Put Wild Nothing’s music in every rom-com

Jack Tatum’s beautiful music is nostalgic for itself at this point.

August 29, 2018
Put Wild Nothing’s music in every rom-com Cara Robbins

There's a scene in Netflix's super-charming To All The Boys I've Loved Before where Lara Jean walks down the corridor and bumps into resident mean girl Gen — a relatively inessential scene that nonetheless had me reaching for my phone to Shazam the jangly indie-pop tune playing in the background. It was Wild Nothing, a band I hadn't thought about in years; the song "Chinatown" is from their debut Gemini, an album I loved when it was released in 2010.

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In our algorithm-led era, I increasingly enjoy listening to music more when I feel like I'm hearing it by chance — from walking past a car blasting the radio, an old favorite floating across the aisle of a shop, or hearing something linking scenes in a rom-com (and, yes, I'm aware of the irony of turning to Netflix to escape the algorithm). After being drawn back Gemini, I remembered that the band's new album, Indigo, is out this Friday; my favorite song from it is "Canyon On Fire," a rich and brooding tune that makes me wish I could play synths and guitar in equal measure.

I don't think anyone involved with "Canyon On Fire" would object to me saying that the song sounds a lot like The Cure— specifically, Disintegration's "Lullaby." Tatum has actually spoken about the retro sound of the new record in the run up to its release, saying "if Indigo is not timeless, then it’s at least ‘out of time.'”

Earlier this summer, I spent a moment out of time watching The Cure play live in London. It was my first time watching the band, something I'd previously put off due to their epic shows that often run near the three-hour mark. However, I was in luck, and they headlined Hyde Park with a greatest hits set that clocked in at little over what it took me to watch To All The Boys I've Loved Before. It was a great night where teen goths and plenty more their parents age were able to revel in a sense of nostalgia, whether real or somewhat imagined.

That sense of longing for a romantic (and possibly fictional) love runs through so much right now, from the mini resurgence in rom-coms to the lo-fi bedroom pop made by Clairo, Rex Orange County, and Cuco. It's intoxicating and totally legit, even if the specific feelings aren't always tangible or easily explained. Ultimately love, and love songs, rule and Wild Nothing is really good at making them.

Put Wild Nothing’s music in every rom-com