What Songs are You Listening To? Why?


What avid music listeners eagerly await for every December are their music recaps. Spotify released their Spotify Wrapped since 2016 and other music platforms, like YouTube with YouTube Music Recap and Apple Music with Apple Music Replay, are also following the trend. In reality, it is a business incentive to urge users to continue using their platform after their month(s) of free usage to be able to share results with friends and family. Still, sharing top artists and looking at the top 100 plays are exciting and reminiscent of what people loved this year. But why is someone’s top song their top song? What made them repeat it so much? A song is composed of multiple factors so which one of them makes it the most appealing to a casual listener? To answer this question, a form was sent out to Cresskill High School students and they had the option to choose multiple reasons why they listen to certain songs over others. 

About 62.5% of respondents noted lyrics as an important part of the songs they listen to. It is often the lyrics that make a song much easier to remember and mimic. There are a variety of lyrics, from ones that can be interpreted in multiple ways to ones that don’t make any sense and solely exist for rhyme, like Slow Heartbeat by Layone. Emotional lyrics help the artists and their listeners cope with their struggles. The Assignment Song by Lee Mujin humorously describes the huge workload of college students while Vacant by Echos is about a dying relationship that needs to end. Global Extinction by sokodomo is related to Earth’s eventual end, but it is symbolic of sokodomo’s feelings while receiving intense hate from the public for a misunderstanding. Furthermore, it’s important to note that people’s voices are also a form of instruments so a lyrics’ meaning can change based on what letters are emphasized. 

Nowadays with social media and constant exposure to media, music videos also serve an important purpose in songs. 33.3% responded that the context and the music videos of the songs make them return to a particular song. Music videos are often filmed for fans and to promote their album more. Some are just for glamor and made to please the eye. Others, like NewJeans, have a deeper meaning behind them. For their hit Hype Boy, there are a total of six music videos that unravel the story of the members and the people they have a crush on. It’s fascinating to see the relationships between different members present and evolve in all of the music videos towards a united ending that I recommend people to check out. Songs might have unexpected meanings when they reach TikTok. It can also be played in a show or movie so the song because associated with a particular scene.  

What’s credited under the name of the song is the artist. Although artists stay within their style of music to fans, it is noticeable that artists simply listen. Many fans fall in love with the appearance of their singers so that all their music naturally becomes their favorite. This is apparent in streaming culture where fans only play songs from their favorite artist so it ranks high in charts. It might be due to an artist’s voice, appearance, mood, or the messages they convey. Regardless of the reason, it is eventually the person that fans often fall in love with and wholeheartedly support. 

While one aspect of a song might stand out more than the others, it is ultimately all of its factors that call listeners back to listen to the song again. Although what listeners focus on in a song and when they listen to it are different, music has become such a crucial part of people’s lives that fuel people’s everyday lives.