Lo-Fi: A melodic remedy for the soul | Sunday Observer

Lo-Fi: A melodic remedy for the soul

21 February, 2021

Over time, just as culture evolves, so does music and what we, as people take away from it. Thanks to a horrifying pandemic on top of the already difficult monotony of everyday life, a strange mix of lethargy and anxiety has weighed heavily on many people over the past year. Despite, or perhaps even because of this crisis, a certain style of music flourished as it offered exactly the right remedy for this new situation that millions across the globe were suddenly trapped in.

Chillhop, better known as Lo-fi hip hop, is less a genre and more an aesthetic of music that intentionally incorporates technical flaws like background noise, distortion, or limited frequency responses to create a feeling of ‘low fidelity’, i.e., lo-fi. The kind of experience this creates is unique in that it is simultaneously relaxing and therapeutic while keeping the mind active and engaged, all the while never once being distracting. The real power in lo-f i is in its consistency, this incredible effect being near universal among all lo-fi tracks which is why continuous streams of it are so popular.


Even before the pandemic, this style of music was incredibly popular among students of all ages, a demographic notorious for the difficulty they find in concentrating.As opposed to most mainstream music, lo-fi can serve as background music that keeps people productive while also being entertaining; an invaluable resource for those who get bored easily. Now, that a lot of the world is under quarantine, those who find it difficult to work from their homes without getting distracted can resort to lo-fi to keep up productivity while toning down the monotony.

Now that more and more people are looking to the internet as their primary source for music and entertainment, video and audio streaming services have exploded in popularity. This is especially so with YouTube and Spotify, where lo-fi thrives the most. As lo-fi is best when consumed in a continuous stream, YouTube has many dedicated channels with long livestreams of lo-fi catering to many specific circumstances.

The most popular of which is ChilledCow’s ‘lofi hip hop radio -beats to relax/study to’, a 24/7 endless stream that consistently holds viewerships upwards of twenty thousand, the channel itself amassing over seven million subscribers. This specific stream has been ongoing for over a year now, constantly updating its playlist and attracting a community which credit the stream for helping them through many a troubled time. In addition to their ‘relax/study to’ stream, ChilledCow has had many other streams for other purposes amassing similar view counts, such as the ‘beats to sleep/chill to’ stream.

Since ChilledCow’s success on YouTube, many more have exposed the web at large to the incredible effect of lo-fi and its subsequent acceptance into the public consciousness can only be a great thing. In addition providing an unlimited entertaining productivity booster, usually free, these endless streams also helps lesser known artists looking for some exposure find their audience.