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Spotlight: Molly Nilsson releases ‘1995’

Enigmatic songwriter Molly Nilsson released new single “1995” today. The Swedish-born, Berlin-based artist layers transportive Nico-esque vocals and romantic lyricism (having drawn comparisons to Morrissey, particularly on 2012’s History) over heavy synths, resulting in a sound straight out of 1980s Warschauer Straße.

Ironically enough, as Pitchfork has pointed out, the song’s release coincides nearly perfectly with the twentieth anniversary of Windows 95, a software technology that offered so much but ultimately fell flat, though- “If there’s anything to mourn about the buggy OS, it’s that sense of potential.” It’s here that the metaphor is apparent. Windows 95 epitomizes a time when advances in technology felt like miraculous leaps, whereas now these advances are so everyday that they’re, in a lot of ways, mundane. Sometimes it seems contrite or overly precious to bemoan technological advances (“I could never use a Kindle, I need the feel of an actual book in my hands”); Nilsson manages to capture this lost sense of “standing on the threshold of the end of time,” when these advances felt so surreal, in a way that’s genuinely wistful.

Mandy Brownholtz

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