The demand for new content is the fuel that motivates artists to innovate. Successful innovations not only bring honor to the music creators but also pave the way for the emergence of trends that change the industry and define a whole generation. 


Nevertheless, groundbreaking ideas are always a challenging feat to release since there is no way of telling its success or failure. 


But with the pandemic at hand, nostalgic concepts have never been more embraced. People experiencing “quaranxiety” reminisce the good old times with music because nostalgia offers a sense of comfort and remembrance of home, a sense of normalcy.


 The yearning for simpler times has led to the resurrection of retrofuturism in the music industry. The transition from the 2015-2020’s streak of electro-pop and hip-hop/rap songs to the first half of 2021’s genre crossovers and era combinations are evident. 


We went from hearing Electro-Pop songs—with an average tempo of 122 beats per minute—in 2020 to hearing R&B soul and Pop Rock songs—with a tempo ranging from 80 to 170 beats per minute—in the first half of  2021.


Some of the songs that trended in 2020 are

  • Rain On Me by Lady Gaga 
  • Watermelon Sugar by Harry Styles
  • Blinding Lights by Weekend
  • WAP by Cardi B
  • Physical by Dua Lipa





The  first half of 2021, meanwhile, resonated the tunes of

  • Leave The Door Open by Silk Sonic
  • Level of Concern by Twenty One Pilots
  • Peaches by Justin Bieber
  • Good 4 U by Olivia Rodrigo
  • Build A Bitch by Bella Poarch


Music has time and again proved to be a good companion through the good and bad. The current direction of the music industry is logical considering the weight of challenges that the pandemic has brought. 


Another manifestation of music’s great influence in our lives, and how it evolves to suit our music needs, is the popularity of entertainment platforms like TikTok. 


A study by Vox showed that TikTok’s monthly visits logged a whopping 576% increase from 2019-2020. Respondents of the study said they wanted a time out of the sad reality of the pandemic and TikTok offered the sweet escape.


 Social Media has played a major role in music production and promotion during the pandemic. Since social gatherings were prohibited, artists turned to live streaming options to hold virtual concerts while promotional campaigns have switched from billboards and TVCs to TikTok clips. 


The songs that trended in 2021 had with them the familiar arrangements which generate a sense of security; something that the pandemic has robbed from many.



As we move forward to the second quarter of 2021, the released songs have become even more familiar, with artists using samples of early 2000s classics such as Good 4 U by Olivia Rodrigo that uses the sample of Paramore’s Misery Business (2007) and Boyz by Jesy Nelson that uses the sample of P. Diddy’s Bad Boys For Life (2001).


On the other hand, new artists such as Lil Nas X, Doja Cat, and Bella Poarch have successfully earned the interest of the mass with songs incorporated with genre crossovers. Lil Nax X pioneered genre crossovers among millennial artists when they released Old Town Road in 2019 which is a crossover of country and hip-hop.



With 2022 on the horizon, we expect to hit a major throwback as the 90s to early 2000s artists are starting to make their way back to the scene, i.e. Taylor Swift releasing her re-recorded albums, Lorde with her album Solar Power, Adele dropping a new single, Nicki Minaj and her fresh collaborations with different artists, and Snoop Dogg’s comeback album Algorithm this November 2021.


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