Is the music industry running short on ideas?  

By Evie Shields (she/her)

The music scene has been all over the place throughout 2022, with a plethora of old trends coming back into fashion. This year has induced a whirlwind of comebacks, debuts, and follow-ups – there is something for everyone. However, with the obvious pattern in past crazes being popular once again, the never-ending trend cycle working its way back to us; I ask, are artists resurfacing these past trends on purpose, has new music simply not got two feet of its own to stand on? 

A lot of songs from years previous have gone viral on TikTok this year. There has been a huge resurgence in the favour of night core (this is a song that has been sped up and raised in pitch. It originated in the 2000s and was popular in the 2010s with mainly K-pop and memes.) Having regained popularity this year, it has even resulted in artists releasing sped-up or slowed-down versions of their songs on streaming platforms. Furthermore, some new releases seem to have followed this trend, using autotune more or being faster; a couple of examples being Midnight Rain by Taylor Swift and Miss You by Southstar.  

In addition to the spike in popularity of night-core, in the last twelve months, the 2000’s emo/pop there has began to make a massive comeback. The best return, here, and in my opinion the best release this year, was The Foundations of Decay by My Chemical Romance. As someone who is a huge My Chemical Romance fan – this is beyond insane. To be able to say they released a song in 2022, not to mention I heard it live, twice, is insane. My Chemical Romance split up in 2013, leaving teenagers and preteens everywhere devastated. When they returned in 2019, everything changed. This year a lot of the old 2000s ‘emo’ scene bands have made a comeback or announced a new tour. Potentially it’s all just for money-grabbing purposes. Blink-182 announced their reunion with Tom Delonge alongside a massive world tour for next year, Paramore released their first song in 5 years and are touring again – but are these bands all in it for the music or simply following trends?  

The trend that has brought the most joy to people with its return is the ‘2014 tumblr era.’ In media, this is black tennis skirts, denim jackets, and American Apparel. Pictures of oil spills, neon lights. Artists most associated with this phase are Arctic Monkeys, The 1975, Taylor Swift, Lana Del Rey and Lorde, amongst others. Coincidentally, every single one of those artists have had a big release this year (Lana’s being a feature in a Taylor Swift song.) Taylor Swift’s latest full-length release, Midnights has become the best debut of her career and is both the year’s best-selling vinyl LP, and the top-selling album of 2022 full stop – showing just how influential she is.  

Of course, the idea of these once beloved trends making their way back into the mainstream is may well be a good thing. There is some music that people will simply always come back to and consume and there’s nothing wrong with that. And of course, there were stand-out releases from contemporary musicians this year too, like Skinty Fia by Fontaines D.C., 5SOS5 by 5 Seconds of Summer or Hippo Campus’ LP3. The never-ending rotation of adored trends in music is always present and can make the music we hear a bit same old-same old. Naturally, this is up to your own interpretation. Perhaps you find the repetition boring, but it can always be said that people love familiarity.