The popular Netflix sci-fi thriller series, “Stranger Things,” is known for 80s reverence to 80s pop culture. Emily Nussbaum of “The New Yorker” refers to it as: “a show that is explicitly a pastiche of eighties pop culture, a TV box made of movie memories.”
“Stranger Things” must be available on Swedish Netflix, because the folk duo, First Aid Kit, were clearly influenced by 80s pastiche in their music video “Fireworks,” a track from their latest album “Ruins” (2018). Sisters Klara and Johanna could have been binge watching the series together.
The 80s aesthetic, which features large puffy hair, too much eye shadow, and oversized glasses, is perfectly captured within the first ten seconds of the video, which shows Klara in a high school hallway opening her locker. It’s worth noting that Klara also has an uncanny resemblance to the character of Barb from “Stranger Things.”
The lighting is slightly faded and washed out, giving the video a sense of nostalgia. The pace of the song is slow, which is fitting for when they arrive at a school prom (which is decorated exactly like the Snowball from “Stranger Things”). The song is perfect for an awkward school slow dance, with Johanna (who also slightly resembles Nancy), performs the ballad on stage as she is receiving the title of Prom Queen.
The highlight of the video is the awkward prom photo poses, where each sister is somehow able to hold the pose while singing their little hearts out, with their dates entirely oblivious. The video ends with the two sisters side by side, as if posing for their own forlorn photo, and the Prom Queen sash falls to the floor.
All in all, the 80s pastiche works well with the song, however, the nostalgic aspect is slightly undercut by the young age of the sisters. Both were born in the 1990s, so at best, this re-imagining of an 80s prom is rooted more in fantasy than reality. While there’s nothing wrong with that, it does take away from the sincerity of the concept of nostalgia. That said, it also makes the prom scene a significant transition point- the culture surrounding high school prom is that of hopes, dreams, expectations, and the impending future.