By Melina Tavakoli Moghaddam, BA Politics and International Politics
As we enter the new year with a cynical obsession with bows, the mask unveils underneath a similar 2014 mania: the finger moustache. Indeed, the recent recycling of trends has spearheaded the desire to travel to the past; only now have we reached a stop too close for comfort. From the return of ‘indie sleaze’ fashion to colloquial term flashbacks, it seems one cannot ‘keep calm’ and enjoy the present as the self-perpetuating cycle of nostalgia eats away at itself.
The resurgence of 2014 is perhaps the guilty pleasure of many, but one must admit it is impossible to deny the tension of ‘Sweater Weather’ as soon as it is heard. “I want the world in my hands,” Jesse Rutherford sings as a plethora of blue-haired teenagers swoon with the relatability of such metaphoric songs. Grandiosity, or true expression, popular platforms such as Tumblr during 2014 sparked an awareness of how simple it is to voice your identity online. Kylie Jenner, otherwise referred to as ‘King Kylie’, first catapulted the blue hair movement on the online forum, which then expanded to a general championing of hair dyeing to become the ultimate cool girl. Not far off idolatry, Kylie became the god and lost girls became the subjects. With vivacious pink hair, she has now announced the comeback of her 2014 image alongside a caption of “Hiiii, remember me.” Of course, the comments are nothing short of the equivalent rejoicing Kylie enjoyed ten years ago.
The persona of the Tumblr girl next targeted its sibling platforms to pollute. Today, the name Troye Sivan may bring to memory his new club-esque hit ‘Rush’. In 2014, the retired Tumblr veterans recognised him for his stealthy substance abuse promotion, or rather, ‘relatability factor’, in his song ‘Happy Little Pill’. Beyond ‘sipping life from bottles’ with ‘nothing but time to kill’, Troye Sivan was one of the most known YouTubers during his time, alongside figures such as Tyler Oakley, Jenna Marbles, Smosh, and Tana Mongeau. With videos lasting a minimum of ten minutes, these influencers offered attention to those on the other side of the screen, providing friendship and a touch of philanthropy with the ice bucket challenge. A little retwisting and one realises that our listening comprehension must be enhanced in 2024, as podcasts have instead taken the spotlight. Resurfacing from her 2018 TanaCon scandal, Tana Mongeau’s podcast ‘CANCELLED’ is the recent topic of discussion on TikTok, meanwhile, Anthony Padilla from Smosh has been utilising the art of podcasts since 2021.
Twenty-one Pilots had a migraine ranging ‘from up down and sideways’ in 2014, and now TikTok has manifested this suffering to the youth in 2024. The term coined for the former is ‘doomscrolling’, often described as surfing online in a spiral. Since the rise of the platform in 2020, TikTok has become a breeding ground of microtrends, incessant discourses, and the illusion of choice within your identity. Yes, there are many aesthetics you can shape yourself into, but because of the addiction nurtured by ten-second clips setting off our dopamine receptors, the act of scrolling merely gives us everything ‘but time to kill’. No wonder revivals of decades are ceaseless… Now we understand why Jesse wanted ‘the world in his hands’.
Through TikTok, we additionally endured the rise of Colleen Hoover, a young adult fiction author with a focus on romance and thrillers. Is it possible, however, that Hoover’s magnum opus, ‘It Ends With Us’, failed to pay homage to its creator? Though not similar in fiction, the birthright of the mysterious book girl belongs to ‘The Fault in Our Stars’, so much so that the latter’s movie adaptation earned $307.2 million at the box office. Like the niche of having ‘a rolled cigarette hanging out’ of one’s mouth, as sung in ‘Pumped Up Kicks’, the protagonist of the movie charmed the young population with his cigarette metaphor. Stakes are high for the release of the ‘It Ends With Us’ movie adaptation this year, but there is evidently no competition when 2014 is lurking her way back.
Yet, is she truly back? Maybe for the first month of the new year. Influencers often err with predictions and immediately sideline the re-emergence of trends once a new memory is recalled. So far in 2024, individuals have already expelled leather trousers and cowgirl boots, both staples of the bohemian ‘indie sleaze’ 2014 fashion. Ultimately, then, as Lana Del Rey predicted, it is hopeless to wish 2014 back when the latter is ‘no longer young and beautiful’ and overconsumption is dominating the social cosmos.