Nobody Knows Where 21st Century Music Comes From


clash-london-calling Historically, different genres have come to define passed decades. For the 1920’s, it was jazz; the 1940’s, swing; and after the rise of modern pop music in the 60’s, we often associate classic rock and disco with the 70’s, new wave with the 80’s, and rap with the 90’s. Even though there were always different genres – the rise of punk being a great example – they were easily traceable, down to the root artist.

 Since the turn of the century, however, it has been hard to trace these movements. Even Alternative rock has been confused; if we had used 2013 as an example, we would assume this decade was strongly 80’s-influenced; but with the moody returns of Beck and Coldplay and anticipated U2 material, it is no longer certain that this is the case. Even Foster the People’s new album Supermodel, has critics citing all kinds of bands, from Radiohead to the Flaming Lips to the artist’s own word of the Clash.

Stranger still is the unchanging continuities that have been affecting our musical tastes for years. Ever since rap and hip-hop became the center of attention in the 1990’s, the genre has received international attention, and markedly becoming more of an asset to the music industry than ever before. Rappers join pop and alternative bands to fill in instrumental sections of the song, join other artists for a number of singles, and by now the art has been (controversially) adopted by a more diverse variety of artists, with the rise of Macklemore and Nicki Minaj. It has been the strongest part of the pop industry for many years, and it does not appear to be crumbling.


I wrote in our December edition about the rise of Alternative music that seemed apparent at the end of 2013. Though I stand by my points, I admit that it is hard to be sure that the styles prospering in alt/indie will continue to climb to a national stage. Music is a melting pot of differing musical styles from every previous decade, and even if it were possible to site which ones are most influential today, there is no predicting what will come next.

As we saw with Lorde, any kind of music can be made popular with the right pop star. If Beyonce, for example, stumbled upon a polar-opposite band like Vampire Weekend or Avenged Sevenfold and was unexpectedly inspired by it, there is no doubt in my mind that she could bring th

One explanation for this is simple: the Internet. Starting at the end of the 20th century, communications allowed followings of every music type to co-mingle. Since the music industry has recently been accustomed to relying on the internet for new artists and for a platform for production and transaction, it makes sense that everything in the past is more important in musicology than it has been in th
e influence to a national stage if she so chose.

Anything could be regarded as the most important musical advances of the 21st century – and though it may be hard to find new ideas, there isappen in this industry, and changes are no longer bound by decade markers. Only time will tell what will 


 certainly room for innovation and cross-influencing that may shape tomorrow’s music.


Related Posts