On the surface, “Nostalgia” by Chris Jobe comes off as a bubbly pop song, but a few more listens reveal an artful tinge of melancholy to the lyrics. This is an age-old contrast that songwriters use to create irony, but anyone who has ever heard this song knows that it never gets old.
Jobe uses the intro as an opportunity to throw a bit of an atmospheric curveball. A minor, enigmatic-sounding trumpet line dusted with a bit of radio static takes up the first few seconds of the song. The mood is dark, uneasy, or maybe even ominous. In moments, this changes. Jobe croons, “Nostalgia” and suddenly, there’s an upbeat, plucky guitar and a cheerful drum groove. The decision to introduce the song with such a dramatically different ambiance mirrors the underlying struggle present in the lyrics. Even though the speaker is remembering the beauty and happiness in his relationship, he’s implying that he doesn’t feel the same way now. There’s a cognitive dissonance between the rosy appearance of the past and the less appealing present.
On a less analytical note though, the song is an absolute banger. The melody is an earworm, the production is subtle and well-done, and the sectional identity gives it an incredible arc. There’s absolutely no denying that the “I would run away, run away, run away with–” section is a stroke of genius. No sane person could walk away from this tune without humming it under their breath. The stripped-down, acoustic parts as well–just feel so satisfying. When this song eventually melts into the funky little instrumental outro, complete with keyboard tremolo and a quiet repetition of the trumpet line, it feels short-lived. “Nostalgia” by Chris Jobe doubtlessly deserves to be on your pop playlist, if not on repeat.
Written by Alyce Lindberg
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