Nowadays, the terms ‘Millennials’ and ‘Boomers’ are circulating in the social medias like Facebook and Twitter to emphasize the age gap of people using the internet. A catchphrase “Ok boomer” has become a meme to mock old people for having outdated perspectives on the common events in the world. On the other hand, a common mistake people make is to address the young teenagers as ‘Millennials’ when the real term for them should be ‘Gen Z’. This is where the importance of the term generation and should be clarified enters. When a group of people are born in a similar period of time, it is called a generation. But what should you call yourself now? Currently, there are five generations that are present in the world. First are the ‘Traditionalists’ who are born on or before 1945. Next are the ‘Baby Boomers’ who were born on the period of 1946 to 1964. Following them are the ‘Generation X’ which are born on 1965 to 1976. The real ‘Millennials’ are born on the years 1977 to 1995. And lastly, the ‘Gen Z’ which are born from 1996 to present. As the years pass by and technology advances exponentially, music also grew with the people who were born in their time.
For ‘Traditionalists’, music from 1920’s to 1940’s was mainly composed of jazz, blues, big band, and swing. World War I have just finished in the 1920’s and people find music to have upbeat sound that will cheer them up. Traveling dance bands or territory bands performed popular songs. They helped in starting up the music industry. They performed typically with 8 to 12 members on halls, lodges, clubs and ballrooms. The economy improved with parties held in these venues. The popular artists in this era include Louis Armstrong and Sophie Tucker. In the late 1920’s up until 1930’s, the United States are struck by the Great Depression which affected people that pushed artists to compose music with sadness, which becomes the genre blues. The music became a coping mechanism for the harsh living conditions. The artists that bloomed in this decade are **** Astaire, Count Basie, and The Andrews Sisters. In the 1940’s the second world war struck, and to cope up once again to the hardship and to maintain the morale of people, hopeful music has been popular and optimistic. Solo artists and groups cheered up the United States troops by performing to them. The artists popular in this decade were Frank Sinatra, Billie Holiday, and Nat King Cole.
The ‘Baby Boomers’ era began, and music evolved to another form. Radio and television were invented and popularized casual listening to music. The genres that became popular were pop, R&B or rhythm and blues, country and most especially rock and roll. People of color started to fight for social justice, giving birth to the civil rights movement. Giving the popularity of “black” music. The popularization of these genres paved the way for black and white people to bond to music. The artists who became popular in this decade include Elvis Pressley, Patti Page, Pat Boone, and Patsy Cline. In the 1960’s different variations of rock music emerged and more bands have become popular. The Beatles dominated the world through their music which are still popular until today. Music was commercialized more, giving way for Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix to become popular singer-songwriters. Music festivals thrived and hippie culture became the norm for this era.
The music of ‘Generation X’ revolved primarily on disco, new wave, and more variations of pop. To put it simply, people tend to dance to clubs and other places where they can meet and have a good time. In Asia, electronic music emerged which leads to EDM or Electronic Dance Music. Synthesizers and harmonizers are more widely used. The other continents have their own version of disco but overall this era can be summarized with the word disco. The artists and groups that became popular are The Bee Gees, Abba (which won the Eurovision Song Contest), The Village People, Donna Summer, Gloria Gaynor, The Jackson 5, and many more iconic people that are still popular today.
The ‘Millennial’ era has evolved music once again with the introduction of Music Television (MTV) that created a competitive environment for artists. The genres that became popular are new wave and synth-pop. Popularity became a must for artists to sell records. Digital recording started to increase given that computers are also getting improved. The Jackson 5’s Michael Jackson was hailed as King of Pop with his music videos. Hip hop culture also flourished and became popular. The songs Physical, Take on Me, and Girls Just Want to Have Fun was born in this era but are still popular and covered by different singers nowadays. The artists and groups that dominated this decade were Wham!, Madonna, Dolly Parton, and many more. In the 90’s the hip-hop culture really boomed, and gangster rappers became successful at the same time produced powerful belters such as Celine Dion (which also won Eurovision Song Contest), Mariah Carey, and Whitney Houston. The variety of genres grew more and more, people had more choices on what they will listen to.
Lastly, ‘Gen Z’ is the musical era we are experiencing today. Pop music grew more popular and dominated charts. Notable artists will include Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, and more. Auto-tune was invented and assisted singers to polish their songs. As the technology advanced, devices that are able to play music required artists to record their songs digitally to reach a wider audience. It has become easier to access any music. Teen pop became popular on the start of the era giving light to artists such as Britney Spears and Backstreet Boys to be successful. Rhythm and blues became popular again because of Beyonce, Usher, Alicia Keys, and more. As we move forward to the present, the youth are now more able to stan their favorite artists with the help of the internet. Billboard charts are now the standard of the success of the songs. Music streaming sites are now available as an application to cellphones to access their favorite music easily. Producing music can now be done even at home. YouTube and other platforms can now be a way to be famous. Being a viral artist in the social media can make a music producer or hopeful artist have a break in the industry. The creative reach of people is farther than they can imagine. We don’t know what will be the next trend in the next years but it will definitely define our generation.