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The Boiling Point

The student news site of Bradley Bourbonnais Community High School

The Boiling Point

The student news site of Bradley Bourbonnais Community High School

The Boiling Point

Music Moves BBCHS

Students plug into variety of music genres

Music. Such a universally loved thing has so much to do with why humans are the way they are. Some of your favorite songs could’ve been inspired by some of the most unbelievable things in life or the mundane. And that’s the great thing about music, it’s for everyone in every situation because of all the different genres there are out there.

From pop and country to sludge metal, there is a genre for everyone. There are even whole quizzes dedicated to discovering “what your favorite music genres say about you!” But what are the students at BBCHS listening to? What does music mean to them?

I asked Nelson Middlebrook, a junior here at BBCHS, who is both passionate about music and a musician himself, what he listens to, and he stated “Hip-hop as a genre; Kanye; Drake; Tyler, the creator; John Coltrane; and Faye Webster.” To those who know Middlebrook, his answer isn’t very surprising considering how outspoken he is with his taste in music. When asked why he listens to the music that he does, he said, “It’s so broad. Hip-hop has so many subgenres it’s almost unavoidable when listening to music. People may not call one song hip-hop, but it could be in ways. Something is there for whatever people listen to depending on samples being used, the producers making a track.” Middlebrook explained, “Music is everything I do. I’m involved with everything I can be with music in this school besides choir; my philosophy is that if you are not listening to music, why are you even a part of anything?”

With such broad likes, are there any genres Middlebrook dislikes? “Probably country,” he said. “It is musically boring, the chord progressions are boring, and in my opinion country is the farthest thing from jazz, which, musically speaking, is the most interesting.” 

But would most other BBCHS students agree with Nelson’s views of music? A survey of BBCHS students shows that music is just as important in their lives. In fact, 82.1 percent of students surveyed claimed they listened to music every single day, 15.2 percent of students said they listen pretty frequently, while only 2.8 percent said they can go without music in their day-to-day. 

I then asked students to describe their music tastes’ popularity. Most chose the option of “semi-popular,” coming in at 60 percent of students, and 20.7 percent described their tastes as “popular” (as in the top 100 charts). Then 11.7 percent labeled their taste as “unpopular,” with just 6.9 percent describing it as “underground” (as in nobody knows the band at all).

So with 82.1 percent of students listening to music every day and 60 percent saying their tastes are semi-popular, you might be wondering what the top genres are. The most popular genre at BBCHS is — perhaps not surprisingly — pop, with 20 percent of students making it their top choice. The second most-selected genre was “Not Listed” at 17.2 percent. The people who chose this option were then asked to put their preferred not-listed genre in a short response text box. Some of that 17.2 percent gave some very interesting answers, like two students who responded “opera/classical” and another three indicating some sort of “alternative” style.

One of the stand-out responses among the unlisted responses was from senior Jamie Parks, who stated in his response, “I listen to a lot of strange experimental stuff. I’m an emotional guy, so I’m a big fan of music that channels your emotions one way or another, whether that be an insanely layered electronic noisy kind of song or a stripped back acoustic ballad.” Parks goes on to mention bands like Jane Remover, The Microphones/Mount Eerie, and Bjork. Before reading his response, I had only heard of Bjork, and listening to the other bands opened up a new style of music I hadn’t heard before.

The second response that interested me was from freshman Oliver Munson, who was one of the many people who mentioned American indie-rock musician Mitski. Munson stated, “I love Mitski’s music so much for so many reasons. I relate to a fair amount of her music, not directly but I relate it to my own situations at times like in the song ‘Goodbye, My Danish Sweetheart.’ I love how different the emotions of the music feel so much like I do at times. An example would be, ‘the anger of Brand New City, the despair of I Want You.'”

One last response I enjoyed was from Junior Dallis Beedle, who said their preferred genre of music is grunge, explaining, “I love grunge because it doesn’t follow a super strict structure, and you have more creativity in this genre, in my opinion. You don’t need to have perfect vocals or be a super great player to make this genre sound great because the imperfections make it what it is. Instead of making things sound pretty, you embrace the ugly in a way that still works and expresses the feeling the musicians will display.” This was an interesting point I hadn’t seen anyone else make when reading all the responses. Beedle then goes on to say, “Voice cracks, clashing chords, yelling, vocal fry, and controlled chaos isn’t something you’ll hear frequently in just about any other genre. With grunge, there’s a certain freedom to be yourself and do what you want when you want without caring if anyone else likes it, which inspires me to think outside the box and let myself stay weird!”

Music is such a big part of students’ lives here at BBCHS. Even with so many listening to all kinds of different things, the love of music itself and the passion it inspires can bring a school filled with many diverse teenagers together.


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