For youth marketers, staying musically relevant means being ahead of the curve. You don’t have to ask why it’s important to know the hot music of today – just ask GAP, Apple, or Volkswagen. With so many new musical acts and albums coming out all the time, it’s hard to keep track of what’s popular with Gen Y. For those of you who don’t have the time to search out new tunes, I am here to help. If you are a youth marketer, put these on your iPod today.
Muse – “Resistance.” This English band, evocative of Radiohead and Queen, has been huge overseas for years but is finally gaining popularity in the States. “Resistance” is the title track from the group’s latest album, and in my opinion, it would be a good follow-up to the stellar first single, “Uprising.”
Little Boots – “New in Town.” Another English import, Little Boots is an electronic-pop artist whose dance hits could make her the Britney or Gaga of indie dance-pop. This particular song is already a Top 20 hit in the UK and could be big stateside if it gets the airplay. (It was also featured in the recent horror movie “Jennifer’s Body,” but that likely won’t give it much of a boost since no one actually saw the movie.)
Jay-Z – “Empire State of Mind.” By far the most mainstream of my picks, I know this song is huge after closing out the show at this year’s VMAs, but I’m still digging Hova’s homage to his hometown. Plus, with fellow New Yorker Alicia Keys as a duet partner, it seems like only a matter of time before we start hearing it in NYC tourism ads.
Miike Snow – “Animal.” I don’t know much about this band except that, yes, I spelled that correctly, and they are from Sweden. And Sweden rocks right? …Hello? All kidding aside, I can’t get enough of this infectious indie pop tune. Listen, and just try not to bounce along: I dare you. We haven’t had this much fun since Ace of Base redid “Cruel Summer” in 1998. Kidding!
Avett Brothers – “I and Love and You.” Made up of brothers Scott and Seth Avett, this folk rock band released its newest (sixth studio but first major-label) album on September 29, and it is already hitting the Top 20 on the Billboard album charts. Though their sound has been described as a fusion of punk and bluegrass, this title single off their album is a lovely piano ballad that might even inspire Steve Perry.
Bowerbirds – “Northern Lights.” Like the previous entry, this particular song comes from another folk rock band. The group is from North Carolina and is still pretty unknown, but their latest album is reminiscent of one of my favorites of 2007, Bon Iver’s For Emma, Forever Ago. “Northern Lights” is a college radio-friendly song, but the rest of the album Upper Air is worth checking out as well.
Metric – “Twilight Galaxy.” This song, though much more down-tempo than the other singles, has become one of my favorites off the latest album of this Canadian indie rock band. (Check out the singles “Help I’m Alive” and “Gimme Sympathy” if you aren’t familiar. They are both stand-out tracks.) Singer Emily Haines, who has also been a member of the band Broken Social Scene, has a voice with a breathy, ethereal quality to it that really smolders in this track.
Gossip – “Heavy Cross.” Speaking of unique voices, Gossip lead singer Beth Ditto definitely has a distinctive voice and persona. While this might be a little too Dolly Parton for some of you, it has really grown on me after a few listens of this first single. This band already has a cult following but may see more mainstream popularity now that mega-producer Rick Rubin worked on the latest (and first major-label) album. The new material is clearly more produced than the group’s previous work, and while longtime Gossip fans might not agree, I think it works in their favor in this particular dance rock single.