Home Music A love letter to the ’80s: modern music that revisits the era

A love letter to the ’80s: modern music that revisits the era

Photo by Kristina Dawn

In recent years, pop culture has seemingly become obsessed with the 1980s, with everything from film and television to fashion trends nodding to the era. The retro wave may have hit the hardest when it comes to music though, as modern acts like The 1975 and MGMT pull their inspiration directly from the decade.

The ’80s — the decade of the synthesizer. This electronic instrument is perhaps the defining trait of the era’s music. Thanks to the introduction of one Yamaha DX7 in 1983, the sound of synth would spread quickly, creating an iconic style that subsequent musicians would continue to replicate. Now, over 30 years later, synth-pop has made a full-fledged comeback.

Though bands like The 1975 certainly didn’t invent the ’80s pop revival sound that they have been linked with since the start of their career, they probably played a role in making it so attractive. With earworm rhythms, the songs stick almost as hard as anything by Tears For Fears.

In a similar fashion, Pale Waves have made the darker side of ’80s synth-pop their own personal brand. It should be no surprise that Matty Healy had a hand in producing their debut since the band is essentially The 1975’s goth cousin.

Kevin Parker of Tame Impala modern music
Image via Spin Magazine

Tame Impala is also no stranger to synths, with Kevin Parker having produced a critically acclaimed album (Currents) that relied on the instrument. In doing so, Parker only pushed forward the ’80s obsession that has been at the forefront of modern music.

Recreating ’80s music: unoriginal or innovative?

The adaption of ’80s sounds by modern musicians has been met with mixed criticism. Some artists have been praised, while others have been scrutinized for being unoriginal. But all music is inspired by other music —it’s just a matter of preference, and of whether one gravitates toward catchy pop music or something more experimental. It’s safe to say that there is room for both.

Carly Rae Jepsen
Image via NPR

There was a time when ’80s pop was generally thought to be tacky. In retrospect, it was an era of music that would become ubiquitous. From Tame Impala to Carly Rae Jepsen, as we reach into the past, we are revisiting what made the ’80s so fun.


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