Fusions of sonic moods in students’ playlists 

Carleen Loney @shloneys / The Concordian

Music sub and cross-genres are more mainstream, but which ones are people fond of?

With more people becoming artists and countless music projects releasing every day, it is only natural for the boundaries of music to become more flexible. As time goes by, a perhaps preconceived mentality that music genres should fit in a box is prone to trickle away. 

Instead, innovative and experimental sounds are getting easier to get accustomed to. Songs blend core instruments of a certain type of music, the atmospheric essence of another, the foundational rhythm of another, etc., more organically. The options for creativity when it comes to music crafting are limitless at this point! Therefore, I asked students around Concordia for some of the music subgenres that flow through their headphones recently and which ones they noticed were popular online. 

#1: Hyperpop

One of the most recurrent auxiliary sounds mentioned was Hyperpop. So many genres can mesh together into a Hyperpop production, ranging from obvious Bubblegum Pop (a mix of rock and pop forming upbeat, catchy and danceable rhythms), Hip-Hop, EDM, and Nightcore (within the electronic realm where a song has a sped up tempo and raised pitch.) This energy-inducing sound typically features drums that are punchy, sharp and even distorted. Imagine a classic pop song, but turning the dial of numerous editing effects all the way up. 

Artists such as Mura Masa, Shygirl, Arca, 100 Gecs, Dorian Electra and notably Charli XCX, with her iconic 2016 hit “Vroom Vroom,” were mentioned by people. Moreover, this subgenre has a prominent space today in the so-called alternative TikTok world, with its “addictive dance tracks.”  

Artist Sophie is a prime example and an adored figure. Her unapologetic craft, from producing for numerous artists like Madonna to releasing stellar projects like Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides from 2018 features her signature high-pitched vocals, generous bass and synthesized chords. Listening to Hyperpop makes me feel like I’ve just had a surge of caffeine levels in my system but in the best way possible. 

#2: Dreamgaze

The second sub-division of music genres that was brought up was Dreamgaze. Under the alternative rock umbrella, it entails a combination of Shoegaze and Dream-pop atmospheres. 

From its initial rise in the early ‘90s, Shoegaze contains distorted and shimmery-sounding guitars, rumbling drums and various effect pedals at its core. Shoegaze also supplies a sense of introspection in terms of its higher focus on lyrics and overall ethereal ambience, which is in full effect in Dreamgaze. My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive and Ride are key bands from the movement and helped Dreamgaze establish a more concrete immersive experience. 

Some of Dreampop’s earliest considered projects and artists also had their start in the early ‘90s. The enticing, rich, sonic textures and lavish amount of reverb were adopted from Dream-pop along with its breathy vocals. Bands like Spiritualized, Wild Nothing, Broadcast and Yo La Tengo have engaged a great presence in the genre. Cocteau Twins and Mazzy Star were specifically mentioned by students as bands that supported the foundation of Dream-pop, thus Dreamgaze.

While both mother genres hold different meanings from audiences about each other’s characteristic boundaries over the past couple of decades, Dreamgaze still offers the best of both worlds. Beach House is notably notorious for incorporating elements of both sister genres, Shoegaze and Dream-pop. The cherished local band Men I Trust also combines the overlapping of ethereal and harmonic vocals from Shoegaze as well as the catchy and jangly melodies from Dream-pop. 

An honourable mention subgenre that came up a few times is Nova MPB, also known as Neo-Samba. The music style essentially groups bossa nova and samba genres from Brazil and falls under the indie realm. All throughout, it contains a lively and colourful tone that marks it as different from the usual sounds from the genre.  

The goal of all these unfolding music branches is to embrace and show love to preexisting sounds in new ways. It is to respect artists’ work by professing creatively their mark on the music industry. By adopting attributes from various original music genres, you too can come up with a sound full of novelty.


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