Nostalgia: What Happens When Your Childhood Artists Come Back?

Eliza Frost /
Mar 29, 2017 / Music

He was a sk8r boi, she said see you l8r boi. He wasn’t good enough for her.

At 10 years-old, those lyrics really resonated with me. I mean, a song that had text speak in the title – it was really honing in on that target audience of kids who just got their first phone and spent their £10 monthly PAYG credit on Habbo Hotel cash or polyphonic ringtones.

Sk8r Boi was on Avril’s debut album, alongside Complicated and I’m With You. She was singing what I was thinking. Or more, I was thinking whatever she was singing, because who really knew about complicated relationships at aged 10. But she was on the cover of my Smash Hits magazine and I didn’t think anyone could be cooler. Like Regina George setting trends in Mean Girls, if Avril Lavigne wore a neon school tie and combat trousers with a chain, I wore a neon school tie and combat trousers with a chain. And that’s what you do when you put a singer on a pedestal.

Avril Lavigne is to bring out her sixth studio album later this year – the first music she would have released since she took a break in 2013 to focus on her health. Could it be considered hotly anticipated? Or did she peak in 2002? It made me question, would I like this new Avril? Would I listen to it on repeat like I did when I thought I was a 10-year-old emo kid? Or have I outgrown her the same way I outgrew putting on so much eyeliner that I was often more black kohl than eye?

Because that’s the thing when your musical ear matures – your taste changes, your life changes. A song that once sent shivers up your spine, a tingling, joyous sensation that nothing could match. The feeling you got from those opening chords could now not even spark the slightest hint of emotion. CDs belonging to artists you used to listen to on a repetitive loop are gathering dust alongside old issues of Mizz and ancient Kerrang! And that’s where they should stay.

The other week, I heard the news that Steps had reformed. And not only have they regrouped, they’ve also released a comeback single – ‘Never be scared of the dark’. In all honesty, I think it’s a bit of a tragedy (ha ha).

In an interview, Steps said: “It was very important for us to have a hint of the past”. But this track sounds like they never even had the dramatic, heartbreaking, soul-destroying-for-their-fans, breakup, but they just picked up where they left off. In some kind of 90s/00s bubble where H still has those over-jelled spikes in his hair and the group wear different variations of the same outfit, to give off a ‘we love being together, we’re basically one entity’ aesthetic.

Some people may love the fact Steps have stuck to who they were 15-years-ago. Hey, some may even think there’s been a Steps shaped hole in the music industry since their split and their comeback was even more long-awaited than getting Robbie Williams involved in a Take That reunion.

A few years after Steps, and the playground is rife with ABAB rhyme schemes, in class and in the songs we’re listening to. “You said I must eat so many lemons, cause I am so bitter. I said ‘I’d rather be with your friends mate, cause they are much fitter’”. Kate Nash, you babe. If you want to empower a teenage gal, write lyrics that she can sing to take the piss out of her crush.

Kate Nash has announced she’ll be doing a 10-year anniversary tour of Made of Bricks. Will I still enjoy Foundations ten years after I first fell in love it? Chances are, yes. And chances are I’ll still remember that really shitty dance routine my mate and I made up and danced around my bedroom performing. (Please, no judgies. I woz just an indie kid with a Lego haircut.)

What is it about our favourite tracks that mean we can love the same one consistently for years, and with others, we just associate it with a time in our past that was pretty decent but we don’t want to start listening to that particular album again. Obviously, a person doesn’t always grow with an artist. I mean, to put it into context, I totally disagree with Busted’s new sound. I want a reliable stream of Year 3000-esque songs and that’s about it thank you. But The Killers, they couldn’t do wrong in my eyes. But I suppose if a band knew how to keep hold of their fans for decades on end, then they’d bottle it and sell it to other artists pretty quickly. And then no one would ever need to split up. What an idyllic world that sounds like.

Words by Eliza Frost

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