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Girls are recreating outfits inspired by hyper-stylized image macros of flower crowns and band T-shirts they loved in middle school.
Others are digging back into their angst-ridden social media posts from their adolescent and teen years. She noticed something strange was going on when Megamind, an animated movie fromwas the most popular film on the platform the week of March Like junk foodvideo gamesand at-home hair dyenostalgia is a popular pastime even in normal circumstances, but particularly so in an era where the present feels inescapable.
Inmillennials flocked to emo-themed concerts to relive the melancholy soundtracks of their youth. Inteens made memes about being nostalgic forin part because anything before President Trump felt like some long-forgotten past. Now, when a pandemic orders us to stand still at the exact same time, the only way through is back. For Krystine Batcho, a professor of psychology who studies nostalgia at Le Moyne College, none of this is a surprise. Major life changes, even positive ones — career switch-ups, marriage, moving — always coincide with feelings of wistfulness, a return to a time when things felt simpler and less scary.
So does loneliness. Now there are all these choices. Not by choice, but because your university closed down the dorms. Your whole life is online now — classes, grocery shopping, friend dates, actual dates. It reminds you of another time in your life when online was the only place that really mattered. For year-old student Anna Tulenko, that time was Back then, her all-girls Catholic school had 15 people in each grade, so her real social life was on Tumblr and Instagram, in the fandom communities for alt-pop artists like Troye Sivan, Marina and the Diamonds, and Lana Del Rey.
People are often nostalgic for things that felt horrible at the time. Batcho says part of it is perspective — we realize how pointless our anxieties about boys or acne or friends actually were; we realize that absolutely everyone is miserable in middle school. This, of course, is not an objective statement.
Every age group believes this — the best music was the kind they listened to when Fun lady wanted for 2014 were the saddest; the best SNL cast was the one from the first time they watched. We went for the nostalgia, though.
We wanted to hear the kind of music that made us, young people in Brooklyn, feel like even younger people in a grungier and more glamorous Brooklyn. These songs are now some of the most popular on the hottest social app of the moment. Music, and the culture industry at large, is indeed different now.
The early s was the heyday for music blogs, where artists would pick up steam via a network of niche websites devoted to up-and-coming acts. Now, much of the music we listen to is dominated by what streaming algorithms demand. Fandoms for movies, TV shows, and celebrities had not yet gone mainstream — they were a hobby you tended to enjoy in enclosed circles, not publicly, and nobody outside of those circles really seemed to care all that much. Fast fashion existed, but it was not nearly as accessible and, well, fast as it is now — thanks to social media, beauty, and fashion trends moving at warp speed.
Behind all of this has been the ambient noise of a new kind of monoculturedominated by machine learning.
Nostalgia, like everything else, seems to move quicker now, too. Raftery also predicted that in the future, our cultural nostalgia will be less tied to specific artworks or ideas and more about the technologies on which they spread. It just feels like home. I was not a Tumblr teen; I was not listening to Arctic Monkeys or wearing chokers and tennis skirts like a goth Lolita in high school, and odds are neither were you.
You are an adult, living a life that is a little more boring than it was a decade ago, stuck at home in the midst of a global pandemic that will probably change the world as we know it. You hear a song that sounds like it could be screamed by a bunch of sad young people at a warehouse party, back when you used to go to warehouse parties, back when people were allowed to have those. How could it have ever been so good? Our mission has never been more vital than it is in this moment: to empower through understanding.
The Goods The great American cool. The Goods How should an influencer sound? The Goods Shein is the future of fast fashion. Is that a good thing?
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