Is sadness the new wave?


Rediet Ayanaw, Review Staff

Feature Photo By: Rediet Ayanaw – Sophomore Eric Huynh watches a Simpsonwave video. He regularly catches up on the new waves of music. 

Modern Music

What are teenagers listening to? With the new wave of artists, many people on social media have come to acknowledge that this new era of music is different from what previous generations had to offer.

In this generation, depression and suicide rates continue to rise up each year. According to research from Columbia University, the worst type of depression is the one that goes untreated. A study from Reach Out  claims that music and melodies are a way to cope with said issues.

In today’s time, new genres of music are appearing due to the diversity in the media’s support of new artists. Somewhere along the way, a new wave of artists came into the spotlight that had some very similar vibes. Artists like Travis Scott, Post Malone, and Billie Eilish have similar rhythms and flows.

According to Billboards, 70 percent of the music industry has suffered from depression. This trend started way back, but some of the influencers of today’s “sad” music are Kanye, Kid Cudi, Asap Rocky, and Logic. The common topic being written about are drugs, past relationships, and depression, along with the common tone the music provides. Given these high statistics, it might have an influence on their music.

Looking under these Youtube comments of songs like Sad! by XXXTentacion, many people feel as if they can relate to the sad tune. One comment suggests that this form of music is similar to a coping device for sad moments. These songs have created a community for people who relate.

Why do teenagers feel as if they can relate?

“Students relate to this type of music because this is how they feel and the music is being created by members of their own generation who understand,” claims Bonsitu.

Even though happier beats chart higher in the music industry, the amount of sad music still increases each year. Songs like “Shake It Off” and “All About That Bass” are some examples of leading music. So why are songs like this continuing to gain attention?

Bonsitu Kebeto states, “[Artists] feel the need to speak for those who are suffering but do not speak because of the stigma. They want to show their audience they’re not alone.” Bonsitu is usually known for listening to a variety of genres of music.  

New Genre
A phone playing Moonlight by XXXTentacion on Spotify. This was one of his most popular songs (Rediet Ayanaw).

There has been a certain new genre that has risen to fame in recent years. There is no single title for this genre but the words ‘Vaporwave’ and ‘aesthetic’ are pretty close. This genre has an old school retro vibe that brings the elevator sounding funk music and the old school digital tropical landscape and gaming art-mixed in with Japanese culture. Songs like Macintosh Plusby Vektroid is what became popularized by the media somewhere around 2011.

Junior Sam Ayanaw states, “We should have this new genre of music because there is a large audience who listen to different music. We need the variety of choices.”

With this new genre rising, there are spin-offs bound to happen. One particular spin-off genre of both vaporwave and aesthetic have clashed together to create “The Simpsonwave.” It features clips from the animated television show, “The Simpsons” which are edited to include Vaporwave music and retro aesthetic visual effects. Gathering thousands of views, many people apparently enjoy the art.

These videos later included modern day artists that sounded unique which gathered even more views. What is different about these compared to “The Simpsons” Vaporwave soundtracks was that these included the topics of suicide, drugs, melancholy, family issues, and depression. These topics were presented in similar Vaporwave edits but now included a variety of cartoons minus the funk that Vaporwave previously had. This new wave included artists like Shiloh Dynsty, and XXXTenacion who were featured on these edits. Many people still disagree with the message being sent, however.

“I personally believe that Vaporwave and the Simpsonwave is a negative aspect because we shouldn’t try to elongate depression,” stated Blessed Asare. “We should instead bring a positive impact. We can’t downplay negative issues that are really personal.”

Does this type of music represent the general population as a whole? Should adults interfere with this new genre?

“It represents the general population’s mindset right now, and gives a glimpse into the cause of rising suicide/depression rates,” Bonsitu was aware of the growing popularity of this genre as it trends over social media like Instagram and Twitter.

Even though it’s gaining this much attention, it is still a trend. A trend that can either be growing or like other trends, disappear.

Here’s some examples of these genres of music: 

Vaporwave songs:


New ‘Sad’ Wave: