How far has music come in the last 20 years?
By Vilda Gunnarsson.
Music today is something completely different compared to twenty years ago. Our world has developed by extreme amounts and we have come a long way. Not only has the music developed by miles but our world as well. As the world changes the music industry does too, trends come and go such as music eras do. When a new trend appears in fashion or anything else, it affects people's taste in everything, such as music. This is because in some way we change along with these trends and therefore our taste in music. New and exciting things appear all the time and we just can’t help wanting to discover them.
Looking back at the 90s we can see that our culture and style has changed a lot, even though I myself wasn’t even born yet I know that we have come a long way. Fashion is in my opinion by far one of the things that has helped develop music the most. Why is this you ask? Looking back 20 years ago we can easily see two things: Women were more sexualized, and men were not into fashion and did not have the same style as women. By this I mean in both clothing style and music style. Looking at all the old music videos we see women around men, and the clothes that they all wore is something completely different from what we wear today. I am not in any way implicating that these clothes are inappropriate or bad, this was the fashion those days, that was how you were supposed to look then. What I am saying is that today our fashion is so much more. We care about the details and the smaller things, and today it’s not mostly women, the men's fashion is just as big on the red carpet as the womans. Taking Harry Styles as an example, he already has the word “style” in his name and he is certainly living up to that. He is one of the best examples of mens fashion, he puts effort and details into his outfits and he shows that on his shows and on galas. However, why is this important for music? Let me tell you. Clothes are a way of expression, and expression is also something that has grown in music the past decade. Almost every artist expresses feelings or emotions in his or her songs, all in different ways but it’s there. Clothes and fashion helps make a statement and therefore it’s one of the biggest factors to good music. I mean, if you had a choice of either looking at a concert where all the performers wore jeans and a t-shirt, would you choose that over a concert where the outfits were decided with details and perfection? I didn’t think so.
Away from talking about the things that shape music, let's discuss the music itself. If we have a look at music in the pop genre in the 90s we have artists such Mariah Carey, Eminem, Madonna, Whitney Houston and Britney Spears. We also had many popular groups such as Spice Girls, Backstreet boys and Nirvana. These were all great artists but me myself would say that it is hard to only talk about the 90s pop music, because the 90s weren’t only about pop. Neither was it only about rock, hip-hop or jazz, the 90s were about everything. It was the time of variety and the music industry opened its doors for everything. This is why the 90s was a good time for music, because it was the decade of every music genre. Looking at the top hundred songs of the 90s there is not only hip-hop songs or pop songs, it's a mix of them all. Now as I mentioned before, I did not live then to have experienced this music decade, but one thing that I know is that it was this time that the modern music really started to develop and more “dared” music and artists started to be born.
Now we have the 2010s music decade, and this was one where I was very much alive. In my taste this may be one of the better decades. The reason why I say this is not only because this was the music decade that I grew up with, it’s because not only is the world modern and new, the music is as well. However, a lot of people would certainly disagree with me on this one. Seeing as how much the music style has changed since both the 90s, but also since the 70 & 80s, there are a lot of people who think that our music today is.. well crap. Honestly, when looking at it from their point of view I can understand them completely. They grew up with classic and sophisticated music, whilst we today grow up with rap, pop, rock, house and more rap. They feel like the quality of the music industry is sinking every year, however we still have amazing artists such as Lana Del Ray, Beyonce, Drake and Ed Sheeran. We also have many great new artists such as Shawn Mendes and Billie Eilish. These are examples of people who contribute to the new and good quality of music that we have today. In the rap industry we also have some great artists such as Nicki Minaj, Asap Rocky, Drake and Eminem. This music decade has given every music genre so much experimentation and creativity, the 90s may have been more groundbreaking but artists today use their creativity in a whole different way.
Our music has changed a lot during the last 20 years, for better and for worse. We have however come a long way in the world and our music is going to develop even more the coming years. During this decade we have lost and gained plenty of great artists and I can’t wait to see what this new decade has planned for us.