I could make a very good argument that Molly Nilsson is the best living songwriter. Her music is funny, sincere, sad, lovely, and an adorable kind of fucked up. Everything she writes has a fun conceptual hook—”I hope you die,” “Only the lonely get out of here,” “Hey moon! It’s you and me tonight.”—but there’s always something deeper, lurking under mistaken trendiness: there’s always a sincere parallel to deep, universal emotions.
Her new song “1995” feels like a funny means to write a song about the twentieth anniversary of Windows ’95. As her songs go, it’s not actually about that: it’s about death and love. Unlike her seminal “I Hope You Die,” this song is actually about death and an attachment to a time when we were so happily future gazing, when we were without the baggage of things like climate change, when we were without Internet but still with Internet. It was a perfect year. It was twenty years ago and truly a simpler time. As she sings, it’s something we remember, something that is a part of us, something that is gone while we still are moving forward.
Nilsson produces the song with her typical glittering backtrack and tropical keyboards, the same material she always uses refashioned and rearranged to be something even stronger than before. It’s foreign pop for foreign feelings. The only new addition here is what sounds to be an actual saxophone solo to close out the song and act as a musical teleporter from this year to that year. “1995” is a song you will laugh at in trendy nostalgia—but it’s so much deeper than that. It’s a much more than ironic nostalgia.
You can catch Molly’s latest album Zenith on September 25. Get it here.