goth girl in pink room. Music notes surround her. There are poorly photoshopped disco balls, an iPod, "i

photo by Luke Young

Taking a pulse on Plymouth State’s music taste

Liv Pierog




Plymouth State is known for its skaters, skiers & boarders, mountains, and a historically chill northeastern social scene. In such an environment, art, music, and creative endeavors are central to how people experience life in every aspect! In a recent survey completed by a small group of Plymouth State undergrads, 94.1% said that they considered music to be a large or meaningful part of their lives; while 88.2% considered art to be a large or meaningful part of their lives.

As one might expect from our rural, mountain setting, PSU students are more likely to be indie/folk fans than any other genre; alternative rock and pop tied for second, followed by classic rock, rap/alt-rap, hip hop, and R&B. Top musician choices included Noah Kahan, who speaks directly for young adults like us, drinking living in the deep northeast. Taylor Swift was another predictably common pick considering her success on the Eras Tour this summer, with many Panthers in attendance across the country but especially in foxy Foxboro, MA at Gillette Stadium. Swift’s opening act, Phoebe Bridgers, and boygenius were also popular among PSU’s growing indie/folk/bisexual community. New albums like Zach Bryan’s “Zach Bryan” & Olivia Rodrigo’s “GUTS” also got multiple mentions, with both records having been dropped in the first 2.5 weeks residential students have been on campus.

It was really interesting and fun listening to all the music I had never heard before that students recommended through the survey, as well as classics so strong it confirms the longevity of this musical snapshot in time. Artists gracing this pretentious category of cool people music include A Tribe Called Quest, Kendrick Lamar, Johnny Cash, The Eagles, Pink Floyd, Grateful Dead, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Hank Williams, Fleetwood Mac, Tame Impala, Simon & Garfunkel, Tom Petty, The Smashing Pumpkins, Steely Dan, Creedence Clearwater Revival (NOT the racist stuff), and of course a little Zeppelin. Although many people included submissions of more popular or mainstream titles, there was an overwhelmingly large quantity of music by some old and new, less well-known artists like Mother Mother, Basement, Medium Build, Lucky Chops, Modest Mouse, Rainbow Kitten Surprise, Mom Jeans, Good Kid, Tyler Childers, Slaughter Beach, Dog, Elliott Smith, American Football, Bad Religion, tinylittlehouse, JID, and $uicideboy$.

All this music seems to have been discovered by Plymouth Students in a multitude of ways, the most prominent of which being extremely wholesome. 76.5% of responses claimed that having cool friends to show them music was the way to go. Remember, if you ever feel useless on AUX, you are the algorithm finding your friends hot, new music. The next most popular way of finding music was the actual algorithm of Spotify/streaming services and autoplay. I personally love Spotify’s new playlist preview feature they’re rolling out that allows you to hear snippets of songs in the playlist, which is great for, you know, making your own mega playlists and whatnot. Social Media was the next most popular mode of discovery. Anyone who is as pretentious about music as most PSU students will cringe to hear their favorite niche song on Tik-Tok, but love it or hate it, social media platforms just like Tik-Tok help musical ideas spread and gain traction for artists. Even if the algorithms are skewed to keep the popular up top, I personally thank Tik-Tok for blowing up one of my all-time favorite songs, “Need 2” by Pinegrove, because although it was nightmare fuel at the beginning I have since made friends and bonded with people over mutual love for that song EVEN THOUGH they found the song at a different place on their phone than I did. Crazy.

Spotify did reign supreme by a landslide when it came to where PSU students actually listen to their music, 76.5% of responses listing the streaming service as their primary way to jam. YouTube followed at 35.3%, and in a surprising turn of events Apple Music was only listed on 11.8% of responses, less than physical music libraries including but not limited to vinyl, tapes, and CDs. 17% said that live music was a primary way of listening. It seems like listeners at Plymouth are split when it comes to the importance of music being live. 13.3% of respondents claimed to have NEVER been to a concert, while 37.5% claimed to have not gone to a concert in the last year. Only 35.3% have seen their favorite artist perform live, none claimed to have seen their favorite artist more than once.

Only ONE response thought that Plymouth students generally had a common music taste. They were pretty much right, because of course everyone has their own specific taste, much like a fingerprint that can’t exactly be repeated, but ultimately Plymouth peeps are into a lot of sad music. Maybe my next article will be proving my hypothesis that sad songs make mountain winters feel less cold. We love our indie, folk, alternative rock, and rap, and we’re all influenced by the Deadheads who never left the Pemi Valley for some reason. And we can all agree (based on survey responses) that unfortunately, the song that best describes Plymouth State’s vibe to us is “The Spins” by Mac Miller, or maybe it’s just that we’ve heard it every weekend evening since arriving on campus, regardless of what year you started.

In closing, here are some of my favorite submissions, that were added to the comprehensive playlist but also deserve a spot here.

“American Jesus” – Bad Religion

“1985” – Bowling for Soup

“Painkiller” – Rainbow Kitten Surprise

“Mimi’s Delivery Service” – Good Kid

“American Teenager” – Ethel Cain

“the perfect pair” – beabadoobee

“Dear Arkansas Daughter” – Lady Lamb

“Memories” – Lucky Chops