Bops and beats: new styles of music find a loyal following among students

by Alysa Suleiman, Sports Reporter

A long-time form of entertainment and an integral part of various cultures, music is a physical and emotional documentation of society’s evolving trends, styles and mindsets. Music has given birth to countless creators and artists and has acted as a catalyst of creativity and human pathos.

Jason Pan (12), utilizes Spotify to curate playlists specific to his interests and favorite music styles. He especially appreciates low fidelity (lo-fi), rhythm and blues (R&B) and electronic dance music (EDM) for their inclusivity and versatility. 

“People don’t have time to go out and keep searching for music, so it’s really important that the songs that are being produced right now people can listen to in more than just one situation,” Jason said. “Even music-playing platforms are becoming a lot smarter too—they can suggest songs that are actually really pertinent and related to what we are listening to.”

Reagan Ka (10) follows NIKI, the only female artist in 88Rising—a band composed of predominantly Asian artists that caters to the American media market and produces music in the R&B and EDM genres. 

“I love NIKI because she’s a talented and influential Asian woman and she serves as a role model to girls everywhere,” said Reagan. “88rising is an amazing company for bringing small Asian creators to a bigger platform and audience, and it’s important that Asian music is also represented in today’s media.”

Similar to R&B, rap music also possessed inclusivity and relatability, two qualities that make it extremely popular among teens. Freshman BB Aljouny listens to rap and hip-hop because he appreciates not just the rhythms and beats of the songs but also their meaning through their lyrics.

“I focus on the lyrics of the songs I’m listening to, but there are some songs where the melodies or chord progressions hit really hard and go deeper than words,” BB said. “I also just kind of connect with some of the things my favorite artists rap or sing about.”

Last but not least, Korean pop music, called K-pop by its millions of fans worldwide, has taken the high school community by storm, reaching audiences across all grades and ethnicities. K-pop artists are vigorously trained for years to prepare them for intensive dance performances, tours and media appearances, aspects of the k-pop “idol life.” 

“K-pop is huge mainly because of idol appeal. They work really hard are really dedicated and always appreciate their fans,” said Katelyn Abellera (9), whose friend first introduced her to K-pop. “The songs always have really good meaning and messages some of the songs have a similar style to pop music and it’s just really catchy.”

Bangtan Boys, commonly known as “BTS,” is arguably the world’s most popular K-pop boy band, with a record landing of five No. 1 hits on the World Digital Song Sales chart.  Although their loyal fanbase, known as “army,” praise their stunning visuals and impeccable dance skills, the lyrics behind their songs, with themes that address issues that affect today’s youth, resonate the most with their listeners. 

“I really like BTS and one of their older songs ‘Butterfly’,” said Emily Zhou (10), an “army” member, praising “Butterfly” for its “melancholy yet catchy vibe.” “I think the reason why [BTS] is so popular is because aside from the visuals, their dance talent and the way they craft their stage and dance peronfamcnes is in a way you don’t normally see American music industries do. The music they produce has really deep lyrics, and I feel like I can relate to it.”