When I was young, I absolutely hated nostalgia. I saw it as the enemy of creativity. Time, and particularly age, has softened that approach; I now understand nostalgia and even sometimes like it despite myself. But the thing is, when I do like nostalgia, it’s nostalgia for something I experienced. So I can understand why Boomers and people a little bit younger than them like this music but the thing I struggle with is why other generations love it. I know so many people (nearly all women, or entirely women) who love this thing. And when I listen to this music I think, “but you didn’t live through the ’50s!?!?!?” There’s definitely a part in all human beings that is tempted to feel nostalgia for a past never experienced, but it just escapes me what about the ’50s is appealing to people. Anyway…
One reason why people really like this is because the music from the actual movie/show is really catchy and, at this point, extremely iconic. Despite myself I know at least three of these songs very, very well (without having ever seen the movie all the way through, seriously). And they’re campy, albeit not campy enough for my liking. (Give me The Rocky Horror Picture Show over this, please, even Meatloaf.) So while these songs are nostalgia, they are at least winking nostalgia and catchy nostalgia.
But, unfortunately, there’s a lot of music here that isn’t from the movie. In fact, there are somehow six Sha Na Na songs. Sha Na Na are a nostalgia act that some people believe are poking fun at the past but I’ve never been able to see much beyond straight-up revivalism. And their covers aren’t even as good as the originals. It’s hard to know why they’ve been granted so much time here. It’s pretty painful.
As for the Frankie Valli faux-disco theme song; I definitely could live without it (especially twice – why is this so long?) as I don’t like disco and I’m not sure it suits the movie, the soundtrack or Frankie Valli.
I want to shit on this more than I already have, but the music from the music is strong enough (even though it’s not my thing) that I feel like rating this any lower would be unfair to that music. (But seriously, drop the Sha Na Na.)