How Millennials are Finding Joy in Nostalgia

Most will agree that music is something capable of sparking emotion in its listeners. As often the case, those feelings are amplified when the melodies harkens memories from the past—especially from a person's most formative years. And for Angelinos currently in their mid-20s, the formative era can often be pegged to the late nineties or early 2000s.

This might explain why there have been so many successful nostalgia nights popping up around Los Angeles. For one, there's "Emo Night" at the Echoplex. This wildly successful event (their 1-year anniversary party was sold out in advance) brings together a community of emotional diehards once a month to dance, drink and "mosh" to a playlist of their favorite hits from around ten years ago, including songs from Grammy award-winning bands like Linkin Park and System of a Down.

The monthly "Candi Pop Dance Party" at the Satellite is another example, where acts like the Spice Girls, Backstreet Boys and Mariah Carey are resurrected on the turntables. The event was so successful in its initial trials that the venue opted to make it a monthly occurrence.

So why is nostalgia so popular right now? Music and technology expert Todd Richmond believes it can be attributed to music's shift to digital. "You've got this generation who's grown up with digital," he said. "They've grown up with instant access and instant availability to millions of songs. But the way that they experience that music is kind of a thin veneer."

He added, "that's another part of this whole nostalgia thing. It's really that truly human thing about experiencing music with other people in a place…I think people are searching for that."

KUSC digital producer Chris Mendez said it could also be that now, more than ever, people are excited about remixing old songs. "Back in 2005, the technology hadn't become accessible yet for people to remix stuff to the way they have done it today, and there was still a layer of fear that you might get sued."

"Thanks to the remix culture and thanks to this feeling that people have ownership of music," he said, "it's creating a new touchstone."

In addition to remix technology, social media expert Valerie Barreiro says today's music consumption methods have something to do with it. "Fans now have the ability to immediately express how they feel about music either by sharing it, by recontextualizing it, by creating some new content containing the music, and by tweeting about it," she said. "I think it's allowing people to have shared experiences in a way that didn't occur before."

So what may have always existed in generations past (because, let's be honest, your parents still cry at the mere mention of "Landslide" by Fleetwood Mac), millennials' many forms of music intake may indeed be bolstering—and perhaps accelerating—the desire to feel nostalgia for it.