Eighties revival: the rise of nostalgic music in lockdown

Nostalgia plays a significant part in music being a source of escapism. During this pandemic, nostalgic music has played a significant part in many people’s coping mechanisms. While you can’t see certain people and places, you can still turn to music which has an association to the things you might be missing.  

This notion of “nostalgia” is especially relevant to this current moment. Dua Lipa has arguably cornered this market, with her aptly named 2020 release Future Nostalgia going on to become one of the highest selling albums of the year. This album utilises 1980s pop music tropes to create the nostalgic feel. Despite not being alive in the 80s, for me this type of dance music still creates a sense of longing for a by-gone happier time that everyone can relate to. Eighties music has definitely seen a revival in 2020, with The Weeknd’s After Hours also being heavily influenced by the period.  

For me personally, I feel a special affinity for artists that had their break-out moments in 2013/2014, as all their subsequent releases have then kind of gone on to score my teenage years. One of these artists is Kiesza, who you might remember from the 2014 hit song “Hideaway”. She is another artist who has brought out an album in 2020 that has a heavy 1980’s influence, with her release Crave, which went on to receive critical acclaim. It was released independently and has a Metacritic rating of 77.  

Another recent independent album release comes from Aluna of AlunaGeorge. You may remember her from her platinum hit “White Noise” with Disclosure in 2013. The album’s title Renaissance also has a rather nostalgic feel to it, and deals with similar themes of revival and recreation that we feel more and more in this period of music.

Through the sampling, the cover art, the music videos, “nostalgia” can certainly be considered a staple part of the music of 2020.

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Jake Walker-Charles

February 2021
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