New Music Genre To Look Out For

Meera Singh ’19

     Over the last year, young self-made musicians, known as “bedroom pop” artists, have taken the internet by storm. The artists and their fans occupy a very specific yet widely popular corner of the internet. You’ve probably seen some of them on your Instagram explore page, sporting an oversized primary-colored sweater, vintage jeans that are cuffed at the ankle, and a pair of beat-up sneakers, but you might not have heard their music yet.

     Bedroom pop is just one of the names for this genre of music, also known as lo-fi or downtempo. Essentially, it’s the child of vaporwave, chilled-out R&B, and slacker rock. Many bedroom pop artists, such as Yellow Days and Gus Dapperton, cite Mac DeMarco as a primary musical influence. A defining characteristic of this style is the low-fidelity (lo-fi) sound quality, meaning that the quality of the recording is lower than the current industry standards. To give you an idea of what that sound consists of, imagine retro synthesizers, guitars drenched in reverb, and subdued drums. Lyrics are poetic and frequently relatable. Vocals are rarely completely clear, and can occasionally get lost behind the instrumental — which is sometimes intentional.  

     This new DIY wave is often categorized as “indie.” As the scene has grown, it has made its way into an internet spotlight. Writing and recording music at home has become the norm for high school and college-age musicians, and a surprisingly large amount of the music produced falls into this style, which begs the question: is this really indie? Or has it become mainstream since seemingly every young artist with access to recording equipment makes music that sounds similar to one another?

     Without the internet, bedroom pop would not be nearly as popular. Very few of these artists are signed to established record labels or have lots of funding. This is where the internet and social media come into play. Using platforms such as Soundcloud, YouTube, and Bandcamp, independent musicians can upload their music and promote it on other social media like Instagram or Twitter. This isn’t to say that record labels are unnecessary in 2018. Promoting a self-made project on social media is typically only the first step to getting noticed and often is just a way to garner attention from a wide range of people. Some artists, such as Clairo, aspire to move on from bedroom pop into mainstream music, which she has successfully done. For her, bedroom pop was a stepping stone to the music industry.

     Trends come and go, especially when they are popular on the internet, and bedroom pop’s future is uncertain. Though artists have always recorded in their homes, the internet has created a community around this wave as it has with others in the past. “Bedroom pop” (Clairo, Boy Pablo, Zack Villere) in 2018 could very well be the equivalent of “Tumblr grunge” (The 1975, The Neighbourhood, Arctic Monkeys) in 2014, and it is possible that it will be replaced by another trend within the next few years. Its future depends on what music the internet likes best.


     Artists to check out: Gus Dapperton, Jakob Ogawa, HOMESHAKE, Temporex, The Marías, Yellow Days