Even if The Lightyears Explode didn’t name their recent track Nostalgia 99, it would still evoke nostalgia among not just kids from the 90s but also several young Indian listeners, especially the ones who grew up in the 2000s. While the former was a Walkman and radio generation, the kids in the latter category relied on cheap MP3 players and VH1 airplay of family-friendly pop-rock acts like the Jonas Brothers (particularly their early era with hits like Year 3000) and imaginative electro-pop artists like Owl City (whose magnum opus was the child-like Fireflies).
The song by Revenge of Kalicharan-hitmakers The Lightyears Explodes seems to resemble such upbeat yesteryear tracks. It opens with an optimistic synth-driven production while vocalist (and also guitarist and synth-player) Saurabh Roy sings the track with the optimism of the aforementioned 21st-century comparisons and or mood-uppers from the wave of 80s pop anthems. Despite drawing parallels and somewhat derivative sound, Nostalgia 99 gives the band its own voice too and the lyrics are universally applicable for anyone who misses the escapism that their childhood had to offer.
In this sense, one simple line from Roy’s hook stands out, ‘I’m not gonna leave my room’. Once adulthood replaces the younger days, many of us might feel like going back to our childhood room and never step out to the real world. It’s a much-needed shot of positivity in case any listener is yearning for an uplifted mood in these bleak times of uncertainty.
Bandmember Shalom Benjamin adds to the positive vibes with his bass while Jishnu Short Round Guha adds the additional vocal harmonies. The collective effort results in an instantly likable song with heavy repeatability. Even though the band sings about their nostalgia and coming-of-age, the sonic atmosphere is bound to impress various demographics.
Even though the song’s dominant genre might be pop, it’s still a breath of fresh air in terms of the pop/rock-fused sound it presents. In the end, Nostalgia 99 might sound familiar but it’s definitely not formulaic.
Verdict: Lifts your mood and takes you on a nostalgic trip in an instant. If you need some escapism, Nostalgia 99 would be the cure.