Generation Z, or Centennials, the age group born between 1997 and 2012, has a peculiar taste in music that sets them apart from other generations. According to a recent report by Spotify, this generation is more inclined towards sad music, a trend that has led the streaming giant to curate a special playlist named “Bummer Summer.”
Gen Z’s Affinity for Sad Melodies
Spotify’s data reveals a fascinating insight: “sad” is the most searched term by Gen Z users on the platform, worldwide. This contrasts sharply with Generation Y or Millennials, where this term ranks only thirteenth. This has led to the creation of the “Bummer Summer” playlist, featuring melancholic tracks by renowned artists like Lana Del Rey, Billie Eilish, Frank Ocean, and more.
Krista Scozzari, Spotify’s director of marketing for North America, observes something unique about the centennials. She notes, “They embrace their feelings so much. They’re really flipping the stigma of vulnerability. Gen Z has brought a raw, authentic new reality to expressing their emotions, and we’re seeing that in how they listen. We wanted to celebrate this powerful thing they’re doing.”
Bummer Summer: A Playlist for the Soul
Spotify sad music playlist “Bummer Summer” is not just a collection of 50 sad songs. It includes music by Phoebe Bridgers, Big Thief, Olivia Rodrigo, Arctic Monkeys, Zach Bryan, Coldplay, Lewis Capaldi, and Radiohead, among others. It’s a blend of thoughtful and soul-filling tracks that resonate with Generation Z’s complex emotional landscape.
Spotify has even installed a “fountain of tears” in Texas, inspired by musician “d4dv” (David Burke), known for some of Gen Z’s favorite sad songs. This installation symbolizes the connection between the artist’s innermost feelings and the listeners who share those emotions.
Melancholic Music: A Sign of Sadness or a Path to Healing?
The rise in searches for sad music among Gen Z coincides with concerns about the mental well-being of younger individuals. Reports from the US Centers for Disease Control highlight a significant deterioration in the mental health of high school students between 2011 and 2021.
However, Spotify’s team emphasizes that listening to sad music doesn’t necessarily indicate a lack of well-being. Younger listeners seek songs that help them “normalize their feelings and humanity.”
Dr. Michael Bonshor, an expert in musical psychology, supports this view. He explains that “sad music can help us to release, express, channel, or purge our emotions. It often has slower speeds, which slows down our breathing and heart rate when we listen so that we feel more relaxed and tranquil.”
Gen Z’s fascination with sad music is not a mere whim or a sign of collective despair. It’s a complex interplay of emotions, self-expression, and a quest for authenticity. Spotify’s Bummer Summer playlist is more than a marketing gimmick; it’s a celebration of a generation’s powerful connection with music.