Yesterday 1990 (Single)

by E. Lee

Track listing: Yesterday 1990

Attention K-Mart shoppers...

The golden era of shopping malls. K-Mart, Mervyn's, Auntie Anne's Pretzels, Sbarro, Musicland. There was always an arcade downstairs in a dark corner next to the least popular anchor department store. Spencer's Gifts. Hot Topic. Chess King. What were your faves? I'd seriously love to see a list in the comments of E. Lee's YouTube video for their latest single "Yesterday 1990." 

It's an ambient track, as are all of the tracks E. Lee drops. In this one you've got synth bells of various tonal qualities--faster 'dings' keeping a quasi-tempo and larger more spread-out bells sounding, perhaps the tolling of the end of the mall era as we knew it.

Walking around the two active malls in and around Austin, Texas, I wonder "Who are these people here and why haven't they already bought what they need on Amazon?" I should randomly ask people one day. But, hell, why am there? Usually to visit one particular store (there's a Lego Store in one mall and a very affordable tailor in the other).

But more than just stores and commercialism and corporations making a buck, shopping malls were the social epicenter in many cities around the world. Prior to social media you had hanging out with friends at the mall. You got there however you could--a ride with parents, bicycle, catch a ride with a friend, walk. Whatever it took. And there wasn't every really a meeting time or place. You just "went to the mall." Somewhere amidst the vast acreage of storefronts, fountains, escalators and niche shops, you searched...eventually finding your friends and wasting the next 4 to 6 or maybe even 8 hours.

One of E. Lee's favorite mall-time pursuits was playing Joust in the arcade. Sometimes it was about making it onto the High Scores list. Other times it was about escaping the doldrums of school-life or maybe home-life. Malls were counselors for many. They served as the national parks system within populated areas. They were both a destination and escape.

Soak in "Yesterday 1990." Maybe for you it was more like Yesterday 1980 or 1970. But take it in. Remember those times. The happy moments shared there. Maybe the gossip as it spread from Dillard's all the way down to Joske's. Hide and seek. Oh, and the mall walkers--we haven't touched on the seemingly secret societies of retirees who walked laps around the mall in search of extended their lifespans. That can be left for another day. For today, ponder your own experiences as you listen to "Yesterday 1990."

Posted on 2/6/24