2020 is a time for artistic experimentation - for new sounds, ideas, and concepts, and for new styles to be born from those ideas. With the advancements in technology, music has been utterly revolutionized. We no longer only listen to recordings of live performances or simply enjoy the untouched sounds of tangible instruments; we can do so much more with production, synthesizers, and a myriad of new music tech. Naturally, this has made room for new genres. For example, the birth of EDM came with video game scores and the discovery that you could make entire songs without ever picking up an instrument. The new era has also brought forth a natural nostalgia for long-lost sounds, like analog recording devices to get a fuzzy, grainy crackle to your audio. We live in a world where you can recreate any sound that you’ve ever heard before, which is pretty mind-blowing. So what does this mean for music? Well, the answer comes through new artists making a name for themselves and their sounds.
Cavetown. Clairo. Rex Orange County. Dayglow. These artists have become the faces of a new genre, a new generation in music. The wave of “Bedroom Pop” has hit big in the last few years, and has now become a somewhat universally recognized sub-genre of pop. So what is this sensational new genre? Much like the name implies, it is a laid-back style of pop that elicits adjectives like “chill,” “vibey,” “dreamy;” the atmosphere of a night in a cozy and clean bedroom lit only by colored fairy lights, perhaps a cat asleep at the foot of the neatly made bed, perhaps a record player serenading from the corner. It’s a genre focused around simplistic and metaphorical lyricism over the top of distant, ringing guitars and spaced-out synths. The BPMs are most often under 100 to relax the listener and give them a sense of suspension in time. Its lyrics are poetic and clean, and spin the hand that music traditionally has in speaking about topics like heartbreak or oppression. Cavetown, for example, is an artist that uses a youthful and even childlike aesthetic to shed a light on mental illness and toxic masculinity. This simplistic realism, accompanied by 80’s nostalgic drum pads and synthesizers, acoustic guitars, and easy melody lines, is what makes up Bedroom Pop.
I believe this genre truly began gaining traction when Tyler, The Creator released his 2017 record Flower Boy, which immediately shook the internet upon release. While instrumentals on tracks like “Cowboy” and “Answer” off his 2013 album WOLF resemble those of present-day Bedroom Pop, Flower Boy embraced them in a completely new, different sound and style for Tyler, which turned some of his die-hard fans away from him and left them clinging to the remnants of Cherry Bomb. Flower Boy features Rex Orange County on the tracks “Foreword” and “Boredom,” accompanied by the now-classic vintage acoustic guitar that is synonymous with the genre. Flower Boy was the catalyst in the mainstream adaptation of Bedroom Pop, making a space for artists like Dayglow and boy pablo to share their art.
Check out some Bedroom Pop HERE: