Music streaming and download sites have enabled us to create unique soundtracks for all of life’s great adventures as well as its most mundane activities. Whether cleaning out an old room or driving cross-country, there’s a killer playlist perfect for cultivating the right mood.
The popularity of shows like Eurovision highlights the intercultural nature of music as an art form. Over 180 million people tuned in to this year’s competition, according to Sky News. Clearly, we rely on music as a form of entertainment and, in the case of Eurovision, representation.
Unsurprisingly, music can even help people improve their well-being. According to Harvard University, the human brain is wired to differentiate music from everyday noise. The right tune can stimulate blood flow, elevate our mood, and nurture memory and other cognitive functions while also easing stress.
Scandipop, containing elements of general pop music and Nordic culture, is a clear example of a regionally unique genre. Contrasted with its heavy metal counterpart, Scandipop is optimistic, drawing on synth and elements of classic rock. Due to its distinctiveness, it’s become a hugely popular subgenre around the world.
Whether diving into ABBA’s heyday or looking into emerging talents like Lilly Ahlberg, Scandipop is great for a variety of moods and tasks, helping to foster concentration, boost the mood, and promote physical activity.
Typically, those looking to boost concentration will put on instrumental or ambient music without lyrics. For example, poker pros who need to put in hours of mental work at the table often spend time building a soundtrack for intellectual activity that fits their personal preferences and needs.
In demanding cases like this, such as when studying, for example, bands like Sigur Rós that deliver on ethereal sounds and classical elements offer stimulating but calming songs. Those looking to concentrate on less challenging tasks can stick to softer artists like Anna of the North, whose minimal lyrics won’t distract.
Scandipop is also ideal for those looking to concentrate while completing chores or running errands. When not boosting cognitive function, music can also provide a (literal) rhythm that activates the left and right brain. In this scenario, lyrics won’t be a hindrance—feel free to blast Fallulah.
Lifting a Bad Mood
Music has been scientifically linked to the release of endorphins, the same chemicals that can help boost the immune system and help with pain management. Endorphins can also help foster feelings of euphoria, minimizing anxious feelings. Scandipop, in particular, lends itself well to lifting a bad mood.
This makes artists like Elliphant and Mø great for curing the blues, whether from an unexpected breakup or losing a favorite piece of jewelry. The same principles apply for everyday scenarios. For example, those who work nightshifts might rely on music from No Mythologies to Follow to help regulate their circadian rhythm. Rising with the sun might not be possible, but listening to sunny tunes can help the body and mind awaken (and wind down after work).
Those listening to Scandipop for the first time might feel it was made for exercise. Not only are songs produced with upbeat tempos and catchy rhythms, but these characteristics span decades. From ABBA’s Dancing Queen to Oh Land’s Son of a Gun, Scandipop provides the perfect tempo to blast through a Pilates exercise or jog a mile.
Typically, ‘athletic’ soundtracks feature rock from bands like Queen and hip-hop artists like Kendrick Lamar, which have higher BPMs associated with exercise. The high-flying vocal ballads and grittier beats can help athletes push themselves to new fitness goals. Scandipop, on the other hand, can help foster a positive attitude that doesn’t always accompany fitness goals.
In other words, Scandipop tracks pair great with workouts—but the genre’s ability to also uplift the mood and aid in concentration makes it a staple for many casual exercisers. In fact, gyms often opt for pop music (Scandipop included) when curating playlists for members. Next time you hit the gym, keep an ear out for major stars like Bjork and Little Dragon.