For the last couple of weeks, all I’ve been able to think about is the Y2K aesthetic. The early 2000s truly were such a groundbreaking time both stylistically and musically and it’s hard for me to find anything that can even come close to comparing to this truly iconic period of time.
It’s not unusual for me to have Y2K on the brain, particularly the music of the late ’90s and early 2000s. I did grow up with it after all. I realise this probably makes me slightly bias – it’s clearly something nostalgic for me – but with all that in mind, it’s hard to deny the cultural impact this unique time in history had. The Y2K aesthetic signifies the start of a new millennium which in turn amplified the rise of boybands, futuristic R&B sounds and teen pop phenomenons. All good things, my friends.
Britney Spears led the charge of fresh faced, teen pop stars, closely followed by Jessica Simpson, Christina Aguilera and Mandy Moore all vying for the top spot (or more realistically, a second seat next to Britney). The Backstreet Boys and NSYNC were notoriously pitted against each other by their shared manager, thus creating an even bigger market for boybands – though significantly less successful than the aforementioned.
We were also blessed with countless girl groups, ranging from the critically acclaimed R&B stylings of TLC and Destiny’s Child to often forgotten groups such as Blaque and 3LW. And don’t even get me started on S Club 7, B*witched, Steps and The Vengaboys – these groups all represent a very specific time in pop music history that unfortunately hasn’t been able to transcend time the way some of the previously mentioned musical acts have.
What reignited the flame that is my love for the Y2K aesthetic was discovering the first season of US Popstars on YouTube. In my opinion, this show perfectly encapsulates everything great about the early 2000s.
For those of you who are unfamiliar, Popstars is considered the predecessor to Idol, which in turn inspired even more reiterations of the same basic format that is the competition singing show. The original version however, was specifically formatted to find the most talented girls to form a 5-piece pop group. Throw in copious amounts of body glitter, latex and giant cowboy hats and you pretty much have the recipe for a girl band. Successful you may ask? Well, I’ll let you be the judge of that…
After polishing off Popstars in a couple of days, the repetitive theme music stuck firmly in my head, this sent me on a personal quest to make the most Y2K sounding playlist on Spotify ever. With a Spotify playlist, comes much research and it became even more apparent to me how essential the Y2K aesthetic was. It was the perfect way to compliment the Swedish-engineered absolute bops of the early 2000s. Especially with the millennium themed trends – think robot dogs, matching outfits metallic everything and of course, the future, which always seems to be space-themed for some reason…
Other trends of the early oughts include crop tops, embellished denim – actually embellished anything – bandanas, belly button rings and frosted eye shadow.
Album covers from the Y2K era could honestly be a post on their own. CGI backgrounds were a huge trend in the early 2000’s, which were prevalent in cover artwork but also in music videos. It certainly hasn’t aged well and that is half the beauty of it.
The princess of pop herself in a Mission Impossible-esque photoshoot because it’s the year 2000.
Remember when P!nk was an R&B singer? She had big “not like the other girls” energy during this era. Hard to tell, right?
Does it get more Y2K than this?
Does anyone remember Christina Milian? Whatever happened to her?
I forgot to mention metallic denim was also a huge trend in the early 2000s. This is, yeah. It’s a lot.
Mandy Moore looking cute as a button in an over-saturated photoshoot. Giant fake flowers are a must for any budding young popstar.
More iconic album covers. Even the font is dated, I just love it.
The gang’s all here at a TRL photoshoot in the year 2000.
I thought this photo was a fitting way to end this post. If you’re wondering what the Y2K aesthetic is, this is it my friends.
Make sure you check out the playlist that inspired this post on Spotify and please let me know if you think I’ve missed any songs!