Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Trey Songz and Summer Walker's Song, "Back Home," is Pure Weaponized Nostalgia--in a Good Way

I've written about weaponized nostalgia as well as songs taking other songs and making something new-ish from them multiple times here on my blog. I wrote about Trey Songz doing it with, "About You," and Summer Walker doing it with, "Come Thru." Now, there is a new song with both of them that not only samples another popular song ("Oh Boy") which has itself been in a newer ditty ("What You Did"), it says bits of lyrics from an even older song. It is like a hit of pure nostalgia.

"Back Home," features a sample of the lady saying, "Oh boy," in the classic Cam'Ron song at a really sped-up level and has Trey Songz in the chorus saying, "If it isn't love, why I keep coming back? I keep coming back, back home," a direct re-jiggering of the lyrics in the classic New Edition song, "If it Isn't Love," which goes, "If it isn't love, why do I feel this way, why does she stay on my mind?" It's subtle, but the way Trey says his lines they have the exact same tone and speed as the words when you hear them in the New Edition song.
Trey Songz and Summer Walker.
So, we've got the song, "Back Home," sampling a rap song from the 2000s and lyrics reminiscent of the 1980's while featuring an artist who rose to prominence in the 2010s (Trey Songz) and one who just emerged as we entered into the 2020s (Summer Walker, and yes, she had a commercial mixtape in 2018 and her debut album dropped in late 2019, but I'm counting it this way). We have the perfect mixture of newer artists and a fresh song that also appeals to younger Baby Boomers and older Generation X by alluding to lyrics those who enjoyed the '80s will adore and sampling a hook those of us who came of age in the 2000s (like yours truly) will adore. This song has basically covered all its bases, hence my assertion that, "Back Home," is a powerful hit of weaponized nostalgia--and of course a pretty solid song all on its own too.

As for what my point is in all this, I'm not sure I have one beyond that there is something powerful in taking our love of old media and tweaking it to work in a new setting. Whether it is movies preying upon our love of the past (like, "Jurassic World," taking us back to the park,) or video-games with their remasters of classic titles, or songs as in this case, folk love when their new stuff evokes their love of old stuff, for better or worse.

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