This article first appeared on KCPR.org. Mustang Media Group is a student-run organization that encompasses Mustang News and KCPR. They collaborate to cover news, arts and culture for Cal Poly and the greater San Luis Obispo community.
Everyone loves the anticipation of waiting for their favorite artists to drop new music. However, with repeated lockdowns and COVID-19 quarantine regulations, it seems as though many people are finding comfort in regressing back to their middle school and high school listening habits.
I have always been the type of person to stay up to date on new music and trends, but being a college student stuck at home in my childhood bedroom during the “prime of my life” has made it clear that the boy bands and emo music were never just a phase.
Just scrolling through social media, it’s obvious that I’m not the only one who feels like they’re becoming their teenage self again. From the resurgence of One Direction fan accounts to nostalgic “we’re going back to 2014” TikTok’s, people in their twenties seem to be finding solace in what “used to be.”
Political science junior Rachel Rosenzeig explained that she has had her playlists from 2014 on repeat since about a month into quarantine.
“Being able to look back at my old playlists and listen to them without judgement is really fun. I know before quarantine, if I was listening to my older music, it seemed like I was just behind on what was popular,” Rosenzwieg said. “At least now, I know all my friends are doing the same.”
This pattern of falling back into old listening habits seems to be a large trend amongst college students in the midst of all the chaos in the world. Communications junior Carly Peeters has experienced the same regression to her teenage music taste.
“I listen to a mix of country, pop and rap usually; but recently I’ve been going back and listening to a lot of 3OH!3 and just throwbacks,” said Peeters.
For me personally, being stuck in quarantine has given me the chance to listen to music I used to love without feeling judged for it. From Black Veil Brides to 5 Seconds of Summer, I’ve found comfort in knowing that I can reminisce on these artists during such a different phase in my life, but still feel connected to them in quarantine.
Rosenzweig said that while she still listens to new music releases, there is something comforting about being able to listen to music that she associates with a less stressful time in her life.
“I’ve been listening to a lot of Cage the Elephant again. I don’t know, I guess, it’s just because I have so much time to daydream and think about how much simpler life was when I was a freshman in high school,” said Rosenzweig.
Similarly to Rosenzweig, I have found myself listening to artists and albums that remind me of simpler times. While some of the songs I choose are considered cringey or basic, I have learned to accept that no matter how embarrassing the music in my library may be, it’s what I like. That’s all that should matter when listening to music.
Being able to shamelessly listen to artists that I would normally hide from people has boosted my confidence and encouraged me to just listen to what makes me happy.