Nostalgia and irony frequently criss-cross. This is hardly a new observation — anyone who sat through ten hours of Mo Rocca explaining The Love Boat in the Aughts knows it well — but one that feels ever present. Satellite Young offer a masterclass in balancing this just right without tipping over into the sort of eye rolling “Slinkies, wow!” territory no shortage of pop culture happily bathes in. The music on this year’s Satellite Young channels ’80s idol songs with a droplet of John Hughes prom climax, but the lyrics focus on the world of now, from fake Facebook profiles to FOMO. And for all the winks, the trio are capable of transcending it and hitting on real longing.
“Modern Romance” might now stand as their best example of this tightrope walk. This is a song about Tindr, or at least about love in the age of Tindr — the use of the word “swipe” seconds in should give that one away. Yet it also doesn’t dwell too much on that — remember this piece of garbage? — and the group simply accepts this reality and just makes a jam out of it. “Modern Romance” is ultimately just a fantastic synth-pop song taking cues from late ’80s Japanese pop, highlighted by an ear-worm chorus made all the better by the synthesizer melodies. No goofy dwelling on what-it-all-means, no thick layers of thought to work out — kind of like how some of Perfume’s best songs simply shrug and accept a digitally absorbed world, Satellite Young embrace reality, and make the most of it. Listen above.