Soaring Sounds: Hawks’ Favorite Music Genres

Highland students music preferences.

Brigham Larson

Highland student’s music preferences.

Brigham Larson, Reporter

One’s music taste says a lot about them. The musical genres, artists, or themes that they enjoy suggest much about their personality, life, beliefs, and thousands of other traits that make up a person. It could be argued that one with a wide-ranging and diverse music taste says more about a person than one who confines their enjoyment to a singular genre.

Which is exactly why it makes so much sense that so many of the students at this school declared themselves devoted fans of every single genre in existence.

Of 193 students surveyed, 20.3% declared that they had no definite favorite genre and “just listen to whatever,” in the words of freshman Payton Christensen. Many students noted that they simply enjoyed listening to music and didn’t consider genre a defining factor in the music that they choose to enjoy. Others noted that they just listen to music that fits their mood, no matter what genre fits at the time.

“I really like anything,” freshman Dylan Collins said, while also affirming an enjoyment of the American pop rock band Imagine Dragons. He stated that he can “get into any genre, since music is music.”

At a close second to the all-encompassing option was pop music, with 27% of the vote. Pop music is a genre that, fittingly, encompasses nearly as much variety as the first-place pick does. As pop music is a shortened form of “popular music,” one could argue that any artist with a decent amount of commercial success can be considered “pop,” from Metallica to Eminem.

However, in recent years, pop music evolved into a separate genre, usually marked by upbeat production often involving electronic instruments, catchy hooks, and danceability, though these stereotypes are not true 100% of the time. Freshman Liberty Wilkins stated her favorite genre was pop specifically because it “can be chill,” particularly in the genre of bedroom pop, which has thrived during the pandemic. Google searches for the genre saw an increase as stay-at-home orders had begun to be put in place.

One Hawk, Jenna Vanderhulst, states that her favorite genre is the foreign pop subgenre K-pop, or Korean pop.

“I really think that K-pop has a lot of energy, but I don’t understand the lyrics, personally,” she said. “So, it makes it easier for me to focus on my work, because I can have my own thoughts, but then I can have music that still has lyrics and it’s not just classical, […] I’m not just trying to understand the meaning.”

Many lesser-known genres made an appearance in the results of the poll as well. Reggaeton, a form of Latin music influenced by American hip-hop and Caribbean music made famous in the States by the endlessly meme-able hit “Despacito,” was mentioned on the list at one point. Lo-fi, a form that combines jazz and hip-hop marked by imperfections in the sound such as vinyl record crackle, was also proclaimed by one student to be their favorite.

Many popular genres ranked lower on the list than expected. Rock music came in 4th place, only capturing 18 votes, a mere 9.4% of students surveyed. Hip-hop, which, according to Billboard, has been the biggest genre on the charts since 2017, only brought in 13.5% of the vote.

In the end, the findings of the article suggest many things about not just the types of entertainment that the student body in general enjoys, but also something deep and personal about each individual who responded. Jenna certainly thinks so.

“[…] It’s just a small school in Gilbert, but we’re able to get music from all over the world and the country and just listen to it, and I think it broadens your view on a person…like personality, or just anything about them, and it just shows something to say that this school has a variety,” she said.