"Retro" songs, what am I hearing?

There are four newish songs getting play on the radio here that all have what seems like a retro sound to them (not the same sound for each one), but I don’t know what it is that I’m hearing that makes me think they are somewhat “old-fashioned” sounding.
The songs:

“Are You Gonna Be My Girl,” by Jet
“Where are We Runnin’,” by Lenny Kravitz
“Waiting For You,” by Seal
“Take Your Mama,” by the Scissor Sisters
Of course, I’m willing to concede that I’m just insane.

I haven’t heard the last one that I’m aware of, but I’d say that the first three at least have a slightly “muddier” or organic sound than music today typically has. Everything now seems so digitally sterilized, there’s no real grit to it. More classic rock was never quite so clean.

Retro music and looks are coming back in a big way. Remember in the early-mid 90’s when teenagers were heavily into Phish, “granola” living, and general hippie fare? And then in the late 90s/early 00’s when you heard a lot of disco-inspired music and fashions straight from the 70s (the return of platforms and bell bottoms)? Well, the mid 00’s is bringing in a new-wave 80’s comeback. If you live in a city with teenagers, odds are at least some are into the indie or emo scene, where you’ll see an incredible amount of style and music that seems incredibly inspired by the early 80s. Check out “My Coco” by Stellastarr and “Such Great Heights” by the Postal Service for examples of some more retro-current music (Ben Gibbard of Death Cab For Cutie had a hand in both songs, perhaps not-so-coincidentally).

We’re not quite to the point of 80’s retro that Madonna, blue eyeshadow, and off-the-shoulder sweater dresses are completely back in vogue, but I’m seeing Converse, Kangaroos, and fishnet - so it can’t be far off.

Jet has been wearing AC/DC shirts, and if you listen to their stuff, it sounds like a bit of a combination of AC/DC riffs and vocals from idie rock. It makes them more distinctive.

I heard the last one yesterday. It screamed 70s at me. Then I skipped to the next song. yech. I don’t like Jet or Stellastarr either, though.

The Scissor Sisters are huge Elton John fans; they worship all his music, especially his earlier stuff. Some of their stuff really has an early EJ feel to it.

It’s already hit in Japan. Eighties retro is the mainstream fashionable look for young people from kids through the twenties at least. I’ve heard young foreign men living here complain that they’ve had difficulty convincing barbers that they don’t want the “Bon Jovi look”.

Of course, during the real '80s Japanese fashion was much more conservative, so most of Japan probably missed out on the trends the first time around. The current look is labelled a “retro” one in department stores, but I doubt many people’s parents or older siblings dressed that way twenty years ago. It may not seem as dated here as in the US for that reason.

“Are You Gonna Be My Girl,” by Jet sounds a lot like “Lust for Life” by Iggy Pop.