Throwback songs keep poppin’ at Prom

Mykah Weldon, News Editor

New music is released all the time. Despite this fact, the majority of the 2023 prom song requests from Rolla High School students date back to the late 90s and the 2010s. This could simply be because of the beat, the meaning, or just the feeling when you listen to a song that your parents introduced to you. Despite this fact, most of the chatter after a school dance will consist of one prominent phrase: “The music was trash!”

So, in the spirit of prom and the many controversies around the soundtrack, I will be analyzing some of the most requested songs. First off, we have “This Is How We Do It” by Montell Jordan and Wino. This song was released in 1995, and topped the Billboard Top 100 on April 15 of the same year. In addition to this achievement, it also secured the number one spot on the R&B singles chart for 7 weeks in a row and gave Jordan a Grammy Nomination for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance. This song is very simple: it has a consistent, upbeat rhythm, with repetitive piano chords and a repeating verse structure, which makes it easy to step or bop your head to.

Next off, we have “Yeah!” by Usher, which was released six years after “This Is How We Do It.” In 2004,“Yeah!” topped the Billboard Hot 100 for five consecutive weeks, and even now, the song is placed at number 17 for the Greatest of All Time Billboard Top 100 songs. This song has the signature crunk sound. “Crunk” refers to a type of hip-hop music that has repeated shouted phrases and electronic musical elements. Deep within the production elements, you may be able to hear the sound of a bell, and a counter melody created by a whistle. This relatively busy song (in terms of production), is perfect for breakdancing or to just move side-to-side, because we all know high schoolers don’t actually dance.

The last song I have for today’s line up is “Bang Bang” by Jessie J, Ariana Grande, and Nicki Minaj. This pop song was released in 2014, and ranked number 3 on the Billboard hot 100 in the same year. Now, this song has some considerable differences in comparison to the two previously mentioned. “Bang Bang” doesn’t use chords. Instead, there is a heavy use of one shots, which are single hits of a note or a drum. Also, the production for this song is very minimalistic, but it still has a very full sound.

Now that a background story has been given for each of these tracks, the important question of “Why do high school students prefer music from this time period?” has to be answered. Junior Chloe Brown brings up the importance of nostalgia.

“It feels nostalgic to us, and it’s more enjoyable to us, because it’s songs that we grew up listening to,” said Brown.

However, Senior Kaileanna Headrick has a different approach to this question.

“I think that this whole new generation [of music], all the songs sound the same, and I feel like in the 2000s and the 2010s, it was all clubbing music, and they were all really different…All the songs today kind of all have the same feel about them,” stated Headrick.

To summarize my findings, most high school students like to be reminded of their past memories while vibing to the soundtrack of an older time, with the catchy rhythms, and the sometimes questionable lyrics, while others simply enjoy the gossip that comes with a “bad soundtrack.”