I have such an attraction to this sound/visual combination for a number of reasons. Foremost, I think it's gained traction among myself and others born in the '80s because growing up, were too young to actually *live* in the era. As a result of television, film & radio, we internalized much of the sound, images, and texture of the decade, right down to that desaturated, blurred VHS look everything seemed steeped in. I associate that feeling strongly with my childhood, as I'm sure others do. Every time I see a modern cellphone photo turned into a faux-polaroid by Instagram, I'm seeing a modern emulation of older media forms: we're reaching back to the pre-internet age 'golden age'. Why though?
Style and nostalgia, I think. Older things have that warmth that the cold digital age did away with. Looking at vintage computer ads from the 1990s, I can see the transition from one to the other. It's unsettling: What will be is presented in the typography, color and style of what was.
The affinity I have is a product of my own distorted memory. It was the mass consumerism and media saturation of the 1980's and early 1990's that generated so many of the symbols I associate with retrowave music: 'futuristic' concept cars, driving, lasers/"space!", neon pink/purple, specific fashion styles, variety shows, static, softened analog edges, laughably archaic video effects, etc.
Most people I've talked to who were teens or adults during this era didn't have much to say about it. In the same way, most of us aren't exactly nostalgic for the span of time between 2000 and 2010. It's just another sequence of time - the meaning we draw from it is constructed - a pastiche of remix of a pastiche. I'm content to realize that the deep love I have for the visuals and 'sound' of the 1980s are a desire for something that never truly existed.