When Did the 80s Start to Rock?

In the American vernacular there are several words and phrases that have changed meaning as culture has changed. Consider the word “cool.”  No longer does it refer to the temperature of a room only.  It also describes an attitude, a state of being.  To be “cool” is the ultimate goal of every high school student (and it’s not because the GAP has some great sweaters on sale). 

Another word that has (unfortunately) changed is “gay.”  It once meant “of good cheer.”  Now it of course refers to homosexuality (as do the words “funny” and “queer”).

So when did “dude, that is so 80s” go from an insult to a compliment.  There was a time when one would say “dude, that is so 80s” and it meant “dude, that is over-the-top, outdated, wussified, and/or a bad hairdo.  Now when  you hear “dude, that is so 80s” it is liable to be followed by a high five.

It happened slowly. I remember the 80s somewhat. I remember the hair,the clothes, and of course the music (new wave, hair bands, spandex, classic MTV when they actually played music videos). Then came the 90s and grunge and alternative music rendering everything 80s as dorky and excessive.   However now in the 21st century, twenty years out from 1989, I am starting to see the 80s come back.

I first became truly aware of this phenomenon when I was watching an episode of “Psych.”  A staple of the show is each episode will begin with a flashback from the youth of the main character Shawn Spencer and his best friend Gus.  Usually the year of the flashback is 1987.  During these flashbacks viewers are shown an event in Shawn’s life that will shed light on some of his behavior and ideas as an adult.  The flashbacks have 80s pop culture refrences galore. Everything from kangaROOS shoes (with the pocket on the side) to Shawn and his best friend Gus dressing up as the Tears for Fears guy and Michael Jackson, respectively. 

Another example of the 80s comeback is the clothing that I see many people starting to wear and that I myself am drawn to. Think thrift store.  T-shirts with screen printing or that depict colorful logos (usually advertising an event of the past that the wearer is unfamiliar with).  I recently found a shirt that said “Walking In Memphis” on the front and the backside depicted a guitar with the words “Interact Fashion Show 2005.”  I bought it. I simply liked the way it looked. And tight jeans is another fashion that is coming back especially among young people (who are the only ones who can really get away with it). 

Personally I am in the market for some ROOS.  When I saw that episode of Psych recently I exclaimed “I forgot about ROOS!”  I was never able to own any so I will revisit my childhood and purchase myself a pair of kangaROOS.  With any luck I will be able to find some that are navy blue with velcro straps. 

Dude, that would be so 80s!


6 Responses to “When Did the 80s Start to Rock?”

  1. 1 Matt
    May 11, 2009 at 2:10 pm

    I for one believe the 80s started rocking round about June of 1980 and haven’t stopped yet. You said that there was a time when saying something was 80s meant it was uncool…well not in my world….80s have and will always be cool…tis why I still use AguaNet hairspray after I tease my hair and put a bandanna on my head, after I put on my splatter paint t-shirt, my stone washed jeans and my neon pink converse shoes.

  2. May 11, 2009 at 2:33 pm

    I think the stone washed jeans are the thing I least miss about the 80’s. But I would dress like Denise Huxtable any day. Her clothes were awesome! And lately I’ve been thinking banana clips were pretty dang cool.

  3. May 11, 2009 at 2:35 pm

    Can I just say how very proud I am of you both!

  4. May 11, 2009 at 7:50 pm

    It’s kinda sad that you didn’t realize the 80’s were back until that Psych episode… they’ve been rockin’ again for about 5 years now, babe 😉 Way to finally notice though!

  5. May 12, 2009 at 12:09 am

    Lyndsay, you crack me up.

  6. 6 Matt
    May 13, 2009 at 12:22 pm

    AHHH Josh, z just called you out on being a late adapter when it comes to fashion. Funny!

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