While we're still working our way out of the emo trauma-porn hangover of the past 5 years, it's worth looking for clues about where the changes will come from as we leave behind the refractory phase of the excitement cycle and enter the restless warm-up phase.
I was just thinking about the Manic Pixie Dream Girl character type, which an earlier post showed clusters in the warm-up phase of the cycle, as people are coming out of their shells. She serves to coax the guy out of his refractory cocoon, letting him know it's OK to interact again -- that we're out of the phase where all social contact feels over-stimulatingly painful.
Who will play such a role this time around? I looked at the previous wave of them from the late 2000s (and the lesser crop from the 2010s), and they were nearly all born between 1980-'84 (with one born in '79, and another in '85, just outside this range by one year). That birth range was the manic phase of the early '80s. Then I checked the early '90s MPDG's, and though there weren't as many to study, they too were born in a manic phase (the late '60s: Sarah Jessica Parker from L.A. Story, and Julia Roberts).
So, this time around, will the actresses who play the role be born during the manic phase of 1995-'99? I have no idea who that could be, and this role tends to be a break-out role for the actress anyway.
Pop music doesn't offer too many examples of the role, since it has to be set within a character drama (or dramedy) narrative, where you can set up the withdrawn guy, the adorkable girl, her coaxing him, him resisting at first, and so on and so forth. It's hard to pack all that into a 4-minute pop song.
Nevertheless, I pointed to Katy Perry's deep cut "Simple" from 2005 in that earlier post, and during the late 2000s she projected a witty-banter, partner-in-crime, free-spirit persona. She's born in '84. Avril Lavigne, also born in '84, put on such a persona in 2007 with "Girlfriend," after she'd gotten out of the emo phase of the early 2000s (akin to the late 2010s emo phase, when she reverted to the emo type with "Head Above Water").
But the Manic Pixie Dream Girl wasn't meant for the Billboard Hot 100 kind of music. She was more of an indie girl. Not that I was big into the indie scene in the late 2000s, but even I remember Au Revoir Simone -- and sure enough, all three of them were born in 1980! In case you forgot or never experienced them during that phase (before their moody music for the Twin Peaks revival during the vulnerable phase of the late 2010s):
"Dark Halls" by Au Revoir Simone (2007)
That band in that time reminds me of our dear, departed anti-woke leftist Alison Balsam (@foolinthelotus on Twitter before she left). I'll bet she was like that during the late 2000s, and she too was born in the early '80s.
From the early '90s warm-up phase, the most visible Manic Pixie Dream Girl was Lisa Loeb ("Stay" in 1994), and she's born during the late '60s manic phase.
Everyone's so focused on the political domain these days, though -- who could coax us out of our self-centered partisan cocoons, and deliver us into a Manic Pixie Dream Government? Why, it's another early '80s birth -- Tulsi Gabbard, the most soothing, reassuring, and fun-loving free spirit in politics. (Her proto-form, Marianne Williamson, was also born during a manic phase -- the early '50s.)
On the younger platforms of social media, podcasting, etc., I'd expect the type to come more from the '95-'99 cohort, though. They've been listening to the Red Scare podcast to cope with the bad vibes of the late 2010s, but soon they're going to want to do their own thing.
They'll go from analytically criticizing the trauma porn industry and the absurdities of #MeToo, to becoming Manic Pixie Dream E-girls who sound the wake-up alarm to the male half of the audience, that it's OK to come out of your cocoon and mix it up with girls again. "We promise we're over that mood, and we're in a flirtatious, getting-to-know-you mood now." It won't even be that political in scope -- although they may identify as feminists -- but more about the social-cultural mood and the relations between the sexes.
I've left out the matter of explaining why the Manic Pixie Dream Girl is born during a manic phase -- or equivalently, why she was a certain age during another of the phases -- although the simplest explanation is that they absorbed the manic mood of their birth year and carried it with them for life, as a social imprinting. But if I think of something more satisfying, I'll post it in the comments, where you can spitball ideas as well. The main point here is descriptive and predictive, without necessarily understanding why the world works the way it apparently does.