A Musical Hierarchy


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Humans have an ancient tradition of connecting with beats and rhythms as we feel something utterly beautiful well up inside. The sound of those beats has changed over time, but there remains a reaction to music that calls up tears, laughter or an overwhelming urge to shout out the lyrics at full voice while strangers observe in amused confusion and irritation from across the street.

Our musical-guilty pleasures are often buried deep in our bedrooms where no one can ever find them. We all have them and when no one is looking, we rock out.

Why then, is the playlist for University Prep dances made up almost exclusively of pop music? Dancing is more fun when you know the music and students without pop in their blood are left on the sidelines wondering when their song will come on…

ASB tries to welcome a diverse music ensemble by allowing anyone to add anything to the communal playlist, but there is extensive “coolness” associated with music and music confidence, so no one wants their favorite song to come on only to find the crowd disinterested.

You might argue that pop makes great dance music, and that many people know it which makes it more inclusive than not, but music history is evidence that you can dance to genres other than pop.

There are students who diligently add the music they like to the playlist. Those songs, including “Burning Down the House,” and “Thriller” are still waiting to get played. When you hear them at a UPrep dance, it will mark progress in reducing the musical hierarchy of teenagers. Until then, what’s Rihanna’s latest hit?

By Yoela Zimberoff