Explore Issue 01 of LOOP Magazine

Featuring Sam Tompkins and Victor Ray as our cover stars, as well as internal spreads from Girli, Jords, Mysie, Finn Askew, Kara Marni and Master Peace

Buy Now

Nostalgia Rules The World

We’ve all seen the discussions online on who people would pick to recreate the iconic 2001 “Lady Marmalade” collaboration between Christina Aguilera, Lil’ Kim, Mya, Pink, and Missy Elliott. Whether your lineup features Ariana Grande’s strong belts, or Megan Thee Stallion’s 90s-esque rap tone, it garners the question; why do we want a remake so badly? As a society, are we ready to accept an original script and song for newer artists to take as their own and form a unit that has no relation to the Lady Marmalade five, or are we stuck in the state of what once was?

Kevin Mazur/WireImage

What brought this to my attention was the use of what I had known as Lou Bega’s 1999 single “Mambo No.5 (A Little Bit Of”…)”, by British pop-singer Anne-Marie in a recent TikTok teasing the newest track she worked on. The iconic name-dropping chorus appears here but with Anne-Marie’s own twist:

“A little bit of Monica late last night,

A little bit of Erica on the side.

A little bit of Rita all last week,

And now you’re doing Tina.

How’d you even meet her?”

“A little bit of Sandra are you dumb?

A little bit of Mary and her mum.

A little bit of Jessica drives you mad,

Yet you’re calling me a psychopath!”

The rendition brought a dominant feminine energy which I’m glad has been revived by the likes of Nicki Minaj, Megan Thee Stallion, and so many other artists. Anne-Marie’s unique vocal tone is written all over the snippet and I feel like it’s an interesting track added to her ever growing discography. Hearing this snippet brought to my attention just how often we have these: “Where have I heard this before”, nostalgic moments in the world of pop-culture. Whether it be from the sampling of lyrics or a beat, or remaking a piece of media such as television, famous editorials, we often find history repeating itself.

Finding out that the “Mambo No.5 (A Little Bit Of”…)” which was familiar to me had actually been a sample of Dámaso Pérez Prado’s 1949 mambo and jazz track, “Mambo No.5” led to me finding out about this renowned ongoing cycle of remakes and samplings. This also reminded me of the time when fans falsely accused South-Korean rapper DPR Live of plagiarising industry mate Jay B’s solo song “Fade Away” with his 2017 track “Jasmine” due to them both using a popular sample – despite utilising it differently. The logics behind sampling within the music industry aren’t as well known amongst casual music listeners which leads to situations like this one.

In retrospect, the world may just be running out of music. Ashton Irwin, drummer of the band 5 Seconds of Summer, brought up this topic during the band’s interview with Zach Sang back in 2019. Irwin delved into a conversation on how the world is running out of original sounds and melodies, using the fact that the guitar only has six strings and there’s only so much one can do before you’re playing another person’s melody. Seeing how quickly the world is adapting to new technologies and musical advancements, musicians have been taking different approaches to their sound and are constantly developing different methodologies to their craft. Irwin and the members of 5 Seconds of Summer began introducing electronic instruments to their music with the release of their 2018 Platinum third studio album Youngblood. Now is the time to be innovative and to not be afraid to switch up your sound or explore different types of instrumentation. 

The burning question which sits in the back of many minds; how does the world which lives in nostalgia adapt to change or new creatives? New artists in particular are burdened with the responsibility of standing out without being compared to other musicians in their same genre. No matter which industry someone ventures into, they’ll always find themselves being compared to someone more known or recognised. Nostalgia is neither positive or negative; it’s one of these things that we all have which helps us reminisce about what we find comforting from our pasts. There are differences to be noted when it comes to nostalgia as on one hand, people have been excited for the newest Barbie production vs the way some people reacted towards Ncuti Gatwa being introduced as the newest Doctor Who. It can be seen as something light-hearted but so easily weaponised.  

What does this mean for new creatives and existing ones?  Since the world is open to more diversity, in order to keep film and music prestigious, they’d rather produce remakes with existing talent than to allow new filmmakers or musicians to have their time to shine? With behind-the-scenes shots of the rendition of everyone’s favourite childhood doll ‘Barbie’, it’s definitely something worth discussing before falling in love with the direction.

The reason why nostalgia around pop-culture is appealing, is because for the people at the top of the food chain it sells. Regardless of whether or not there are faults or mistakes in the production of the work, they know people will buy into it. Eager fans who see new adaptations, remakes, or recognise samples of a song they enjoy make a guaranteed money-maker. The way in which people consume and engage with media has changed drastically with music, television, and film becoming more accessible to a worldwide audience. Feeling nostalgia is only natural, so it’s fair to embrace but also check it.

Words by Nicole Ndlovu

Posted On 3 October, 2022