones. This is what nostalgia is all about.
Country music, especially the classic ones, talks all about simple living. This is in the form of reliving the childhood memories in a farm, or what you loved growing up in the countryside. Country music also tackles the sad side of marriage. Remember when Brad Paisley and Alison Krauss’ “Whisky Lullaby” came out? Everybody loved it and it was the entire talk of the country world back then.
Listen to the song here:
Country music is the perfect genre for great storytelling. With the melodic performance of Paisley and Krauss, the song makes you feel the pain whether you relate to it or not. For those of you who haven’t heard about the song, it tells a story of a cheating wife to her husband. Her husband is a soldier and he came home to find out that his wife was cheating on him. The story narrates what happened between the two and looking back at it now, there is nostalgia there.
Another country music that is known to have such nostalgic memory is the song of Kenny Chesney. It is titled “Go Back,” and was written by the singer himself. The track made it seem like the singer wanted to go back and grow up again. Sometimes, we have that kind of wishful thinking. We want to go back to when we were young because the days are simpler and we had lesser problems. This is also what good memories can do to us. The longing for something we can never have is a powerful feeling and everybody can relate to it.