Nearly everyone says 80’s/90’s fashion/music/etc. are cool. If that’s still the mainstream opinion, how did they go out of fashion at all?


Nearly everyone says 80’s/90’s fashion/music/etc. are cool. If that’s still the mainstream opinion, how did they go out of fashion at all?

In: 1

Because the cool kids wearing 80s/90s fasion are now squares that the young kids rebel against.

The purpose of fashion beyond the ascetic of it is to demonstrate to others that you are socially aware. To those that care about such things, wearing current fashions shows that you have your fingers on the pulse of current trends. It suggest that you probably have high social skills and are well connected. That suggest getting closer to you could hold value. Who’s more likely to get you into an elite club or introduce you to a minor celebrity, someone who looks like they grabbed their clothes straight out of a Paris runway or someone who still wears flannel and jnco jeans from the 90s?

That system doesn’t really work if fashion stays static does it? You don’t really have to have your finger on the pulse of social trends if that trend hasn’t changed for 30 years. It may look cool, but it doesn’t really tell you much about their social skills. The exception to this is when fashion trends eventually loop back around to embrace once again what it once discarded.

In the late 90’s, 80’s fashion was a joke.

It’s just come back around thanks to nostalgia and younger generations that never even experienced it. It’s novel to the youngsters.

I say that the fashion “was” cool then.

There are elements of it that can withstand the test of time and come back, but thankfully a lot of it has been permanently retired.

Unfortunately mom jeans somehow came back though. That’s like JNCO’s for men.

I’m blind so I’m not even gonna try addressing the fashion question, but I can help explain the music.

A few things all converged in the eighties to make the music so great. First, the switch from AM radio to FM doesn’t get the credit it deserves. Music in the seventies was all broadcast in mono over squeaky, squealing radios. FM frequencies sounded ten times cleaner and they made stereophonic listening possible.

Second, New Wave. New Wave was the nickname we gave to the group of English musicians who embraced synthesizers and high quality production. It was a continuation of the British Invasion music of the sixties, the New Wave of British invaders. American music in the seventies seemed to be a vehicle for people to get famous. The goal of many American bands was to make hit music, not good music.

The New Wave refocused on making good music, not hit music. Artistry was respected more than fame, and production really reached its apex back then. If you listen to a recording made in the 40s and compare it to one made in the 50s, the one made in the 50s sounds better made. If you compare one from the 50s to one from the 60s, the 60s recording sounds cleaner. Each decade got better right up until the 80s. Nothing after the 80s has improved. In fact, many audiophiles say digital compression in order to stream music today makes it sound worse than the analog recordings of the 80s.

Third, radio stations were independent. There wasn’t an I Heart Radio or a Clear Channel owning stations in every market that all sound the same. Stations were locally owned and each one sounded a little different than the next. Even different DJs on the same station had a different sound. The morning guy might be AOR, the lunch guy might be New Wave, the afternoon guy might be hard rock, the late guy might be prog rock, and the overnight guy might play deep tracks and really obscure stuff.

Because stations were local, local bands could get some airtime just by bringing a demo tape to the station. “Going national” was the original “going viral”. Going national meant your music was not only picked up by the local stations, but it spread all over the country.

Fourth, the variety. Today’s music follows a template, and if your song deviates from the template in length or beat or lyrical content, it won’t get played. You’ll have to beg listeners on YouTube to support you because I Heart Radio certainly won’t. Today’s music gatekeepers aren’t DJs, they’re market analysts with degrees.

In comparison, we had entire genres of music pop up *on the radio* in the 80s. Glam, punk, metal, industrial, hair metal, arena, outlaw country, heartland, southern rock, progressive, you get the idea. That couldn’t happen today, not with the gatekeepers we have in place.

Finally, the synthesizer revolutionized what music could sound like.

Add it all together and you have 80s music.

But just like early Motown was fresh and brilliant and late Motown was out of ideas, the same thing happened to 80s music. It got stuck in a rut. When RHCP and especially Nirvana broke out of that rut and showed us what grunge could be we were ready for a change.