15 Different Types of Songs Everyone Should Listen To
The beauty of music is that there’s something for everyone. There’s always a type of song for you, no matter what mood, style, or theme you prefer.
And because I believe that exploring new music can be so vast, here are 15 different types of songs so you can narrow down your research a bit.
Pop is one of the most popular music genres within the younger generations, but it’s still often loved among older generations too.
Pop songs are all about uplifting rhythms and catchy melodies. The lyrics used in pop music are usually not that hard to understand and remember, making pop songs easy to sing along to.
Some of the most notable pop songs across history include Thriller by Michael Jackson, Baby One More Time by Britney Spears, Shape Of You by Ed Sheeran, and Rolling in the Deep by Adele.
Classical music is one of the oldest types of music in existence, dating back to as early as the 5th century.
Simple diatonic harmony, contrasting moods, and balanced melodies are a few of the features of classical music. This genre is also characterized by homophonic texture and a focus on elegance.
Some of the most inspiring works of classical music include Mozart’s Eine kleine Nachtmusik, Puccini’s O mio babbino caro, Felix Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 4, and Beethoven’s Für Elise.
3. Hip-Hop and Rap
Hip-hop or rap music has distinctive rhythmic beats that are more defined on the bass line. The vocals are the star of the show here. Rappers sing at a fast tempo and deviate from the beat by a good margin.
Sometimes, a rap song is created to attack another person or group of people with words. Such a song is called “diss track”.
Some of the most popular hip-hop and rap songs are Nuthin’ But a ‘G’ Thang by Dr. Dre & Snoop Dogg, C.R.E.A.M by Wu-Tang Clan, The Real Slim Shady by Eminem, and La-Di-Da-Di by Doug E. Fresh & Slick Rick.
4. EDM (Electronic Dance Music)
The term “EDM” is incredibly expansive. It may refer to mainstream EDM music or other electronic sub-genres like house, techno, and trance. EDM or Electronic Dance Music is mostly played in clubs. Its repetitive and uplifting beat makes it easy to dance to.
This type of song is characterized by a four-beat measure kick or bass drum, followed by a bass drop or “the downbeat”. Some notable pieces of EDM music include Lean On by Major Lazer & DJ Snake, Where Are Ü Now by Jack Ü. & Justin Bieber, Wake Me Up by Avicii, and Don’t You Worry Child by Swedish House Mafia & John Martin.
Country music originated in the countryside of the United States back in the 1920s. It combines the cowboy music of the west with the folk music of the southeast. The genre is usually played on classical instruments, particularly those with strings.
Country songs are characterized by simple lyrics and melancholy ballads, with themes that revolve around hard life, loneliness, and love.
The Bones by Maren Morris, Die From A Broken Heart by Maddie & Tae, I Hope You’re Happy Now by Carly Pearce & Lee Brice, and The Legend of John Henry’s Hammer by Johnny Cash are a few of the most memorable songs from this genre.
Metal music is a subgenre of rock music with roots that date back to the 1960s. Similar to rock, metal music is characterized by heavy sounds and the domination of electric and bass guitars.
However, metal music has a faster tempo than classic rock and is generally more aggressive, with deeper sounds and higher distortions. Heavy metal songs also use dark themes that revolve around war, death, fear, and sadness.
Some noteworthy metal songs include Master of Puppets by Metallica, Iron Man by Black Sabbath, Angel of Death by Slayer, and The Trooper by Iron Maiden.
Gospel music is one of the few music genres that are tied up to a particular religion, which is Christianity in this case. One prominent feature that makes gospel music what it is the overpowering Christian vocals. It also incorporates complex rhythms, harmony, and distinctive call and response patterns.
Gospel music is played for religious, spiritual, and aesthetic reasons. Some of the most popular gospel songs are Sam Cooke’s Peace in the Valley, Marian Anderson’s Move On Up A Little Higher, and Aretha Franklin’s There Is A Fountain Filled With Blood.
Folk is a term used to describe traditional music originating from a specific region among local people in non-professional settings. It’s closely tied to geography, and people who sing their own folk music take great pride in it. However, since folk music varies greatly across cultures, there’s no specific way to describe how it sounds.
Folk songs are often about national identity, patriotism, and culture. Desolation Row by Bob Dylan, Love Is Our Cross To Bear by John Gorka, and Gentle Arms of Eden by Dave Carter are a few examples of folk songs.
Jazz music is defined by syncopated rhythms, polyphonic ensemble playing, bent notes, improvisation, unique voices, and pitch and timbre distortions. It originated among the African-American people in the United States during the 19th-20th century.
It’s widely believed that listening to jazz music has a relaxing effect and can affect your brain positively. Some of the best jazz hits of all time include Louis Armstrong’s What A Wonderful World, Dave Brubeck’s Take Five, and Miles Davis’ So What.
Ballads are songs that tell a story one way or another. They typically have a slow tempo and are full of emotions. This type of song isn’t tied to a particular genre; a ballad can be a pop, rock, or hip-hop song.
Certain ballads may contain heavy sounds, and they’d be called “power” ballads in that case. Some examples of ballad songs include November Rain by Guns N Roses, One by Metallica, Still Loving You by Scorpions, and Total Eclipse of the Heart by Bonnie Tyler.
Blues is an emotion-driven music genre that’s dominated by flattened notes. It’s considered a form of folk music that emphasizes call and response patterns, dissonant harmonies, and syncopation. Blues music has a microtonal nature and usually includes chants, shouts, spirituals, and field hollers.
Some notable blues songs include Texas Flood by Stevie Ray Vaughan, I’m Torn Down by Freddy King, and Hound Dog by Big Mama Thornton.
Funk is a form of dance music that gained significance in the mid-1960s. It’s powered by hard drum beats and bass lines. And while funk music is nowhere as popular as it once was, the genre still has its fans.
More Bounce to the Ounce by Zapp, Super Freak by Rick James, and Pick Up The Pieces by Average White Band are among the most well-known funk songs.
Some of the elements that define reggae music include amplified bass guitar riffs and bold drum beats. It’s basically a blend of soul music with ska.
The genre has been linked to a religious movement that calls for the worship of Haile Selassie, the former Emperor of Ethiopia.
The genre has pretty much gone extinct in the past few years when it comes to the number of artists that sing it. But it still has a solid fanbase in Jamaica, its homeland. Reggae also inspires many of the top-rated songs from other genres.
Some popular reggae songs include Pressure Drop by Toots And The Maytals, I Can See Clearly Now by Johnny Nash, and Switch Up by Proteje and Koffee.
14. Ambient Music
Unlike many other types of songs, ambient music songs focus on creating ambiance with aural textures. They don’t have a regular structure that integrates steady rhythms and formal melodies. Instead, it’s all about setting the right atmosphere and tone.
Some of the most popular ambient music songs include Steve Reich’s Music For 18 Musicians, Ulf Lohmann’s Java, and Brian Eno’s Always Returning.
15. World Music
World music is a generic term used to describe traditional music or effectively any music originating outside of the primary genres of music originating within North America and Europe.
The term “world music” comes with a lot of issues where it categorizes most non-Western music into an outcast group which is unlikely to get any major popularity or commercial success (read more about this in my article about world music).
The term was initially meant to classify music songs for marketing purposes, but it evolved into a category of its own. World music encompasses a wide variety of music styles and genres that include indigenous, quasi-traditional, and folk music. Songs within this category are mostly written in languages other than English.
Some examples of world music include Enya’s Orinoco Flow, Libera’s Salve Me, and Caroline LaVelle’s Erotica.
Those were the different types of songs that popped up throughout the history of music, but remember, categorizing music can be subjective. For example, a single song could be classified as a multi-genre piece, and some types of songs are even universal among all genres.
Nevertheless, this list should give you a pretty good idea of what you can listen to next. Enjoy your music!