What do we know by pop music? Popular music has changed over time, as all things there are trends, and people’s common interest change. One day Liszt is known by everyone and loved by everyone and the other few people know him while they listen to Bruno Mars and Kanye West.
First of all, there is actually some differences between pop music and popular music. Popular music is not a considered a genre, pop music is. Popular music just refers to music that appeals to a large audience, and it’s been like that for a long time, usually referring to folk and traditional music, but it is a more general idea. Pop music on the other hand was considered a genre around the 50s in the US and the UK. While some of the idea draws from being popular music, it also includes a few characteristics that have made the genre what it is today.
Pop music is not known because of its long progressive songs, they usually move around a 3 minutes time, due to the fact that these type of songs have to be catchy and upbeat. There is usually an emphasis on the chorus which makes the rest of the song a build up or a moment to rest from the chorus, but what really sticks around are choruses that’s why sometimes they repeat for a big portion of the song.
The other reason is that these genre was tailored to suit the radio, that’s how hits got on to everyone’s head, you can hear the song everywhere and that is the goal, to be heard.
The problem with everything considered pop music, is the fact that sometimes music becomes too much of a product instead of just music. Of course nowadays every finished album becomes a product, the difference is the process behind it.
The metal band Slipknot and Stone Sour’s front man Corey Taylor said:
“It bothers me, because I put so much into everything I do, I put so much into my music – I bleed for it and die for it every god damn night, you know?”
“To watch these people basically let a computer go through the motions and do all the work for them, it’s insulting to everyone out there who has more talent and less attention.”
This is an issue and at the same time one of the things that make pop music feel like pop music. There is a big number of artists which make music that sounds similar, and this sometimes happens due to letting the producer do all the magic to make the music work, and make a good pop song. Now, it’s not bad music, the producers behind this type of music have a lot of experience, but that’s the thing, sometimes we listen to the producer’s work not the artist, and if it’s not the artist it shows on live performances, however nowadays, live performances don’t make hits, recordings make hits.
This is not about underestimating this genre, but it is about remembering the fact that music production is a tool, and sometimes it does more harm than good.
Singing, Dancing, Shining
There is however a part of pop where artists can shine and remind everyone of their talent, people such as Michael Jackson, Madonna, Lady Gaga, they’ve made their names and injected so much personality into a genre that sometimes fail to do so.
The Beatles sometimes fell into this genre, being some of the best composers in music history.
There is a way to be an honest artist in this genre but it’s also easy to get caught up in the “marketing” and “product” side of things due to the nature of the genre which is, captivating a wide audience as a priority.