Nostalgia is defined as “a wistful desire to return in thought or in fact to a former time in one’s life”. I’ve always considered myself to be a pretty sentimental girl; I keep old love letters, movie stubs and journals from my high school days stowed away under my bed. But I find that most of my nostalgic feelings don’t pertain to wanting to revisit the past of my own life. Rather, I’ve always been the sort of person who longs for a time or place I’ve never been to. I’m homesick all the time for places I’ve never been.
I wish I had went to high school in the 80s so I could have had shoulder pads in my sweaters when I went to all those hair metal concerts I just know I would’ve been at. I wish I grew up in the 70s so I could have followed the Allman Brothers Band on tour and worn Eagles t-shirts to dance the night away. I wish I was around in the 60s so I could have been part of the british invasion of pop rock. I would have been at protests with flowers in my hair and I’m certain I would have been one of those girls who made signs and fainted when they saw John Lennon.
I’ve heard these sentiments expressed by others before, too. When people are nostalgic for musical times of the past, it seems to me that the majority are longing for the sounds of the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s. But they always seem to leave out one of my favorite decades of sound: The fifties. Ahhh, the 50s. Let me just say that I am absolutely certain I would have fit in just fine during the 50s. I look great in those pedal pushers and pencil skirts, I can make a mean ice-box cake and I still get light headed when I listen to Elvis. I long for that simpler time quite often, when Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin dominated the airwaves. Maybe I’m wrong, but it seems to me that people were happier then, they weren’t so disconnected. They relished quality time together not spent staring at screens. They sat on porches instead, talked to one another and went dancing. I dream of spinning around with man in a vintage kitchen to Frankie Valli and then having him take me out to for shakes.
Enter Willy Moon. He’s my favorite new artist and he’s solely responsible for killing all of my cravings for the 1950s lately. A New Zealander transplanted to London, he caught the eyes and ears of Jack White, who released his debut single. He’s a throwback performer with skinny ties and bright eyes, and I have a feeling that he longs for a simpler time, too. Instead of his style feeling like a cheap gimmick, it just brings you closer to his natural sound. His songs and videos speak for themselves: they’re not over processed and full of distractions. They’re all focused on unembellished lyrics and dance numbers that make me want to strut down the street on my way to a sock hop. And beyond his unique style, Willy Moon is unmistakably talented; it’s easy to see why he’s been called ‘The One to Watch’ by several music media outlets. He somehow puts a fresh spin on an old pop sound and does it with style and grace without it seeming artificial.
With most of the songs on his album clocking in at under 3 minutes, Willy Moon seems to have found a new way to re-work formula that we may have lost sight of. Focusing on quality rather than quantity is always a good thing when it comes to music, and he seems to have it in spades. So hit play, and let me apologize in advance if you get as obsessed with these songs as I’ve been for the past week. Maybe do a little dance in the kitchen, put on your skinniest tie and remember that when it comes to life and to music, it’s usually best to keep it simple.