What is music’s upcoming breakthrough? Every musician and Nigerian music fan has asked themselves this question at some point. The solution is never straightforward and is always accompanied with uncertainty. It’s impossible to foresee, which is the most typical response, is probably accurate but also a bit of a cop out. We will thus refute this theory for the sake of this paper. We frequently hear that a brand-new, unestablished genre will be the next big thing in music; it’s almost as if music will take a future turn under the control of robots. Although it’s uncommon, originality has occasionally been found in music, but it’s typically unintentional or influenced by something that already exists. We have developed our own idea after giving it a great deal of thought. Music follows a cycle! Music frequently experiences recurring trends, just like the economy, the weather, and even fashion. This approach therefore raises a query for us. What genre will be the next to return? In this post, we’ll examine the development of popular music over time and use trends to anticipate where the genre is likely to go.

Let’s go back in time to the 1930s, when radio usage first started to catch on. For those who are unaware, the period from 1930 to 1950 is frequently referred to as the “Golden Age” of radio. We’ll try to keep it short because most of you undoubtedly find reading about the 1930s to be boring. Just consider the fact that music wasn’t nationalised before the 1930s because radios weren’t a common household item. In order to avoid overwhelming you with unnecessary details, we’ll keep this section brief and give you one last takeaway: by 1935, “Swing” had completely taken over the music world, and it continued to do so well into World War II and the early 1940s. By the late 1940s, “Big Band” had gained popularity and infringed on “Swings'” territory. With all of this in mind, we have come to the conclusion that popular music in the middle of the 1930s and 1940s lacked a distinctive identity because radio was still in its infancy.

Up until the 1950s, music was locked in a relatively grey phase. As you are all aware, the 1950s saw the birth of rock and roll. We can all agree that this movement was a significant one in the history of music. Numerous legends were made famous by rock & roll, including Jimmy Hendricks, Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, and The Rolling Stones, to name a few. Many of the musicians who are regarded as the creators of rock & roll were also affected by the 1920s Blues and 1930s Country music, contrary to popular belief. Rock & Roll’s explosive growth allowed it to continue as the dominant music well into the 1970s. A genre rarely remains popular for 30 years, but the beginning of Rock is the exception.

After 30 years of Rock and Roll, it seems that America needed a break and chose to usher in the 1980s “Hair Band” era. I’ll grant that the 1980s are a bit difficult to generalise, but I think most people will agree that the 80s music landscape was dominated by rap, electronic pop music, and hair metal. Many people found the typically upbeat music of the 1980s to be a welcome change from the heavier rock of the 1960s and 1970s. Party music ruled the 1980s and is still played at most frat events, karaoke establishments, and even on some retro radio stations.

Let’s go on to the 1990s now. The 1990s are often referred to as the grunge era. This new genre was brought to our country by bands like Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Stone Temple Pilots, and Alice in Chains. Although grunge was a relatively new genre, it would be naive to assume that 60s and 70s rock wasn’t a major influence. Tell me Eddie Vedder didn’t own a Doors record after listening to Jim Morrison just once. Therefore, the reason Rock and Roll took a 10-year break before returning is a mystery. Perhaps listeners were craving something happier after listening to the depressing music of late 1970s rock. People began to long for the now-vintage sounds of Rock & Roll again after just ten years of popular ballads, rap, and pop music. Similar to how fashion trends change over time, if something is regarded cool again, it doesn’t take long for the general public to reintroduce it.

The majority of us lived through the 2000s and have seen Pop & Rap once again rule the radio. So what might have happened in this case? People may have grown weary of alternative music’s heavy grunge sound in the early 2000s and preferred a more joyful vibe. At this moment, 80s music could be viewed as antique, which allowed pop to flourish once more.

That brings us, AT LAST, to the present and the question of where music is going. Since pop has dominated radio for the past 12 years, we anticipate something more depressing to finally become popular. The first thing that comes to mind is that alternative rock will eventually come back. The Foo Fighters’ album Wasting Light, which topped the charts in 2011, has already shown hints of this. Could this signal the beginning of the return of grunge? It might just be a band with a vast fan base selling a lot of albums as expected, or it might be the first evidence supporting our theory. Whether you like the Foo Fighters or not, grunge hasn’t been in style for approximately 12 years now, which supports our “vintage” hypothesis. To be clear, our vintage theory postulates that a once-popular trend reappears as cool after disappearing for as little as ten years, creating a fresh demand for the trend. Our second and final thinking is that perhaps, twenty years from now, we’ll look back and see that the Singer/Songwriter genre satisfied people’s need for upbeat music. This would disprove our Alternative/Grunge idea but lend credence to our notion of cyclical music, according to which people then yearned for the darker music of earlier decades. Additionally, given that singer/songwriter music is already popular, I suppose our hypothesis will prove to be true. What a lame excuse… Perhaps we should run for office.