If you keep up much with current music, you know that a great deal of it is pretty loud and distracting. EDM, Dubstep, Bass, and even a lot of what gets classified as modern Pop all tend to rely on repetitive melodies best enjoyed at high volumes. They’re also meant to be somewhat addicting. In our own recent interview with The Chainsmokers, the group behind the hit song “#Selfie2, the artists explained that it’s “the relatability, the inter-connectivity and the entertainment factor of a song” that help to contribute to a viral launch. Translation: what’s popular now is music that sticks in people’s heads and entertains all by itself.
This actually raises an interesting question regarding popular music these days, which is where exactly it’s useful outside of dance clubs and parties. With music that’s so thoroughly capable of burrowing into our heads and taking over our senses, are the normal applications—such as driving music, relaxation music, sing-along music, etc.—even useful anymore? Well, maybe and maybe not, though we wouldn’t recommend driving around listening to the new Skrillex album (reviewed on Pitchfork), because it just seems like you’re begging to get out of control. But for fun, here are a few ideas of where the average modern hit can still be worth having on hand in everyday life.
To begin with an obvious one, exercise is still a great option. When we’re listening to our favorite songs, it’s often easier to fall into the sort of trance that can be helpful in focusing on a workout, rather than allowing boredom or fatigue to set in. And when that music is designed with catchy and addictive beats, repetitive verses, and loud bass, a workout just seems to go by all too quickly. This could even explain why headphone options like big, clunky, Beats by Dre products seem to be becoming more popular in workout environments (as opposed to smaller, more convenient earbuds that don’t quite capture Bass and EDM that well).
Online gaming is another area in which modern music can serve as an interesting way to “get in the zone,” because many other forms of gaming either prohibit or discourage gaming. But when you’re playing poker from your own living room with your headphones on or your speakers plugged in? Blast away! Some players would still prefer to avoid potential distractions. However in today’s online gaming communities there’s also value in setting a mood because many gaming options exist that are far more complex (and lengthy) than simple sit-and-go games. Tournaments can stretch for days all over the Internet, with Betfair poker even recently launching a 10-day poker event, or “Decathlon.” For these kinds of events, in which endurance and lasting focus matter, an addictive and fully engaging playlist of music from the EDM, Bass, and similar genres can actually help you to establish a mood.
Finally, I might also suggest digital or visually creative projects as great places to apply a modern hits playlist. What many might typically think of as creative or mentally engaging—writing, for instance—requires calm, quiet, and concentration. But these days, creative outlets often call for a different approach. We’ve all heard the terms “locked in” or “plugged in” to refer to programmers and web designers, and the truth is many projects online, from designing websites to programming apps, work best when outside distractions are eliminated. And the perfect playlist can do just that!
Ultimately, all of these suggestions depend on personal preference. But with a lot of people thinking of modern hits from Timber to #Selfie as exclusively being club music, it’s fun to think of a few additional uses for modern popular music.