Opinion: The Next Progression of Music


Jackson Card

Music is always growing. It is always progressing. Every artist takes a little from their predecessors and adds their own sonic imprint. Yet, why does it seem like the progression has stopped? So many times, I’ll discover a new band whose music is groundbreaking to me. Then, months later, I’ll discover that another band had already broke the ground 30 years prior.

Now of course there are exceptions. There are current musicians doing things that have never been done before. But still, it seems like an overwhelming majority of artists are just trying to replicate what has been done in the past. Some make minor improvements, others fail in their attempt. All leave us questioning, what is the next progression of music?

The Rock Revolution

Popular music has gone through a major overhaul in the last century. Rock’n’roll entered the mainstream and now almost all of popular music is influenced by it. From there, numerous subgenres emerged. Musicians started playing songs shorter or longer, faster or slower, and messed around with all preconceived notions of pop music. Punk, heavy metal, techno, hip hop, all come into existence within a relatively short amount of time. But since the 90’s there hasn’t really been another genre that has emerged on to the scene to completely change the game. So, what happened? Have we heard it all? Are we out of new ideas?

Is This Just Fantasy?

Before I answer that I want to talk about a song that all of you know and love, Bohemian Rhapsody. Bohemian Rhapsody was first released in 1975. It had immediate success, but then entered the charts again 16 years later. Almost 50 years after the initial release, the song is still beloved by everyone. I believe this song is so revered due to its transcendent use of genre. It is not just rock, show tunes, or opera. It is some sort of beautiful combination of these genres and more. It stands alone as a work, existing in a timeless utopia.

Music of the Future

Technology has changed the world a lot in the last 50 years. For one, we have access to more music than ever. There are so many different styles of music and subgenres. How can one be original when it seems like everything has already been done?

But having exposure to more music is not a bad thing. It allows songwriters to break away from clichés. To gain influence from diverse styles. And in this internet age, it’s not enough to confine yourself to one genre. More and more musicians are bending the lines of once strictly defined genres. Combining genres that seemingly don’t go together. And the ones who do it well, are emerging as the most influential artists of the era.

Much of progressive music today has an absurdist quality. The world is getting bigger and crazier and music is going with it. There are people like Lil Nas X who are mashing genres together, and albums like 1000 Gecs by 100 Gecs and Igor by Tyler the Creator that are moving into the genre-less realm. The music of the future recognizes the diversity, complexity and absurdity of the world and places itself within the mess. So perhaps the next progression of music is not the creation of a new genre, but the elimination of genre altogether.


K-Ute Radio/University of Utah do not own any of the images featured