Baby braids, scarf tops, velour tracksuits as status symbols—the early aughts gave us so much that it’s no wonder nostalgic millennials and FOMO-addled Gen Zers have been fighting to bring back that simpler-but-still-digitally-connected time. It was an era when TRL and Pop-Up Video reigned supreme, when you had to pay $2 to $4 to watch the latest Destiny’s Child bop on Box. Music videos were Art, especially to any tween with a Teen Vogue-wallpapered locker.
Looking back at that glorious time in pop music, we started to notice a few things that made us wonder what our kids would think of our lives then: Why were deserts the coolest place to hang out? What’s with all the CGI? Did you really have to text people via Excel like Kelly Rowland did in “Dilemma?” And what’s more, some of those elements appeared so frequently in Y2K-era music videos that they became motifs. But why?! Why?! Here, our analysis—and the things that leave us still scratching our heads.