Have you ever heard of Bruce Springsteen? Bon Jovi? Tears for Fears? Most likely you haven’t! While you might not be familiar with the names of artists, you’ve definitely heard their music playing at Starbucks, the gym, or possibly even on TikTok. 80s music seems to be everywhere, and it’s momentum is strong. Recently, I started to notice the influence of the 80s not only in music, but also in the music videos of today's popular artists.
Taking a closer look at the music that artists create today, it is clear to see that various songs sound similar to songs from the 80s. One example is the song “Blinding Lights” by The Weeknd. In this song, you might hear instruments like the saxophone, bass drum and snare drum, instruments that were very popular during that decade.
Additionally, this song has a retro sound to it and can be compared to songs like “Young Turks” by Rod Stewart or “Self Control” by Laura Branigan. A second example are various songs by the modern band, Current Joys. A lot of songs that this band comes out with have an 80s style alternative sound. For instance, their song, “New Flesh,” includes guitar, bass, drums and piano, giving it an 80s vibe.
Taking a look at music videos, there are several examples of how artists have incorporated references to the 80s. The first example is the recent music video that Dua Lipa made for her song, “Physical.” In this video, which depicts the stereotypical 80s exercise workout class, dancers are dressed in the trendy clothes of the time: tie-dye spandex bodysuits, pigtails with ribbons, sweatbands, large hoop earrings, neon colors, leg warmers, high socks, and scrunchies. In fact, this song has many references to Olivia Newton-John’s song, “Physical,” from 1981.
A second example is in modern day artist Jubël's music video of the song “Weekend Vibe.” The music video portrays what a weekend on the beach in the 80s would look like, both in terms of the quality of the video and the content. The video features floral wallpaper in a house, bright colored clothing, the cars driven in the 80s, and radios.
While modern day artists are still incorporating and referencing 80s sounds and props into their music and music videos, the actual songs from the 80s are starting to make a return as well, mostly through social media platforms such as TikTok. Numerous TikTok trends in the past two years have had copious songs from the 80s incorporated into them, including “Just the Two of Us,” by Bill Withers and Grover Washington Jr., “Somebody’s Watching Me,” by Rockwell and Michael Jackson, “Careless Whisper,” by George Michael, and “Cars That Go Boom,” by L'Trimm.
The 80’s does appear to be making a comeback. All of the songs and music videos that I’ve previously mentioned certainly prove that point.
One can not help but wonder why our modern day music and music videos are making countless references to previous generations. Were the 80s a better time in America? Was living so much easier that we somehow want to relive the past? Is it worth comparing those times to the present? Were those times more influential than other decades?
In the notable words of Stephen King, “Sooner or later, everything old is new again.”