In the ever-evolving landscape of aesthetic trends, the year 2024 is witnessing a resurgence of the indie sleaze aesthetic. This movement that once had the 2000s in a chokehold, characterized by its bold, unapologetic maximalism, stands in stark contrast to the minimalistic, “clean girl” aesthetics that dominated last year. After the idolization of figures Matilda Djerf, Hailey Bieber and Sofia Richie Grainge, have we finally gotten sick of slick back buns and pastel colors in favor of vibrancy and self expression? This shift has been most recently seen in the rising popularity of indie sleaze, as well as the broader rise in maximalist trends, pushed by the cultural impact of artists like Zach Bryan and movies such as Emerald Fennell’s “Saltburn.”
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If someone doubts the cultural impact of Spotify — a digital music-streaming platform — they need only to open Instagram on Nov. 29 and witness the endless story posts featuring Spotify Wrapped. Packaged in bright designs and fun fonts, Spotify Wrapped is an annual feature provided by Spotify that summarizes a user’s listening habits and preferences over the past year — including a user’s top songs and artists, total listening time and personalized playlists.
In an age where our screens hum with constant activity and our ears crave moments of tranquility, a peculiar trend has emerged, painting the digital landscape with shades of white, brown and pink noises. These noises are meant for concentration, stress reduction and sleep enhancement, respectively. These subtle sonic hues, once confined to scientific realms and sleep therapists’ recommendations, have found a new stage — one that pulsates with the rhythm of TikTok challenges, YouTube loops and Spotify playlists.
While there has always been a variety of vocal styles present within pop, each generation has a defining vocal style. If there is a singing style that uniquely defines this current generation of pop stars, it would be the ethereal whisper singing style that has gained traction over the past 10 years.
Horror movies have long been a defining staple in Hollywood, spiking audiences’ adrenaline and fueling the nightmares of the masses for generations. Once filmmakers realized that they could attract audiences through the promise of a good scare, the horror genre has constantly been innovating and attempting to reinvent itself to maintain its cultural and psychological relevance.
A few weeks ago, I finally made the commitment that most moviegoers had made months before me: I sat down to watch “Oppenheimer” in theaters. When the credits rolled, I was mesmerized. Its stunning visuals and masterful storytelling transfixed me at every turn. Despite this, I couldn’t say that the movie’s quality surprised me. Nearly everyone I knew had seen it by the time I did and had given it equally effusive praise.
Popular music has long embraced brevity, and many artists are now focusing on short, attention-grabbing snippets that captivate listeners in hopes of virality. The top charts have recently favored shorter, radio-friendly songs, typically lasting around three to four minutes. This bias initially became prevalent because in the past, shorter songs catered to ad requirements of radio DJs, which in turn led to greater chart success. However, even as the relevance of radio has faded and radio DJ limitations have disappeared, songs have still become increasingly shorter.
Reneé Rapp’s new album “Snow Angel,” released Aug. 18, marks yet another Broadway artist moving into the pop genre. While this phenomenon may seem like a recent trend, with the notable examples of Sutton Foster, Ben Platt and Olivia Rodrigo, the intersection between Broadway and pop has been common throughout music history. Pop artists often perform on Broadway, and musical theater performers frequently produce albums and become touring artists.
Music festivals seem to have become one answer to our generation’s short attention span and extravagant desire for live music. After a brief hiatus during the quiet times of the pandemic, music festivals are larger, more elaborate and more popular than ever before. These multi-day events cram hundreds of artists and thousands of attendees into an all-consuming escapist experience. The impermanence of the music festival signifies how millennials and Gen Z-ers value experiences over material purchases.
It is no longer enough to love your favorite artists; you now must put blood, sweat and tears into getting tickets to concerts if you want to see them live. Beyond the actual effort of obtaining tickets, prices have skyrocketed as fan’s demands from live music have become extraordinary. Gone are the days of casually attending concerts; instead, getting in has become a battle. While this is not a new issue, the scale of concerts and expectations of fans have escalated in the past few decades, making an already limited market increasingly competitive and expensive.
In the past decade, income inequality has become a hot topic of discussion amongst the general population, as the richest ten percent of the world’s population now owns 76% of the wealth, according to the 2022 World Inequality Report. Coinciding with the rise of social media and influencers on platforms like Instagram and TikTok, along with the sustained prevalence of reality shows, people have constant access to content that shoves opulent wealth in their faces. Now more than ever before, there is a general awareness and conversation surrounding the morality of extreme wealth. Filmmakers and television creators have capitalized on this.
Many of us have sat on the beer-infused floor of a fraternity, wondering how matted our pants will be when we stand up. Speakers blare in our ears as even louder cheers from the crowd overtake the sound of the music. As more people squeeze their way in, others bang at the windows hoping to at least watch from outside. Juxtaposed with this sticky, overheated chaos is a spectacle of art and dance just inches away from our faces. Dance at Dartmouth is an experience that can bring students together at 10 p.m. on a random weekday — it is a hallmark of performing arts at the College and a symbol of community.
Music is birthed from creativity, as artists capture a specific sound and build off of an aesthetic and style to keep listeners engaged. Genuine skill is required to be a successful artist; pure creativity and passion are not good enough on their own. A true test of an artist’s skill occurs when musicians try to venture across genres. Unfortunately for the hip-hop and rap community, rappers’ attempts at creating rock albums has revealed a lack of cross-genre skill in many musicians.
“From this day forward, I will always be Oscar-nominated Ke Huy Quan!”
There is a certain kind of sadness when you watch the finale of your favorite show and know that the storyline of a beloved character is coming to an end. It is what makes us crave more — why we rewatch the same shows on repeat, explore fanfiction and obsess over the actors in real life. Most notably, this desire for more is the prime reason that spin-offs have such a powerful audience.
Social media’s obsession with microtrends has created a revolving door of popular aesthetics — “e-girl” became “cottage-core” which evolved to “dark academia” and has recently transformed into “ballet-core.” A scroll through TikTok in the last few months reveals the increasing popularity of the television show “Fleabag,” books from Sally Rooney and music from Phoebe Bridgers. Although not explicitly named, all of these aspects and obsessions point to a larger trend: the revival of the aesthetic of being a sad teenage girl.
Over the last decade, interest in going to movie theaters has been decreasing as a direct effect of the growing popularity of major streaming services, such as Netflix and Amazon Prime. This reduces the number of people who go to movie theaters to see the latest films and damages the industry irrevocably. It’s important to ask: Does this show how technology is killing the traditional industries of society — or rather, does it have beneficial, innovative impacts on accessibility?
Andrew Dominik’s biopic on Marilyn Monroe, “Blonde,” quickly soared to the top of Netflix’s movie chart after premiering on Sept. 8. The film makes one fact clear: 60 years after her death, Marilyn Monroe’s image is still desirable and profitable. Pop artist Andy Warhol’s portrait of the iconic American actress sold for $195 million just this year. At the 2022 Met Gala, Kim Kardashian donned a glimmering dress worn by Monroe when she serenaded President John F. Kennedy in 1962; the dress sold in 2016 for almost five million dollars.
Helmed by “American Horror Story” creator Ryan Murphy, “Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story,” released Sept. 2022, is far from the first form of entertainment centered around serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. From movies like “Dahmer” (2002) and “My Friend Dahmer” (2017) to documentaries like “The Jeffrey Dahmer Files” (2012), there has certainly been no shortage of content surrounding the “Milwaukee Monster” for the public to consume. In fact, Netflix is releasing yet another true crime series about Jeffery Dahmer, titled “Conversations with a Killer: The Jeffrey Dahmer Tapes,” on Oct. 7.
Jennette McCurdy’s memoir “I’m Glad My Mom Died,” released on Aug. 9, has made its way onto the bestseller table in bookstores — complete with a pink and yellow cover and a photo of the former “iCarly” star smiling with a pink urn. While the memoir’s title may present as a mere shock tactic, the title points to a fundamental truth: The death of her mother, Debra McCurdy, brought Jennette McCurdy peace. In writing the book, she said she has achieved a catharsis possible only in the absence of her mother, who disapproved of all her creative pursuits. With her mother dead, McCurdy is finally free to admit: “I absolutely prefer writing to acting. Through writing, I feel power for maybe the first time in my life.”