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The “On Demand” Generation

Sara Bouhamid, Staff Writer

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Generation Z averages four hours a day with earbuds in; this fact isn’t hard to believe considering the daily scene on Venice High campus. Students (myself included) roam the halls with music at eardrum-threating-decibels in and potential code red warnings over the intercom or attempts to start a conversation by their peers between classes out. But why is music so inexplicably prioritized by not only our green and white supporting student body, but all amongst the red, white, and blue supporting teens nationwide? Why do students bring hoodies and master the art of snaking their headphones around their bodies to conceal them in their ears just to tune out the calculus notes? Why do 83% of VHS students surveyed attest to paying for a monthly subscription to consume the music their insatiable hunger demands? We may not be able to answer why this generation attributes any intellectual value to Lil Pump’s lyrics, but one thing is certain; music is prevalent in every facet of Generation Z.

Fashion is the most obvious form of self-expression; the range of Free People skirts, Vineyard Vines crewnecks, thrasher hoodies and fur tail belt clips sported by VHS students are key evidence. Studies have revealed that these wardrobe choices are a result of adolescents absorbing the undertones of their favorite musicians and integrating it into their own lives, with 39% of students admitting to music influencing their personal style. Rap songs have always included a materialistic message in their music, but it seems that now more than ever their lyrics reflect an attraction to the brightness of VVS diamonds like moths to a flame. An obsession with the rare designer fashion drops and their limited availability seems to fit the fast-paced generation, and the fleeting trends mirror their declining attention spans as well. “Every song I heard mentioned ‘Gucci’ ‘Ferragamo’ or some other name that sounded like it should be on a menu at an Italian restaurant,” senior, Elijah Rodriguez explained. “I decided to do my own research so I could get the references in lyrics and now I know all about high end brands, I even have my own designer belt.” Those of the baby boomer generation defend their disapproval of rap music by correlating it with violent activity, a claim that every teen I interviewed couldn’t help but roll their eyes at. “I can confidently say that the only thing rap music has killed is my last paycheck after buying $400 Rolling Loud tickets,” junior, Macyn Miller snidely replied.

Three days of 95 degree weather set to ear-splitting music, mosh-pits where consequent bruises are an accessory with bragging rights, and snaking your way through throngs of sweat-drenched adolescents at music festivals like Rolling Loud and Coachella spell nightmare for the previous generation; this one will pay thousands to catch a glimpse of their favorite artist at a set. When asked why, Julienne Bailey-Marrett stated, “You’re paying for more than just a concert, you pay to feel like you’re a part of something. Being in the crowd with people who feel the same way when they listen to your favorite artist is almost unifying.” With the varying differences and intense influence that music has given our generation, it’s no wonder that 62% of students polled claimed music influences their social circle as well.

The ability to listen to new undiscovered music has resulted in statistics recording that teens rotate between listening to an average of seven genres a week. After asking teens what they prefer listening to, the answer was repetitively homogenous: “anything but country.” But what is included under the vast umbrella termed ‘anything?’ With students reporting that they consume music from all corners of the internet including YouTube, iTunes, Soundcloud, Pandora, Spotify, and more, Venice High teens’ immeasurable outlets provide an equally innumerable amount of varied underground genres. Sophomore, Brett Welsh enlightened me on one of his favorite genres “drill rap” which he defined as, “Chicago based music with intense beats like on Chief Keefs’ tracks.” After eagerly offering a wireless apple earpod which was already vibrating from the ‘intense beats’ he previously mentioned, I realized this experience of shared new music– while similar to experiences our parents probably had via cassette or record- was truly unique to our generation as we have music on demand.

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The “On Demand” Generation