When NIN was inducted into the 2020 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Iggy Pop cited French novelist Michel Houellebecq in saying the simplest thing you can do that contributes to success is to tell the truth. The memories I have when I listen to those old songs are beautiful and they remind me how enjoyable life can be despite the bad experiences you were going through at the time: teenage angst, bad boyfriend/girlfriend times, depression; it brings fresh excitement to your own limited world. Listening to records is a screen that has painted an existential mesh on top of the present moment that blends how you lived then into now, however flawed and incorrect it inevitably may be. Sometimes that feeling is so intoxicating because it was true for you once, and in a way it will always be true.
Iggy Pop said the first time he saw Trent Reznor he said he seemed to come from 15th Century Spain:
“If he’d been alive at the right time, I think he could have been painted by Velasquez or El Greco, and his portrait would probably hang in the Prado today.”(Iggy Pop, 2020)
When I was a teenager, I went to Spain with my aunt to visit our family who lives there. One of my favorite artists is El Greco, a Spanish artist whose art hangs in museums. When we were in Toledo in 1997, there was a converted museum that used to be a hospital. El Greco would paint the faces of patients in mental institutions because Greco said their eyes could see God. Sometimes mental illness disqualifies you from being valid or seen, but Greco validated them through his creative renditions. Many of his paintings include self-portraits of himself, and I believe he felt he was one of the common people, in painting himself among those people, and that he was doing the will of the people in performing his art and giving it to the world.