Lo-fi music

(Marian Chin / Daily Titan)

The fuzz and crackling of lo-fi music created by ingenious artists has transformed the music industry’s soundscape.  

Lo-fi music leaves listeners in a dreamlike state that is beneficial for the mind and soul. Strikingly, lo-fi music’s eccentric beats and soothing chords could prove useful to college students that may feel anxiety-ridden or stressed. 

The term lo-fi is derived from “low fidelity,” a musical term that describes the audibility of blemishes in a recording or performance with features of background noise and  performance mistakes. Lo-fi’s novelty subtly evokes nostalgia in listeners and utilizes imperfections to create an original style, which may include drum loops, jazz chords, vinyl crackle and samples. Lo-fi tracks also incorporate vocal samples drawn from anime. At hip-hop’s prime, lo-fi wasn’t considered a genre but eventually evolved into a subgenre, thanks to influential artists like J Dilla and Nujabes. 

These artists contributed significantly to the subgenre and are now considered its godfathers. J Dilla, a well-known hip-hop beatmaker, perfected minimalism with enticing beats using an MPC 3000, a device used to store and sequence samples, ensuring a long-lasting legacy. Similarly, Nujabes, a Tokyo-born DJ, made his mark blending jazz with his production techniques to create hip-hop beats. This led to a mixture of contemporary and old-style music that the music industry had been unfamiliar with.

Lo-fi listeners turn to lesser-known artists who often produce music from home, resulting in a homey element to their style that listeners don’t mind melting into.

The chill aesthetic of lo-fi music attracts listeners, causing them to keep replaying the addicting beats. Students put it on as background music to maintain concentration and enhance reading comprehension and writing. It's a rare type of music, with no lyrics in most songs and a relaxing tempo that keeps them engaged. 

The growth of lo-fi in the music industry presents the opportunity for listeners to uplift their mood when necessary. Slow music releases serotonin, a neurotransmitter that acts as a mood stabilizer, hence its alternative name of  “happy hormone.” Lo-fi music also is known to increase dopamine, leading to an elevated mood. It also limits cortisol, a stress hormone, which results in a reduction of anxiety.   

Undoubtedly, the lo-fi genre has erupted due to the ability to livestream and share music online with millions of people.

Lofi Girl, formerly ChilledCow, and Chillhop Music are iconic YouTube accounts that serve as sources for online lo-fi music, with millions of subscribers. These accounts are proof that there is a craving for a simplistic form of music that can calm college students’ racing minds. 

Studying, relaxing or daydreaming to lo-fi can prove beneficial to college students’ mental state. Lo-fi music’s unique style is worth investing time into nourishing the soul. 

Exploring and adding lo-fi music to one’s playlist would create a relaxing and embracing ambiance for college students. The music industry is ever-changing — there’s no reason our playlists shouldn’t be as well.

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