I never quite understood why anyone would long for the “good ol’ days.”
I suppose if you’re a well-to-do white guy, going back in time would probably be pretty fun. The three-piece suits, carriage rides, frequent fires, duels — you know, the stuff dreams are made of.
But for the rest of us, there’s not much to write home about.
That is, until I discovered a treasure trove of old music.
The good people at the New York Public Library recently digitized thousands of documents including more than 4,000 pieces of popular American sheet music from the 19th and 20th century. And if you’re willing to sift through the frequent racism of the period, there are some real gems, many of which are very apropos today.
In fact, here are 17 popular songs from the 1800s that are perfect for any contemporary situation.
1. When your #TBT is really on point.
2. When you really want an electric car, then see how much they cost.
3. When anyone over 50 tells you how easy it was for them to graduate without student loan debt.
4. When you make the mistake of teaching your mom how to use her emoji keyboard.
How do you tell your mom this situation does not call for a smiley face with sunglasses? Hint: You don’t.
5. When you are fed up with explaining why intersectional feminism is important, but you do it anyway.
6. When you see someone throw a plastic bottle in the trash.
7. When you need to tell someone they’re not a special snowflake, but it’s super hot outside.
8. When you find out just how difficult it is to turn back the clock on climate change.
9. When you like Kevin Bacon but you hate “Footloose.”
10. When you’re still super pumped about marriage equality.
11. (Even if your family’s not quite on board.)
12. When you realize kids born in 1998 can buy cigarettes.
13. When it’s 3:30 on a Friday.
14. When you find out someone close to you is voting for Trump.
15. When you decide to go #nofilter on your latest selfie.
16. When you can’t find any Amur leopards or South China tigers.
17. When you find out your special someone finished “House of Cards” without you.
So the next time you’re looking for the right song for an ordinary (or extraordinary) occasion, ditch Spotify and try some music from days of yore.
While the haircuts, casual racism, and frequent fires should be relegated to the past, this music deserves to live on a little while longer.