80s

Neon Indian was made to pull at our 20something heartstrings

Someone once said, we see the world once in childhood; the rest in memory. At least that’s where my mind takes me when I’m listening to Alan Paloma’s creation, Neon Indian, one of the bands to come out of the pre-teens (this decade we’re living in) that will stand out as the two-layer feel-so-good cake that appeals to your senses. When their 2011 album, Era Extraña came out, Pitchfork described the result by saying: “Palomo feels more comfortable when looking to the past than turning his gaze to the uncertain future,” while it still “contains the familiar warm glow of old television sets and half-remembered memories of the 1980s, Palomo is more than adept when utilizing short-term memory to evoke some of modern indie’s more memorable 2000s-era fashions.”

I guess that’s the best way to explain Neon Indian. There’s this comforting but foreign idea that could have only been conceived of someone who was born in 1988 (Paloma). It’s saying: “I vaguely remember the ambience, the richness, the pastel colors, the carefree decadence of the ’80s, but I’m a 20something of this era, and this era traces back the fads of yesteryear in a way that divides us–mostly as hipsters, but also music-lovers, grunge-kids, skaters, queer youth, ravers, bra-straps showing, t-shirts cut out, jeans colored, boots un-tied, messy hair, bright nail polish, Billy Jean hair, DIY, forever ’90s, splashes of neon. We’re ’80s-lite; it’s the root of our bedazzled fixations on what we define as cool, however it may change, unfold, reinvent itself, or revert back, if only to pick up the stardust of what was left behind and is too good, awesome, under-appreciated, to not pay homage to.

Back in 2011, Spin did a Q+A with Paloma, where he mentioned that he realized New Order’s “Bizarre Love Triangle” was his favorite song after hearing it for the zillionth time in high school and suddenly being transported back in time to his childhood. The interviewer suggested that fans feel similar about Neon Indian–that somehow, Paloma has truly evoked some downright sappy shoestrings of nostalgia that plays to the same chord. But perhaps it’s the ah-ha moment Paloma had when navigating where his music plays into the present. “We are living in the future, but it’s nothing like the sci-fi movies. We’re accepting these scientific advancements as the new norm. But at the same time, we’re rummaging through the past to find creative inspiration. It’s an era of longing.”

If you don’t think that’s genius, you’re on the wrong blog. Basically, this dude is bringing up every theory, moment, and feeling and backing up the basic idea that yes, we feel deeply for the past, in a way that doesn’t make us totally unaware of the present, but listen, no really, can you hear that? It’s your Facebook notifications blowing up your smart phone. We’re in a world where people are sitting around camp fires checking their timelines, or newsfeeds, or whatever. Don’t get it twisted. I would never want to part ways with blue tooth in my car, but what I definitely would be okay with is jumping into a time machine to just feeeeeel the way 1985 lingers on you. And maybe it has nothing to do with technology, getting older, once being a tiny kid. Proverbial time machines like Neon Indian create that heat, create that energy. I really miss fashionable moms. What happened to moms!? They used to get so snazzed up for a run to the grocery store, and now? I miss power ’80s business women, running the sidewalks, the bigger the shoulder pads the closer to heaven. I miss Tom Selleck mustaches. Short shorts on men. People don’t carry their power enough anymore. Synthesizers bring out so much power in people. When we gaze into the hazy terrain of years’ passed, we feel a shot right through with a bolt of blue.

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