By Camila De La Cruz
(Image from “Lofi Girl”, formally “Chilled Cow” Youtube Channel)
Lofi music has been increasing in popularity over the years, particularly online. For those who haven’t heard of Lofi before, Lofi or Low Fidelity (opposite of High Fidelity) music has a strong influence on hip-hop and is described as slowed “chill beats'' which listeners often use for relaxing and studying. Lofi music often includes low-quality sounds (hence its name) of familiar sounds such as the sound of a phone ringing or a person speaking adding a small aesthetic retro feel. There are endless playlists and live streams on Youtube and Spotify with an infinite stream of these “chill beats” to check out, including the infamous “lofi hip-hop radio - beats to relax/study to” with the girl and image above.
Sound interesting? Here are a few tracks to check out.
First Date by Frad ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AVK0BIVqLLc&t=5s )
Arguably one of Lofi most popular tracks, and for good reason! “First Date” seems to be cursed with a magical power of healing and relaxing. Its catchy and simple melody is great for taking your mind away from a stressful situation. A definite must for anyone interested in Lofi.
2. They Say by Dante ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nExTZxA1WYc )
One with a bit more vocals “They say” is such a beautiful underrated masterpiece. From the hip-hop at the start to the soothing saxophone and piano, this song provides a very comforting feeling. And the way this song combines all of this into one song is absolutely amazing. One thing for sure, this song stands out from the rest of Lofi.
3. Cold Youth - nearby ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=shljxa0b-Mg&t=86s )
Literally the cutest song on this list. “Cold Youth” has an adorable upbeat tune to it, and it will definitely lift up your mood no matter what day you’ve been having (plus, the visuals in this “music video” just adds to how cute this song can be)
4. Within and Without by tomcbumpz ft paniyolo https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ro-kUezp2sc
One word: enchanting. The smooth guitar and the small but familiar sounds such as car keys create such a beautiful experience, one I would highly recommend.
5. Scootaloo - Jobii
I’m like 90% sure that most of you have heard this during a youtube video or at a cafe. This song has become very popular on social media, but many don’t know the title or the artist. “Scootaloo” is a great song to use as “background music” whether it be for video editing or just as background music for cleaning your room or any other chore you have.
As Lofi continues its promising career on Youtube, it has also started creeping in on social media platform TikTok. Songs such as “Sofia” by Clario have some Lofi elements and has likely appeared more than once on your TikTok or Instagram Reels feed. Lofi instrumentals have been popping up again in chart-topping songs as well, as Lofi continues to make a name for itself in the music industry.
Lofi is great for studying, relaxing and vibing. Listening to a Lofi playlist while studying can help you focus, so perhaps look up a Lofi playlist on Youtube or Spotify for a study session. After all, a soft playlist in the background will get rid of any nerves of upcoming exams or of any unsettling thoughts. And as someone who tends to get very nervous around exam periods, I can confirm that lofi DOES get you in a better mood to study.
And not only is the music really good and beneficial, but the Lofi community are also one of the most welcoming and friendly communities on the internet. Diving into the world of Lofi, you’ll also get to know so many kind people from the talented “bedroom artists”, artist who may not have as many resources as big agencies, but still put so much care into their music who creates such an amazing online community. Lofi has also become very popular among the anime and studying community, so if you’re into anime or mangas, I would highly recommend checking out the Lofi community. But if not, Lofi has increasingly been used as part of a “soft” or “soft girl” aesthetic so using any of the Lofi songs above in an Instragam, TikTok, Pinterest or any other social media platform can give that extra pop to your posts.
If you ask me, I think that Lofi music has gained its popularity not because of its catchy beats or its aesthetics associated with it, although you could say that both of the above has played a significant role in Lofi’s popularity. Lofi has become the sub-genre that many young people needed. Its music that relaxes the listener, puts their mind at ease and provides an escape from the business of everyday life. With its familiar sounds low-quality sounds and its ordinary “bedroom artist” that produces a relatable and familiar sound that provides a small comfort zone for its listeners. Music that creates a community in a time where that itself is a challenge.
So what’s stopping you? Grab some headphones and jam out to a Lofi playlist or live stream when studying, before going to sleep, on the bus or train, wherever.
(Image from https://dribbble.com/tags/branding_lofi_hiphop, of artist working on their music)