A Love Letter to the Music of Today


Lucia Robertiello

If I had a dollar for every time I heard the “They don’t make good songs like they used to,” argument uttered from my grandma’s mouth, I’d be rolling in money. Sorry to break it to you, Grandma, but Gen-Z has amazing taste in music. Our music is worthy of being listened to and it is certainly worthy of praise. After all, our music is an extension of ourselves. Sure, Frank Sinatra’s great and all but he’s way too traditional and repetitive for my taste. It’s time to add a dash of flavor and a sprinkle of spice. It’s time to explore the expansive horizons in the world of music and listen to something fresh and new.

You can enjoy listening to The Four Seasons on vinyl or Johnny Cash on an eight-track, to each his own, but the music of today is just as influential and powerful. You are allowed to love and hate any music that doesn’t speak to your soul but that doesn’t make any type of music less great in the eyes of someone else. You can be a die-hard rocker who prefers listening to Black Sabbath over Taylor Swift, I am, but that doesn’t make her any less wonderful of a singer-songwriter. Your distaste doesn’t disregard the way a song, lyric, or sound truly resonates with another.

Nicholas Runfolo, 21, shares his thoughts and insight on the topic. “I believe that there is always something to learn from older and newer generations, especially since music has always been a reflection of the times,” says Runfolo. “I believe that both generations of music can teach you something different.”

As Gen-Z, we are notorious for speaking our minds and being one with our emotions. Many of us seek solace in that which helps us feel whole and can open the floodgates of our feelings. That’s where music comes in. The artists we listen to preach of love and life. They preach of loss and despondency. These songs add a sense of connection and a feeling of understanding. This, in turn, has the power to make the listener feel heard and seen. These tunes are anthems of the lost and alone and ballads which amplify the voices of the meek. It can be a lighthouse in the dark, a haven. Music truly has the ability to change people’s perspective on life like nothing else can.

One listener, Jordynn Blackwell, 17, describes the resounding impact our generation’s music has had on her life. “One album in the last year that helped me through tough times was Fine Line by Harry Styles. I have always had tremendously bad anxiety and even depression in the past. Styles and his music have always inspired me,” Blackwell says. “His songs are relatable and comforting. They talk about loneliness and his lyrics speak of hope and reassurance.”

Listen, I love The Beach Boys just as much as anyone else. I’m all for surfing and sunshine. But, where’s the passion? Where’s the cultural diversity working to redefine the world as we know it? Where’s the profound meaning that artists like Hozier and Tyler, The Creator deliver despite wildly different sounds? There’s a reason why these artists’ songs have charted. It’s because they’re catchy and they’re pertinent.

“I believe artists like Harry Styles and Olivia Rodrigo are definitely favored by Gen-Z because a lot of young people relate to the messages in their songs,” Blackwell says.

The songs made recently are fitting for a quickly-progressing, ever-changing world. These songs are suitable for the lives of many regardless of demographic. Music plays an integral part in shaping the unique identities within this generation, no matter who we are, where we come from, or what genre we prefer. Music can bare the soul unlike anything else. Music also promotes self-expression and develops the connection between emotion and sound. By just reading the lyrics of a most-loved song, one can quickly feel comforted and content and free.

“Folk music has taken on a life of its own for me. It moves through me and really makes me feel and think,” Runfolo says. “It makes me feel at home. In every song, every artist embraces their sense of vulnerability which makes me do the same while listening.”

Our generation is filled with diversity – that’s what makes us so special. Diversity resides in our identities, our interests, our opinions, and our backgrounds. And, with that, there is also diversity in the genres we appreciate. From pop to folk, alternative to country, and rock to rap, music truly showcases who we are as people. It truly sheds light to our values and beliefs. As Gen-Z, we appreciate our individuality and personal freedom. We appreciate our intrinsic ability to feel. Artists like Adele, Kid Cudi, BTS, KALEO, and countless others are all able to capture that in song. Though we are incredibly diverse, we are united through music.

That’s art. And that art is at our fingertips – it just takes a tap of “shuffle music” on Spotify.

So the question now is: what are you going to listen to next?