Music can shape our lives in numerous ways. It is an art form filled to the brim with different genres, emotions, and rhythms that we as human beings can identify with instantly. With the COVID-19 pandemic still being a significant issue globally, many people have turned to music to relive what was once a time where everyone was outside, smiling, and just living life.
In particular, most of these listeners return to songs from previous music eras: ranging from Elvis and the 1950s to even as near as early 2010s pop music.
However, some people criticize the music being produced today, labeling it as garbage, TikTok propaganda. Despite strong takes about the music created for this generation, this may be a case of nostalgia pulling us back to a simpler time back before all hell broke loose.
Music and the Memories Connected To It
In famous YouTuber Nathan Zed’s video The Power Of Nostalgic Music, Nathan confidently claims that music is only as good as the memories you attach them with. This statement is very relevant in today’s society.
Ever since the start of childhood, people have gone through experiences that they have cherished: hanging out with friends, studying for a test, going to parties, or even just laying in bed at night. These moments that one cherishes tend to have music playing in the background, firmly attaching itself onto those memories. This scenario results in listeners showing more love to a song years after the song is first released.
It is like if your life is a movie and the soundtrack of the film perfectly represents your story and your come-up in life. There is something beautiful to that.
One could make the argument that people do not enjoy the current stream of music because everyone is staying at home during COVID-19. Rather than everyone experiencing music at a particular event outside, all of the new music someone listens to is experienced just at home, which may not leave as much of a lasting impact as being outside and doing something.
As a listener, you are not initially going to think about the lasting memory of a song while currently in that moment. However, in a few years, re-listening to that song, your brain will make you feel like the music brings you back to that moment in time, almost as if you never left that experience.
It makes us listeners wish that we can return to simpler days when the pressure of life did not weigh us down as much as before.
Today’s Lack of Respect for Current Music
Have you ever scrolled down the YouTube comments of a song that was made in a past era? Usually, there will be comments stating: “I wish I were back here” or “I miss these songs, now people only listen to (insert current popular song here)”. It makes it seem as if today’s music is nothing but a way to get famous on TikTok and other social media platforms.
Despite these strong opinions, there is a belief that every person who loves music will proudly stand for the era of their music since that is what they listened to when they grew up. The music that is being heard by today’s youth will be something they hold onto while they bash the next generation of children and their taste in music. It is an endless cycle of disrespect that needs to stop.
As early as hundreds of years ago, the eras of music have slightly changed based on new composers and their ways of writing music: Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, and more. Who knows, maybe the people who grew up as children in the Baroque era may not have liked Beethoven’s music and instead wished for music just like Bach.
There are arguments such that current music is too focused on sexualization and money, and there is not much focus on real themes. Also, there is too much focus on using synthesizers and auto-tuned voices to create songs. While the change in how music is produced is true, it does not change the ideology that the era can dictate the music being played. It is unique in its own way, and some listeners enjoy these newly-created melodies. Sometimes, music can be synthesized right to the point where it can make timeless songs that can be compared to that of the songs in past eras. Artists such as Drake, Billie Eilish, and the Weeknd are artists that will most likely become legends in the music world 20 years from now with their songs using
As for the argument of too much sexualization in songs, there is no doubt this is an issue when listening. Instead of lyrics that can inspire listeners, some songs simply swear and use sexual innuendos as if they have nothing to say. But people forget some songs were sexualized in the past too. People have complained about WAP, but there are songs such as Anaconda in the 2010’s that are just as flagged for their inappropriate lyrics.
In addition, apps such as Spotify, TikTok, and Apple Music have allowed people to stream songs more than ever. It could make pieces that are made today seem too overplayed. Just take a look at rapper Lil Nas X’s hit song “Old Town Road”. Despite the song breaking records, it was played so much in 2019 that people grew annoyed about the song. However, in 10 years, songs such as “Old Town Road” are going to melt your heart since it is most likely no longer overplayed and you can enjoy it for what it is: a fun song.
Like stated earlier, people want to forget about the bad stuff in the past and only remember the good parts of their childhood. Which again, is okay. No one wants to remember bad memories. And if there are people out there who think today’s music is terrible, then let it be. However, do not be surprised if certain music today will grow on you. A particular sound that does not please you can suddenly be your ‘jam’ a few years later when you create a new memory in your life.
Let’s appreciate the music of both the past and today. Because at the end of the day, music is an art that is although subjective, keeps us moving through life as a whole.