90s nostalgia is no new concept.  Any one that lived through the decade is likely to have spent at least a few moments reminiscing about boy bands, President Clinton, and the early days of the internet.  There was even that whole VH1 show about the decade.

But now more than ever, it seems as if the 90s style and attitude is swinging back to the forefront of popular culture.

Odd Future is the new Wu-Tang and its leader is the new Eminem.  Eminem himself is back on top.  Flannel is fashionable again.  Just as LCD Soundsystem— one of the aughts’ favorite acts— retired, the Beastie Boys returned to prominence.  Derrick Rose is the new Michael Jordan and the Bulls are exciting to watch again.  Gangsta rap is back in the form of Freddie Gibbs, and Dr. Dre’s mythical Detox album seems to be slowly becoming a reality.  Bands like Cage The Elephant and Manchester Orchestra are bringing a harder and more aggressive sensibility back into alternative rock music, which mostly dragged its way through the 2000s with sleep-inducing indie.

Much of that popular indie music that has dominated throughout the past several years was highly influenced by musicians from the 80s.  The people making it grew up during that time, and their influences were obviously reflected in their work.  Walking around Coachella last year it seemed as if almost every band playing on a small stage was blatantly ripping off Depeche Mode and Joy Division.

While artists in the 00s grew up listening to 80s New Wave and Michael Jackson,  however, the young kids making music now grew up on Kurt Cobain and 2pac.  The groups that are currently emerging were also undoubtedly influenced by musicians from the 80s, 70s, 60s, and other decades further back, but its the 90s with which they truly connect.  Nostalgia is a powerful emotion, and it’s ever-apparent in musical trends.

Perhaps I’m reading too much into it.  Ten years is a long span of time, and there have been numerous different musical styles, pop culture phenomena, and subcultures throughout each year of recent history.  Still, we all have a general, perhaps stereotypical idea of what certain decades were like.  Although it’s hardly true in all cases, it seems as if the 80s were a huge influence on the 00s, and that the 90s are making a comeback now.  Neon is fading to flannel once again.

Despite the 90s influence on modern music, things are obviously different now.  Kurt Cobain wasn’t on Twitter 24/7 and he probably wouldn’t have wanted to be.  Perhaps as proof directly opposing my argument, The Cars released their new album today, the band’s first since 1987’s Door To Door.  Also, the more 90s-oriented musicians likely wouldn’t exist now without living through the music of the 00s and reacting to it, the same way the 00s were a reaction to the 90s.  Everything is a reaction to everything else, and everything is recycled.

Maybe this is all too obvious.  Maybe I’m reading too much into it.  Either way, I like the new, more rebellious attitude that seems to be emerging in music.  And as I’ve stated in several heated arguments throughout the years, 80s music sucked.


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