One of my most vivid music-related childhood memories is of watching the Thompson Twins on the 1984 season premiere of Saturday Night Live. Their performance of “Hold Me Now” (along with the Men’s Synchronized Swimming sketch from the same episode, and the Padres’ playoff victory) solidified that year in my mind as one of major pop-culture awakening.
And now I can relive the year of Mary Lou Retton and Geraldine Ferraro in music and videos, thanks to The Nostalgia Machine. Developed by J. Doran and E. Slevin, the simple site lets you choose any year between 1960 and 2013 to generate a video playlist of 100 hot jams from that trip around the sun of your past (the earlier years are mostly audio streams, but those songs with television performance videos are an extra treat). It’s really just a list of the Billboard Year-End Hot 100 Singles from each year–but as those were the songs that were everywhere the year you, say, went to your first school dance (1988, looking around stupidly during “Never Tear Us Apart”), it’s as good a non-personalized selection as any. The site is clean and straightforward, perfect for last-minute karaoke prep.
And while there probably aren’t too many toddlers feeling nostalgic for the innocent days of 2013, the fact that the site includes the recent past will come in handy if, for example, you aren’t sure what all that “Blurred Lines” fuss was about.