spotify illustration

Photo Illustration by Rosemary Montalvo

It’s common to see classmates with earbuds on their way to class, doing homework, working out or just taking a break, but do you ever wonder what everyone is listening to?

Social media platforms, such as TikTok and Instagram, make it easy for an underground artist or song to go viral; that’s how second-year marketing student Natalie Anguiano discovered one of her favorite artists.

“I was listening to ‘Hotel’ by Montell Fish,” said Anguiano. “It actually came out today, it’s been really popular on TikTok, and I’ve been waiting for it to come out.” 

Spotify is also a powerful tool for discovering new music and artists. Spotify generates its recommendations based on a user’s most played songs, saved songs or albums, genre preferences and demographics, which are then split into multiple playlists for users to discover. 

Levi Tamashiro, a fourth-year graphic design major, finds new music through Spotify’s curated suggestions. “I was listening to ‘damn, look at the view!’ by Martin Luke Brown,” said Tamashiro. “It was something I just found out about and was suggested by Spotify. I mostly liked the lyrics, and that’s why I added it."

‘damn, look at the view!’ reminds Tamashiro about growing up and recognizing the importance of stopping, taking in your surroundings and enjoying the moment. As college students, life can get hectic and move fast. Sometimes we need music to remind ourselves to take a breather. 

Every Noise at Once is an online resource that keeps track of what people listen to on Spotify based on data like location and genre. The website sorts data collected into a list, where anyone can view the top songs, genres and artists for a specific area or even college campuses. It also curates the most popular music into a specialized playlist for anyone to listen to when visiting the website. 

Cal State Fullerton has a diverse music genre selection, everything from EDM, rap, R&B to pop, according to Every Noise at Once.

One interesting genre listed on the website was indie music. Indie music is classified as music that derives from independent artists or labels with a do-it-yourself attitude. Santos Hernandez, a second-year biochemistry major, says he loves listening to independent artists, such as Vestron Vulture. 

“This artist is an underground artist. I don’t think anyone knows about him; he’s very foreign,” said Hernandez. “I found him in a punk show in Irvine. It was a free show.”

Hernandez said he loves discovering artists, such as Vestron Vulture, because it’s refreshing and something you don’t hear daily on the radio, like the song “Fernanda.” 

“If you listen to the song, there’s really not that many lyrics, so I make up my own,'' Hernandez said. “It has a great beat, it has a beautiful bass, it has a wonderful drumset, and I like his voice.”

Music is a great way to express yourself, escape reality for a moment or just to help start the day. Jade Braun, a third-year animation major, listens to the song “Knights of Cydonia” by Muse all the time.

“If I’m in a mood where I just need to zone out, I’ll just play it on loop, for like hours,” said Braun.

Engy Herzalla, a fourth-year public health major, said music is a way to express herself and relive memories from the past. One of her favorite songs is “2002” by Anne-Marie.

Herzella said this song reminds her of simpler times in high school and the naivety of young love.

Other artists similar to Anne-Marie that CSUF students are listening to are The Weeknd, Harry Styles, Doja Cat and Megan Thee Stallion, according to Every Noise at Once.

Whether it’s an underground or mainstream artist, music connects with students in powerful ways and helps bring meaning to mundane days on campus. 

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