Out with the new, in with the old

Honorable Mention, Feature Writing


Photo by Juliana Malta on Unsplash

Polaroid photography has gained popularity with teens.

Old shows, music, and fashion have been making a comeback in today’s pop culture scene.

Old things are the new cool. The vintage aesthetic is very much alive, and young people are the ones bringing it back.

Things like Throwback Thursdays, where you play songs from the ‘90s and ‘00s, show how much younger audiences appreciate the pop culture of past generations.

My friends and I are guilty of having throwback playlists. Some of the iconic tunes on our playlists include “No Scrubs” by TLC and “Rich Girl” by Gwen Stefani. Listening to these songs evoke good feelings.

Old and familiar songs make us happy and take us back to our innocent youth when we were oblivious about the many imperfections of our society. The popular genres in these playlists are pop and hip-hop.

In the realm of retro TV, there are teens streaming older shows like “Friends” and “That ‘70s Show” on their phones.

But why are young people so nostalgic about times before they were born or when they were too young to remember?

This goes for previous generations also, not just mine. In the ‘90s there was a huge ‘70s nostalgia revival with movies and shows like “Dazed and Confused” and “That 70s Show” becoming popular with teens all over again.

I think teens from every generation feel the need to look back to a simpler time. Especially kids my age. My generation was born into the digital age — most of us don’t remember a time without the internet and social media, things that have always been big parts of our lives.

Listening to old throwback songs and watching old shows make us remember times when we were just kids and things weren’t as complicated as they are today.

My generation also grew up in a volatile and unpredictable post-9/11 world. We are well acquainted with tragedy and have become numb to it.

That’s not the only reason my generation has become disillusioned with and uncertain about the future. Add the threat of global warming, economic uncertainty and frequent mass murders, many of them at schools.

No wonder we turn to old music, shows, and fashion. We long to relive a less complicated.

Just by listening to Britney Spears or Outkast, we feel like we are bringing back a little piece of the past.

The vintage influence is also reflected in current fashion trends. Celebrities and young people are now wearing things like tube tops, tracksuits, and colorful sunglasses that were all the rage 20 years ago.

Teens are starting to use Polaroid cameras and record players, things that we thought were never going to come back. There was their revival except for nostalgia. We have phones that take high-quality pictures and music-streaming apps that let us play music anywhere.

You can actually touch a record player, and a Polaroid camera has one use: taking pictures that tumble out of the camera within seconds. Using these older things brings us back to the simplicity of the past.

It’s more important now than ever to hold onto physical things as opposed to having everything on the web or digitally stored.

The old things feel more authentic and personal. They evoke longing a time that now seems more ideal. But, who knows, maybe teens 10 or 20 years from now will look back at our era with similar feelings of nostalgia.

This story was an honoree in the 2020 Lesher Awards competition.