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OPINION: What musical artists will stand the test of time?

KentWired Illustration by Gabrielle Lutz

We’ve seen it before. An incredibly famous musician or band that, back in the day, were all anyone would talk about. But as time went on, their relevance in the modern music world began to die out.

The first two that come to my mind are Aerosmith and Bruce Springsteen, but there are tons more of modern artists I can think of, including Katy Perry, Avril Lavigne and Joji. Both Aerosmith and Springsteen were incredibly influential during their time, but neither one remained as relevant as they were when music began to evolve. Sure, Aerosmith has their music played on the radio sometimes, like “Dream On,” “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” and “Sweet Emotion,” but these are some of their most popular songs. I want you to think of an Aerosmith song you heard played anywhere recently, other than the ones I just named, because I can’t. 

Bruce Springsteen is even worse. He was incredibly famous back in the ‘70s and ‘80s. Go ahead and tell me the last time you’ve heard any of his songs played anywhere. Nothing coming to mind? Me neither. 

However, there’s also a large number of musicians and bands that have in fact stayed relevant. I’m talking about artists like The Beatles, Michael Jackson, Queen, Elton John, etc. These are all people that were known for being pioneers of music.   

No hate to any of those musical artists who are more irrelevant than the rest. I was graced by God with my diverse music tastes and I happen to enjoy a lot of them, but it’s clear they just completely lost their relevance after all these years. Which makes me wonder, what musical artists are going to be the lucky ones and not suffer the same fate as so many before them? The ones that I think will get a “Beatles treatment,” if you will. Which ones won’t stand the test of time and be greeted with a fate similar to Bruce Springsteen? My predictions are as follows:

Let’s start with the obvious ones. Taylor Swift is clearly a goddess in the music industry, as her recent “Eras Tour” proved tenfold. She’s a multi-million dollar singer-songwriter with enough fans to sell out entire football stadiums around the world. She was the no. 1 most streamed musical artist on Spotify just last year, with 26 billion streams worldwide. Taylor won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. 

Rising pop star Reneé Rapp has truly proven herself these last couple months with the release of her debut album, “Snow Angel,” and her starring in the movie-musical adaptation of “Mean Girls” as Regina George. Her album has become incredibly renowned, and she was also the musical guest on a recent episode of “SNL.” I can see a very bright future for the young singer-songwriter that will truly stand the test of time.

Harry Styles has made a big name for himself after his boy band, One Direction, split, and I think he will continue to do so. His most recent album, “Harry’s House,” was an extremely huge success and so was his tour that followed. Much like Taylor Swift, it sold out numerous stadiums. After the tour, however, he decided to take a hiatus. Hopefully he comes back soon, because when he does, it will continue to push him further into relevance once again.

Now this one’s actually a bit of a wild card, but I think that pop-rap artist Lil Nas X will be huge for the future of his genre. He truly changed the game when he came out as a gay man back in 2019, then later with his debut album, “MONTERO.” He’s recently been releasing very promising singles that will hopefully be included in his next album. 

Australian pop star Troye Sivan recently released his third studio album, “Something to Give Each Other.” As the second openly gay singer on this list, he inspired an entire generation of queer people with his talent and storytelling skills, making him another contender for a survivor of father time.

It’s no surprise that Olivia Rodrigo has been an incredibly huge name in the music industry these last few years, and with the success of her newest album, “GUTS,” I think she will continue to make boys feel like teenage girls and make teenage girls sob for years to come.

Hozier gained immense popularity after the release of his song, “Take Me to Church,” but has also done incredibly well with every new release he comes up with, making him another sure contender. 

Phoebe Bridgers has recently announced that her side project, Boygenius, with Lucy Dacus and Julien Baker, will be coming to close, meaning that she will have more time to make more heart-wrenchingly beautiful songs. This will hopefully keep her afloat when time starts ticking again. 

As I bring this list to a close, I’d like to name a few musical artists that I think won’t stand against the test of time.    

Lana Del Rey has always taken the world by storm with each of her releases and will always have a cult following, no matter what happens to her. But with the recent announcement of her new upcoming album “Lasso” being a country album and with her last two releases being less enjoyable, I worry that she may not survive the race to stay relevant within the next 10+ years. 

Last year, Miley Cyrus dropped her newest album, “Endless Summer Vacation.” The album did not strike a lot of chords with its general audience, which Cyrus has been struggling to do for the last decade. With that, I feel that she won’t last much longer in the relevancy lottery, especially in this day in age. 

I’m sure I could go on and on about musical artists that I think will or won’t stand the test of time, but we don’t have time for that. Music is an important part of our way of life, and whether or not an artist stays relevant is up to them. We’ll see how this plays out eventually.

Nick Keller is an opinion writer. Contact him at [email protected].

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    Dot KensingerFeb 7, 2024 at 9:45 pm

    Great article, Nick!!! Enjoyed reading it!!
    Dot K.