Yesterday’s Music Influences Today

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Warning: Includes spoilers for “Yesterday.

It’s no secret that biopics have become the new trend in the movie industry. With movies such as Bohemian Rhapsody and Rocketman documenting the lives of some of the most influential musicians of the 21st century, it was only a matter of time before directors tackled the story of the Beatles. But when Danny Boyle released his modern masterpiece Yesterday, Beatles fans and average viewers alike were surprised at the fresh, new take on the biopic genre.

Within the first few minutes of the film, the main character, Jack Malick, and his close friend Ellie are introduced. The story is primarily set in London, where Jack performs gigs at small bars in front of small audiences. One day, on his way home, Jack gets hit by a bus, and wakes up the next morning in a hospital. His friends hand him a guitar as a get-well gift (as his old one got damaged), and he decides to play “Yesterday” by The Beatles. After realizing that nobody recognized what he was playing, Jack comes to the conclusion that he is the only person in the world that has any recollection of the band’s music. For the remainder of the film, Jack spends his time trying to remember the lyrics of all of the band’s songs, until he is spotted by an agency that helps him tour the world. Eventually, he feels guilty for stealing the Beatles’ music and decides to announce to the public that his songs were actually written by a band called The Beatles, and that all he wanted to do was to spread and expose the world to their touching and influential songs.  

After watching Bohemian Rhapsody and reading about Rocketman, I’ve noticed that many directors and producers are trying to introduce older songs to younger generations. These movies were highly successful, and it is my belief that the songs can appeal to audiences of any age. In addition, I think that certain aspects of the music industry are highly influenced by music from past generations. For example, Khalid’s album American Teen (released 2017) uses techniques and sounds that are reminiscent of the music of the 80’s. Khalid is an esteemed young artist, and his music is described as “vintage-sounding” yet modern at the same time. Other musicians such as Rex Orange County and Lauv are known to have this characteristic.

As someone who listens to music on a daily basis, I appreciate the fact that movies such as Yesterday revive music from past generations. I hope that future movies follow the same pattern and idea, so that adolescents can have exposure to a wider variety of music. 

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