The student news site of Stone Bridge High School

The Bulldog Tribune

The student news site of Stone Bridge High School

The Bulldog Tribune

The student news site of Stone Bridge High School

The Bulldog Tribune

The New Age of Music: Summer’s Top Hits

The New Age of Music: Summers Top Hits

Reflecting on current music trends can help determine what the sounds of summer will be this year; from festival favorites to underground gems, the sounds of summer show a new age of music on the horizon filled with rising starlets and returning sounds.

Music trends of previous years have grown out of the cultural precedents set at Coachella music festival, and this year is no exception. With headliners like Sabrina Carpenter and Chappell Roan, Coachella has only solidified what many have already caught on to: pop music and popstars are back and better than ever. 

Both Carpenter and Roan have solidified themselves as rising stars, amassing a formidable following in a short period of time. Despite both stars having decade-long careers by this point, Carpenter and Roan have only recently found mainstream success, with Roan especially skyrocketing with her debut album, “The Rise and Fall of a Midwest Princess,” and her single “Good Luck, Babe!” Roan’s music displays an overwhelming sense of self-assuredness and confidence in her campy and theatrical image, which draws fans to see her as a refreshing take on the modern popstar. 

Carpenter, likewise, is refreshing pop music with her 2022 album “emails i can’t send” and 2024 single “Espresso.” Carpenter’s head-bop inducing songs, Polly Pocket-worthy outfits, and signature hair and makeup establish her image as a quintessential popstar. With lighthearted and fun songs, Carpenter creates music that gets stuck on loop in online videos, on the radio, and in everyone’s heads. Additionally, her ability to break free of the “Disney” mold of her early teen years into a standalone adult musician, even opening for Taylor Swift’s “Eras Tour,” shows a dedicated work ethic and musical stamina.

Beyond the traditional music scene of style-setting festivals, summer blockbusters have brought music trends with them. With the April 27 release of Luca Guadagnino’s “Challengers,” house and techno music has made a resurgence. The film’s soundtrack, assembled by Nine Inch Nails’s Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, is pulsing, high-energy, and dance-worthy. The social media zeitgeist brought on by the release of “Challengers” has made the music ubiquitous across apps like TikTok and Instagram, which will likely impact listener trends heading into the summer. 

The upcoming release of Charli XCX’s album “Brat” on June 7, and her subsequent joint tour with Troye Sivan (which XCX and Sivan say they want to feel like a rave), supports the rise of dance-pop and hyper-pop back into the mainstream. Across her career, Charli XCX has created numerous dance-pop hits like “I Love It,” “Speed Drive,” and “Von dutch” that have solidified her strength in the genre. With both XCX and Sivan’s cult following, and the popularity of the “Challengers” soundtrack, dance-pop is worming its way back into the mainstream. 

However, juxtaposing the return of house music is the simultaneous rise of  stripped down folk, pop, and country inspired music from artists like Maggie Rogers, Gracie Abrams, and Beyoncé. 

Rogers, who has been a notable folk-inspired pop artist since the release of her debut album “Heard It In A Past Life” in 2019, released her third studio album “Don’t Forget Me” on April 12. The album is a culmination of what Rogers described as “feeling like a Sunday afternoon.” The album pares down pop music to simple guitar and percussion instruments with hints of piano. The simplicity of “Don’t Forget Me” reiterates the trend of a more “natural” pop sound. The story-like lyrics, coupled with Fleetwood Mac-inspired music, create a warm, sunny listening experience that redirect pop onto a simpler route, perfect for the dog days of summer.

With headliners like Sabrina Carpenter and Chappell Roan, Coachella has only solidified what many have already caught on to: pop music and popstars are back and better than ever.

Rising music songstress Gracie Abrams, whose second studio album “The Secret Of Us” will be released on June 21, released the album’s first single “Risk” on May 3. The sound of “Risk” is countryfied pop, a departure from Abrams’ previous more serious sounding bedroom pop sound from her debut album “Good Riddance” and prior EPs. The shift of Abrams’ sound shows the shift in pop music; in her case, the shift may reflect her growing strength and maturity as an artist. The genre-shift within pop from Abrams’ debut “Good Riddance” to “The Secret Of Us” will seemingly follow one similar to Rogers’ shift from “Heard It In A Past Life” with a folk-pop sound to “Don’t Forget Me”’s airy, boundless sound. The journey of both Abrams’s and Rogers’s sound from an embellished sound to a bare, stripped down sound reflects a return to a simpler and softer pop world. 

Of course the countryfication of recent music cannot be discussed without mentioning Beyoncé’s “Cowboy Carter.” The album’s journey, which can be alternatively seen as Beyoncé’s return to her Texas roots, covers the sounds of the history of country music, which began with Black musicians. Beyoncé’s musical journey through “Renaissance” (so far) has covered both dance-pop and country music. “Renaissance”’s dance beats like “CUFF IT” and “BREAK MY SOUL” and “Cowboy Carter”’s “TEXAS HOLD ‘EM” and “II MOST WANTED” show a perfect cycle of musical soundings and the rise of both dance-pop and country or country/folk inspired music in the summer songs for the radio. 

The ”songs of the summer” reflect yearly music trends, and this year’s trends in pop music and its subgenres show moves toward a new direction. New pop starlets and upcoming alternative and country pop releases are forecasted to soar as hot as the summer sun. 

About the Contributor
Maddie Willinger
Maddie Willinger, Staff Writer
Maddie Willinger is a senior, and a first year at the "Bulldog Tribune". She is an officer in Girl Up, EdRising, SBHS’s chapter of The Launch Project, and a Cappies Critic. Maddie loves to keep up with pop culture, and can be found reading Taylor Jenkins Reid books, watching new movies to log on her Letterboxd, or listening to Taylor Swift way too often.