More Than a Feeling


More than a cheesy FM radio golden oldie. OK, so Boston isn’t one of those bands that have coffee table books and museum exhibitions devoted to them. In fact, there’s not much to remember them for except this song. And, OK, it is a cheesy golden oldie that’s been overplayed into oblivion and back. But it does inspire some thought into the curious half-life of a big pop hit. This is the kind of huge popular hit song that exists purely as a hit song, unencumbered by the contextual legacy of the people who created it. Nobody knows or cares about the members of Boston; there isn’t any residual personal attachment or enriching backstory. It’s just a song that became a popular hit in 1976. It sold a lot of copies, so presumably many people really enjoyed it a lot. Boston was a prime example of the kind of pompous, overproduced, selling-it-to-the-cheap-seats arena bands that seemed to dominate the pop charts; it was the success of songs like this one that spurred the birth of punk, and the waves that followed it. By the time punk revolution rolled in and then out, bands like Boston were anathema. You couldn’t get any more deeply uncool. Then came the irony generation, with their eye-rolling nostalgia-in-quotation-marks. Now, several generations down the line, even irony seems to have run its course. How long can you look down your nose at something that was uncool before you were even around for it? Does it even matter if it was cool or not? It’s not a deep song or a clever one, or life changing or profound. But it’s still popular and it’s still effective.

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