I feel like I need to indemnify that I have nothing against the platform itself, I myself scroll through reels occasionally, that being said, the “occasions” on which I scroll through reels are few and far between. Why is it then, that even somebody who maybe spends 20 minutes a week watching reels finds herself listening to the same songs as if on a constant loop? Is it because those are the only songs ever made that are worthy of being danced to or added as background filler to a bunch of pictures for 15 to 30 seconds? Or is it because the people using the platform have gone from thinking of original content to replaying the same music over and over again to get with the trends and increase their views because certain audios work?
The problem is not that some people want to dance to a song for 30 seconds and post it online, the problem is that EVERYBODY wants to dance to the same song for the same 30 seconds.
There are some songs that have become ever so popular on Reels over the past few months that had been lost to time previously or were hidden with the generation that witnessed the height of the song. Songs like ‘Can’t Help Falling in Love’ by Elvis Presley is one such example (although I really don’t understand why 10-year old’s are using this. What do you mean love? Go to your room?). I am not denying that this is the best way to introduce younger audiences to beautiful songs like that (Well, maybe not the best, but certainly the most effective), However, it is not only about the next generation and about carrying the legacy of the musician forward. While reels are doing, is a great job of that, it is also forcing itself onto everybody so much that those who grew up listening to these songs fall out of love with them. These songs lose the effect they once had in the bargain because lovers of the original are sick of it and kids who are accepting it actually know only a 30 second, possibly remixed, version of it.
In the same spectrum, there are songs that were very underrated, found their worth on reels, and are now so overplayed that they are now referred to as that song from reels or its counterpart, TikTok…people post lyrical videos of these songs on YouTube with the words “Tik-Tok Version” in the title and it is sad that that is the only way they will be remembered. ‘Snowman’ by Sia, ‘Driver’s License’ by Olivia Rodrigo, and ‘You broke me first’ by Tate McRae are examples of songs that I personally think are great but can’t get myself to listen to because I will always picture a hissy teenager lip-syncing it using the face tracking filter (I know I sound like an old woman. I’m ok with that).
While the first two categories upset me, there is one category of music that reels have shoved down my throat that I almost take offense to. There are the songs that I don’t like one bit but then the words that are spread across the screen are interesting or there is an animal there somewhere, so I stick around anyway, like ‘I am’ by Yung Baby Tate, ‘Mood’ by 24kGolden and ‘Bajre Da Sitta’ by Neha Bhasin are songs that used annoy me but I listen to for the video and am now completely repulsed by.
These are still tolerable. What is not tolerable is that songs that I grew up listening, that define my childhood are being reduced to Reels. ‘Down’ by Jay Sean, ‘Sexy Back’ and ‘Mirrors’ by Justin Timberlake, ‘Mr. Saxobeat’ by Alexandria Stan, ‘My boo’ by Usher, ‘Dangerous’ by Kardinal Offishall, among others have now played around me more times in the past month than they have ever since I first heard them which is simply unacceptable. Some of them have already been overplayed enough times for me to no longer listen to them and I can’t let go of any more of them.
All the songs that I have mentioned in this article have caught my attention, irrespective of whether it is in a good way or bad way, they have. I know every single word to the parts of these songs that Reels has played 10,000 times but was, honestly, a little disturbing to me was that barring a few, I didn’t even know the names to most of them until I googled them for this article. Which again flies into the face of the argument that it is introducing more people to songs because it really isn’t. If I were to sing to you “So there you go”, I’m sure most people who watch Reels would be able to finish the lyrics, but how many would be able to tell me the name of the song? (It’s ‘WITHOUT YOU’ by The Kid LAROI in case anybody wanted to know)
Reels are fun, I’m not going to fight it. They are fun and can help you kill a lot of time and for some people, a platform to showcase their talent which nobody is against; but it is draining music of some great songs that will forever be associated to cute puppies, babies and teenagers who want to dance their face off for half a minute. And that is what I am against. If Reels is borrowing music, we have to make sure that that is all it’s doing, borrowing. Let it not become a parasite.
Music loving 19-year-old grandma.