In recent years, you might have heard someone before panic that “the eighties are back.” Yes, the dreaded eighties, with massive hair and questionable attire, maybe coming back—in music at least. Current times have people reminiscing on times before the pandemic, especially the eighties. In the media as of late, there has been a strong nostalgia movement—especially on television, where current popular shows such as “Stranger Things” romanticize the eighties. Television aside, this so-called “nostalgic movement” is now making its way into another industry: the music industry.
Over the last few weeks, multiple artists have released their albums to entertain people of all ages everywhere in lockdown from the COVID-19 pandemic. Interestingly, a lot of chart-topping songs as of recent are unafraid to experiment with the same poppy synths that used to dominate songs back in the eighties. On March 20, Canadian music artist Abel Makko Tesfaye, widely known as The Weeknd, unveiled his fourth studio album “After Hours” to the world. The brand-new album contains fourteen different songs. It has been four years since the R&B singer came out with a new album, with “Star Boy” being released back in 2016.
In “After Hours,” listeners are in for a wild and nostalgic ride. The most popular song on the album, “Blinding Lights,” is a fast-paced song, with bright synths and a catchy beat—making for an infectious dance song. Other songs on the album are more experimental. The interlude “Repeat After Me,” is co-produced by special guest and frontman of the psychedelic music project Tame Impala, Kevin Parker. Recently, Parker has also released a hit album on Valentine’s Day, “The Slow Rush.” Currently, “After Hours” continues to sit at the top of the Billboard 200.
English pop star Dua Lipa is also no stranger to experimenting with eighties beats. The London native’s second studio album, appropriately named Future Nostalgia, was released on March 27. Immediately, the album rose to the top of music charts. Just like After Hours, the album features songs with prominent eighties influences. Dua Lipa makes her intentions clear at the very start of the album. “You want a timeless song, I wanna change the game,” Lipa opens in the track “Future Nostalgia,” in which the album is named after.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage on, there is no doubt we will continue to see more music like that of Dua Lipa and The Weeknd. Although 2020 has already proven itself to be a terrible year, its music says otherwise. With so much time spent in isolation, artists are bound to push the limits of music, as well as redefine current pop culture itself.