Taylor Swift may be Miss Americana , but she’s not the only pop star evoking nostalgia with a twist: K-pop acts including BTS, Twice, Somi and Sunmi have evoked classic American films in their recent releases. It’s part of the “high teen” trend popular in South Korea , high teen being a portmanteau phrase that blends high school and teenage. Nostalgia is enjoying a surge in popularity, and many South Korean record releases have leaned into what’s been dubbed “newtro”, or new takes on older sounds. Last year saw many disco-pop hits in Korea, but in the summer of 2021 it’s the lives of American teenagers as seen through the lens of recent Hollywood cinema – romcoms and B-movie horror – that have given singers and bands inspiration. August has seen a spate of Korean Americana, with two releases last week exemplifying the trend: Sunmi’s You Can’t Sit With Us and Somi’s Dumb Dumb. Sunmi’s song, with a title taken from a line in the 2004 film Mean Girls, is the lead single of “ 1/6” , the latest album by the former Wonder Girl member. In the accompanying music video, Sunmi is transported to an old-school video store – probably a nod to the American chain Blockbuster – where she and her girls battle zombies. All the while, she’s facing boy trouble. Fashion from that era and other trappings, such as instant messengers and landline telephones, appear in the music video, while people who remember the mid-00s will feel latent envy at Sunmi’s pink Razr phone. Similar motifs, and classic fashion from Juicy and Von Dutch, also appear in the music video for Taeyeon’s recent single Weekend. As for Somi, in the video for Dumb Dumb she too faces boy trouble, and spends the music video singing about how she can win over the object of her affections – a varsity footballer (American football, of course) in a variety of settings. These include a slumber party with friends, a dance party scene and a one in a high school cafeteria with Somi wearing a plaid uniform that would make Cher from Clueless and Britney Spears circa … Baby One More Time proud. Somi’s music video also leans into the horror genre – she attacks some jam-filled pastries and ends up covered in blood-coloured jam, channelling Carrie . There are also references to the 1996 Romeo + Juliet, with Somi notably donning angel wings and posing during an animated final scene with the music video’s lead that channels a scene in the film where Leonardo DiCaprio’s Romeo places his hands on the shoulders of Juliet, played by Claire Danes. It’s not just female soloists drawing inspiration from nostalgia: BTS ’ recent trio of English-language releases – 2020’s Grammy-nominated Dynamite and this year’s Butter and Permission to Dance – all evoke the past, and the music video for the latter is pure Americana . In the video, the members of BTS don western-inspired garb and pay homage to essential workers such as teachers and postal workers, with several scenes set in places such as diners and a high school that evokes Anywhere, USA. The trend is likely to persist – the recently announced English-language single The Feels from Twice is inviting everyone to an old-fashioned romcom prom through its promotional teasers. TWICE 1st Full English Single <The Feels> Where are we going tonight? #TWICE #트와이스 #TheFeels #GetTheFeelsWithTWICE pic.twitter.com/z2kBJZW8KQ — JYPnation (@jypnation) August 6, 2021 The group has previously taken inspiration from films, most notably in the music video for 2018’s What Is Love? where each member took on the role of a different leading lady. Other K-pop artists are taking inspiration, and styling, from the 1990s and 2000s, with several leaning into alt-rock .