Commentary: Comeback Of Retro Music In Modern Charts

Music is cyclical. Trends come and go, and styles fall in and out of fashion. In recent years, there has been a resurgence of retro music styles topping the charts. Songs and artists that pay homage to the sounds of the 70s, 80s and 90s have made a thunderous comeback.

One example of this Retro revival is the rise of synthwave music. Synthwave, also known as Retro Electro, is an electronic music genre influenced by 1980s synthpop and soundtrack styles. The word ‘synthwave’ was coined in the mid-2000s to describe music that emulated the synthesizer-heavy ‘80s pop sound. Artists like The Midnight, FM-84, and Gunship have gained popularity creating music with a very ‘80s vibe. The Midnight’s song Jason is a prime example, with its dreamy synths, reverberated drums, and moody lyrics. This retro ’80s inspired sound has found an audience with both older listeners nostalgic for the era, as well as younger generations discovering the neon-lit futuristic aesthetic for the first time.

The Pop charts have also seen a return of a more vintage pop sound. Artists like Dua Lipa, The Weeknd, and Bruno Mars have topped the charts with songs that give a nod to throwback styles. Dua Lipa’s mega-hit Don’t Start Now has a very ‘70s and ‘80s inspired groove with its percussive bassline, funky guitar, and disco-pop sound. The Weeknd’s Blinding Lights also embraces a retro ’80s pop sound with its moody synths, romantic lyrics, and new wave vibe. Bruno Mars frequently draws on classic R&B, pop, and funk styles of the ’70s and ’80s in songs like Treasure, Finesse, and 24K Magic. This retro-inspired pop is both familiar and fresh, giving listeners a taste of musical nostalgia while still producing a contemporary chart-topping sound.

Even Hip Hop has seen a resurgence of old school sounds and styles in the past few years. Tracks like Post Malone’s Wow and Saweetie’s My Type sample classic ‘90s R&B beats and west coast Hip Hop grooves. Doja Cat’s viral hit Juicy with Tyga also has a very retro ‘90s aesthetic with its Hip Hop beat, flashy music video, and ode to ‘90s pop culture. These retro Hip Hop tracks appeal both to older Hip Hop fans while also introducing younger audiences to a throwback ‘90s style.

In many ways, retro music provides a sense of comfort. Familiar styles from the past tap into musical nostalgia, bringing listeners back to a time they associate with fond memories. But retro music can also sound fresh when incorporated into a modern Pop sound. Regardless of the reasons behind its resurgence, retro music and vintage Pop styles made a big comeback on today’s music charts. Music always reflects the era it’s made in, but it seems in this modern age listeners still yearn for that throwback groove. The retro revival highlights the cyclical nature of music and cultural trends. The sounds of the past will always inspire the hits of today and shape the future of music.

Blue Rhymez Entertainment ©2023

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