I was very recently listening to NPR’s All Songs Considered New Music Podcast (the January 26th episode) and there was a brief bit about how the early 00’s are starting to be considered retro by some folks. The conversation was in relation to a band that sounds like Yeah Yeah Yeahs. This brief 1 minute aside stuck with me (I even made a quick Twine adventure about it at https://thecianrice.itch.io/the-00s-are-retro-now).
I personally still don’t think of them as retro - maybe that’s because even 18 years removed it feels very fresh in my elephant-like memory but I could be in a minority here. Does anyone think of the early 2000’s as retro?
Memories of playing early Gamecube, Xbox, PS2 games (i.e 2001/2002) are still super fresh. Using a Walkman and not an iPod similarly. Heck, even playing Pokemon Silver on Gameboy Color feels very fresh. So I’m super curious if my perspective is warped by how vivid my memories are?
Much to my chagrin, I think the early 2000s are, unfortunately, nearing the cusp of going from “cringey things I remember barely” to “soft-focus nostalgia”. I don’t know how I feel about this exactly, but seeing as much early-00s-aesthetic revivalism these days makes me think it’s out of my control.
No, I don’t think the 00s are retro. No matter how far removed they get I don’t think they’ll be retro. I’m not sure the 00s have an aesthetic to themselves. The giant CRT monitors and flip phones and dial up internet of the early 00s is a very different image from the one at the end of the decade. It’s like you could lump in the early 00s with the 90s and the late 00s with the 10s. The dividing line being somewhere around the iphone launch or rise of facebook.
the 00’s will become retro sure as hell is hot. but they aren’t retro yet. I was a #teen during the 00’s i’ll know when it’s fucking retro. Right now the 90’s are veering into glitzy nostalgia territory, very slowly. The 80’s is already going and gone through this. But the 00’s… nah. not yet.
give it 20 more years when i’m in my 40s and too tired to tell kids to stop purposefully making sites look like the original version of youtube or whatever the fuck kids’ll be into in 2038.
I will not accept that the 2000’s are truly retro until film companies start cannibalizing the media of my youth for their newest releases. Once they reboot Jimmy Neutron or Drake & Josh or, like, Jump5 for a feature film, then I’ll feel like they’re truly retro.
One difficult aspect I think we’ll reach if early 2000’s fashion comes back is how nebulous of an idea that was. I remember a lot of sheer and flash and baggy everything, like this photo of high school LeBron James would indicate:
But aside from that, I don’t remember there being a lot of specific colors that I think of from that era (like how the '90s are generally like pink, teal, and a certain shade of purple). Maybe translucent electronics could come back, and that’d be cool.
but like 00’s was also a time where fast fashion became its own thing and it’s difficult to pinpoint a specific style. The style was that there was no style. Everything became fast, consumable, potato chip fashion. And that only happened around the mid-00’s.
Like in my mind, you separate the 00’s cleanly down the middle at 2005-2006 and look at those periods as two completely different points in history. the early 00’s were a fever dream of baggy pants and hip hop and the relentless dueling pull of fear and disillusionment. And then the 2005 onwards was also that, but the economy was slowly tanking and ppl started straightening their hair and wearing newsboy caps for some god awful reason.
I’ve been thinking and here’s a few other aspects of '00s fashion that could potentially make a comeback:
Black eyeliner and straight hair that comes down over one eye
The sassy trucker hat
Throwback basketball/football jerseys (Bringing back Fabolous in general might be a net benefit as well though)
Perhaps the bandaid that Nelly would wear
And, uh, Total Denim
The tough thing about the throwback jersey and sports fashion is how cyclical it all is, like sports teams are way more aware of the appeal of throwback fashion (it’s been a decade now since the then-San Diego Chargers figured out that people preferred the old white helmets, and in recent years the Charlotte Hornets, Philadelphia 76ers, and Washington Wizards have re-embraced throwback color schemes among a host of others). So, going back to mid-aughts fashion in that regard might just be piggybacking on pulling colorways and fashions from way before that even.
In terms of music and other fashion from that era, then… well… I don’t know much in those regards
I think we think that because this decade’s aesthetics were all born from that decade. Just look at the world of gaming. All of our artistic trends that are considered modern were born from that particular era, particularly Halo and Call of Duty. It also built on a lot of late 90s style, which is so purposefully plain that it registers as background noise for a lot of people.
It was the aesthetics we have now but bulkier and less shiny, and I honestly kind of miss it in a few cases. Not in laptop designs, but in a lot of other stuff, mainly phones. Flip phones were the coolest looking phones ever and we need to return to that with smartphone functionality. It was also way more satisfying to end a call with that one smooth motion instead of having to wait for the screen to turn back on and press the red button. It’s like the difference between old cord phones, which you could slam, and fragile wireless phones.
I still have an LG from the late 00’s gathering dust somewhere and woah do I still love how it looks. Completly unusable for me after years of smartphone use but the weight and feel of it (and the look) are great.
So, I guess I should clarify (given this is under “General”) I’m not just referring to games, and this thought came out while listening to a music podcast from NPR (per my original post they referred to this in context of music and how some folks consider the early aughts to be “retro”) and that’s really why I’m asking - though the answer I’m getting from this corner of the internet is saying “no, the 00’s are not retro” - which I agree with for what it’s worth.
With all that said…
If we were to skip forward in time a bit further what would be the “retro 00’s” aesthetic? Flip phones feel right… but what else fits that aesthetic? I feel like a very specific of pop-punk and nu-metal could fit there, as well as other genres but damn if I’m not actually sure what makes it retro.