He thinks the new vibe shift could be the return of early-aughts indie sleaze. “American Apparel, flash photography at parties, and messy hair and messy makeup,” he riffs, plus a return to a more fragmented culture. “People going off in a lot of different directions because it doesn’t feel like there’s a coherent, singular vision for music or fashion.” He sees Substacks and podcasts as the new blogs and a move away from Silicon Valley’s interest in optimizing workflow, “which is just so anti-decadence.” Most promisingly, he predicts a return of irony.
I suggest that the death drive has something to do with it. With the pandemic and climate change, our aesthetic and behavior are certainly shaped by a sense of doom. There’s a nihilism to the way people dress and party; our heels get higher the closer we inch to death. It’s why people are smoking again, so says the New York Times. “Oh, sure,” Monahan agrees, but not fully. “I think the interest in opulence and the interest in transgression are in some ways just pent-up frustrations from the pandemic where people are like, I want to have fun. Also, the 2010s were such a politicized decade that I think the desire people have to be less constrained by political considerations makes a lot of sense.” I can tell he’s theorizing on the fly when he points to the fact that there’s now a bouncer at Bemelmans Bar as evidence of the new embrace of old opulence.
The discussion of a ‘vibe shift‘ made me wonder if I was ever a part of the vibe at all? As Twinkle Digitz touches on in his song Here’s Cheers to the End of the World, I think that the current crisis has enforced reflection and a clearer picture of where we are or are not:
We’ve got the facts, but everybody’s guessing
We’re being schooled, I think this pandemic is trying to teach us all a lesson