The Not-So Secret World of Bedroom Pop

Growing increasingly popular among teens and young adults who love thrifting vintage, photography, and swearing up and down that they’re so unique, "bedroom pop" is a niche genre of indie music that comes with its own aesthetic. Although it’s frowned upon and should actually be called Lo-fi, the name "bedroom pop" is more descriptive of where the genre’s music is made and where people usually listen to it.Bedroom pop consists of artists like Clairo, Omar Apollo, Michael Seyer (proud alum of my high school btw!), and Banes World (on the cover photo), just to name a few. Although they each have their distinct sounds, all of them project that same “I just made this song by myself” feel. Each song is rather under-produced, as if they’d just come up with a tune and arranged everything through GarageBand (which isn’t unlikely). Even though bedroom pop isn’t known for its fancy quality production, it still connects to its growing population of young listeners because it feels dreamy and personal. Artists in this genre are being raw, not only with their use of usually one instrument over a beat, but also in their lyrics and song titles. For example, Clairo’s “2 Hold U” describes an infatuation over a crush, recalling that familiar heartache we sometimes experience when we just want to be with that person already, asking, “Is it a crime that I’m just tryin’ to hold you?” There are countless nights where I’ve just wanted to lay down by myself and listen to music in dim lighting. It’s these kinds of honest songs I always end up listening to in those moments.GIF note: This is Clairo, btw :) 

I’m glad there are more and more people who enjoy this kind of music, but I also think it’s breeding a pretentious generation. Over winter break, I was lucky enough to finally go to a Banes World concert at the Observatory in Santa Ana. The concert was amazing as Banes World’s performance was top-notch, but within seconds of arriving at the venue I concluded that the audience was definitely not my kind of crowd. They weren’t rowdy or rude, but most of these young teens definitely projected an “I’m cooler than you” vibe to anyone who obviously didn’t fit the aesthetic.

The unspoken “cool” aesthetic goes hand-in-hand with listening to bedroom pop. Religiously thrifting is a personality trait held in high esteem above all else. In second place comes being interested in photography (whether you take it or effortlessly model for it), and skateboarding gets an honorable mention. They’re basically just too effortlessly cool and artsy for their own good, straying away from mainstream trends as much as possible, just like the music. What I’ve observed is that listeners who fully embody this aesthetic are becoming this paradox of a bunch of people saying and thinking they’re so different from the masses, yet they’re all collectively the same. This aspect can be beneficial as it cultivates and encourages individual creativity, but it’s also important to remember that the whole point of creativity is being unique. Liking one genre of music doesn’t have to define your entire line of interests. 

GIF note: I hope you can sense the irony in this gif.

Bedroom pop is different, and its artists and listeners are different, so they can relate to each other. That’s what makes it so appealing. They’re successful in being appealing because they’re all proud to be distinct in a relaxed, not-trying-too-hard kind of way, unapologetically liking what they like. Just like all other genres of music, it brings together people with the same interests and love for art. At times, however, this niche may be sending the wrong message that it’s this exclusive club, which goes against the beauty of what makes them, and each individual in general, so extraordinary.

If you want to check out this genre and the artists I’ve mentioned in this article, Spotify has a cool seven-hour playlist just for you! Enjoy!