When one mentions the term “old school” you would usually think of music back in the day. You know; the Bee Gees, Phil Collins, Dire Straits and the list goes on. I know some people, such as myself, have an appreciation for old school music and sometimes prefer listening to it rather than the music we hear these days. Lately, however, there seems to be a resurgence of “old school” inspired music. But old school goes further than just music; films and television series from the 80s and 90s are being remade as well as video games. Yes, I know hipster culture exists, but I’m looking more at the media resurgence of old school in this post.
Bruno Mars, in my opinion, seems to be paving the way for this resurgence of old school music. Though his previous songs, Uptown Funk (that song you heard at almost every party you went to) and Treasure, captured the 70s funk style his recent singles, 24K Magic and Versace on the Floor, seem to capture 2 distinct R&B styles from the 80s respectively. What I like about this is that he is able to take these old school sounds and modernize it in a way that sounds fresh and new. Plus, it helps distinguish himself from other artists out there. Daft Punk, with their album Random Access Memories, also brought about a resurgence of the 70s funk style; with songs such as Get Lucky and Give Life Back to Music. Though it was a far cry from their famous electro-dance style, the gamble paid off and they won a Grammy in 2014 for Album of the Year (that time the Grammy’s trolled Taylor Swift into thinking she won Album of the Year).
Movies and television shows are being remade left, right and centre these days. It’s almost as though Hollywood is running out of ideas for films. Though these remakes are targeting an audience who lived during the time of the original, they are also trying to create new fans with them. The all-female Ghostbusters remake is an example of this and we all know how much love that film got when the trailer got released. In the near future we’re going to see remakes of Ghost in the Shell, Bae…I mean, Baywatch and even the bloody Power Rangers. I know they’re trying to go for the whole nostalgia thing as well as take a different perspective on it, which can be good and bad at the same time, but there’s got to be point where enough is enough and that filmmakers should just sit down and patiently find something original and exciting to put up on screen. That’s why we still have Quentin Tarantino making films these days (bless his soul).
Video games are also no stranger to remakes. When the Crash Bandicoot remake was announced at E3 this year people went crazy (myself included). Again, video game developers are playing towards the nostalgia factor when releasing these games. Video game remakes, however, seem to have a bit more success than film remakes, since video game developers can take the original gameplay and graphical mechanics and just tweak them so that they meet current gaming standards. Video game remakes are also given leeway given the fact that as technology develops some games that we played in the past are not supported with current technology. However, playing games again for the sake of nostalgia is sometimes not a good thing. I remember a while back I bought the Age of Empires 2 HD Collection on Steam when it was on sale. I bought it solely for the nostalgia factor because I loved playing Age of Empires 2 when I was growing up. When I finally got a chance to play it I could feel how dated it was and it didn’t live up to my nostalgic expectations so I refunded it the next day.
To sum it all up: what makes old school cool again is the nostalgia factor. People like to relive the hey-days of a bygone era and mass media take advantage of this by remaking and repackaging things people found “cool” back in the day and adding a new coat of paint to it. Remakes have their strengths and weakness, but it all comes down to how mass media creators use these old school influences that will make or break the product. Either way, don’t expect remakes to die down anytime soon. That remake of Barney the Dinosaur that you’ve been secretly wishing for may become a reality one day.