Some things won’t be coming back

Faint cries for a relapse into The Worst Deca[y]de In Human History in a “recreations” thread elsewhere* prompted the following commentary from yours truly:

Methinks that any ’90s revival will come and go with all the retrogressive hoopla that’s likely to swarm the 20th anniversary of Nerdvana’s relic Nevermind frisbee next year. Most people who avoided it all the first time around won’t want to relive it, and the generation for whom that hollowed era serves as wee romanticism – those alive yet too young to have participated at the time – will comprise a small flame due to the low birthrates of the 1987-1992 era. The whole ’90s aesthetic quagmire really overstayed itself into the noughties anyway, and the public has quite obviously had enough. Just look at the recent mass turn towards wedge silhouetted fashions, all in spite of the hack Yahoo punditry’s cries to keep flogging the grunge-addled boho afflictions of yore.

As to the above comment* about the ’80s being the ‘in’ decade of late, it should be noted that this new-found reverence for The Style Decade has finally arisen nearly a decade after the cultural punditry had anticipated so. I remember thinking back in 2003 that 1980s sensibilities wouldn’t be renewed until people stopped labeling them with the revisionary brushstroke of “the 80s”. Considering how few people have noticed the debt that Rihanna’s influential strides of late owe to the New Romantic era, my predictions were on the money.

Furthermore, given how aesthetic cycles have slowed since rock music reached its evolutionary impasse following Live Aid, the old adage that “fashion moves in twenty year cycles” has become antiquated. These days, fashion moves in thirty to thirty-five year cycles. Not every period becomes classic, however. For all the reasons outlined above and many, many more, the ’90s/early noughties are most likely to go down the same way as the early 1950s: that uneventful pre-rock crooner era which, for decades since, has been but a blank spot on the cultural time-line.


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