Nostalgia can be a powerful tool for artists to harness, particularly when it comes to marketing to adults, and while directly copying music from their childhood by be legally suspect, there are a number of other ways to use elements from their past to evoke musical nostalgia.
In this recent post from MusicThinkTank, Hunter Farris delves into the composition process behind creating nostalgia evoking music.
"Creating musical nostalgia isn’t just about thinking tonally — timbre and instrument choice can be just as useful! Ask yourself, 'What instruments would my audience have heard in music, TV shows, and movies when they were kids?'
Whether that means using 'children’s instruments' like toy pianos, ukuleles, tambourines, etc., or instruments that look and sound retro, like jangly Rickenbacker guitars, these elements help paint a delicate picture of the sound world you’re trying to create. As another example, my parents played a lot of country when I was growing up. So whenever I hear pedal steel guitars and tight harmonies, the combination always brings me back to my childhood living room."