Days of futures past – temporal travel in the world of tribute entertainment

Gregory, Georgina orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-7532-7484 (2015) Days of futures past – temporal travel in the world of tribute entertainment. Journal of European Popular Culture, 6 (2). pp. 117-128. ISSN 2040-6134

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According to postmodern theorists, the compression of time and space has led to the problematizing of both linear views of history and utopian concepts of the future. The postmodern shift towards nostalgia, where styles and sounds are constantly recycled, has been accompanied by a rejection of the modernist faith in the future. Thus, many of us find it difficult to envisage a tomorrow that is not like yesterday, seeking reassurance in familiar sounds and images that validate our perception of past music and associated styles. This article explores the phenomenon of the parodic popular music tribute, demonstrating the appeal it offers to temporal travellers in an era where our desire to incorporate the past into the present increasingly defines our future. Through an examination of the work of individual artists and groups I show how acts like Bjorn Again and The Bootleg Beatles promote a rejection of modernist visions of transformation. Instead, this form of entertainment constructs a future characterized by constant revivification of the music of the past.

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