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Thread July 28, 2012 editorial: comments

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1 July 28, 2012 editorial: comments

Dear Fellow Audiofanziners!

http://www.nashvillescene.com/binary/ebd0/1343318504-i-love-pop-music-copy.pngI stumbled upon a very popular news item today (over 2000 tweets and 17K Facebook shares) the subject of which is Pop music too loud and all sounds the same: official.  Apparently scientists in Spain found that pop songs have become increasingly louder and blander in terms of chord progression, melodies and rhythm.  Judging from the popularity of this news item, I take it that people are either shocked and appalled by this finding or finally have official proof to their discontent with the current state of music writing (not the music industry for a change).  While it is true that recordings have become louder, as we previously discussed in ‘loudness wars’ and overly compressed music, what about the claim that all pop music sounds the same?

I have a little bit of a problem with this claim, not because I think it is untrue, but because – so what?  Pop music has a certain template in order to qualify as pop music: short, radio friendly, 4-4 timing, familiar pleasing chord progressions and song structure, melodies you can sing along to.  Otherwise it is no longer pop music is it?  If you hear a song lacking that certain dynamic, be it a bridge or a stop or vocals half a step higher, you feel uneasy and bored.  Are too many pop songs using a G chord followed by a D?  And then what happens when pop artists get a little experimental with their songs?  Record sales drop and in concerts you start to shuffle your feet waiting for ‘that new song’ to end in favor of that good old pop song, familiar and comfortable like an old pair of shoes.

In short, the finding is not shocking.  What can we do about it?  We can try to be a little more creative in our pop song writing, but not too much, otherwise, it is no longer pop, but a different genre altogether.


Good,let's get back to having some decent tunes on the radio again...
Almost everything has a context.

The truth is that the nature of Pop Music is a direct reflection of what we have become as a consumer market. It has become "louder and blander in terms of chord progression, melodies and rhythm" because we have become that way. Pop Culture is more 'Two-Dimensional' than it was in 'Prior iterations of The Matrix'.

For instance, a music producer might say "Well, I'm from the old school and I like the music back in the day". Yet, if that same producer gets a request from an artist or record label to do a "Katy Perry sounding" record, the necessity and expediency of his or her financial circumstances will more than likely draw that producer right in, ready for work !

We are the quintessential "Quick Fix" generation and we can't help it ! We lose interest quickly, want more and more and are hyper-critical of what we would define as 'sub-par' at any given moment. Our modern sense of music reflects this sort of hyperbolic mindset.

Pop music does EXACTLY what it is designed to do: Reflect the mindset and desires of the generation that supports it. If some find modern Pop Music "louder and blander in terms of chord progression, melodies and rhythm" in a way that displeases them, the problem is not the music. The problem is that the listeners perspective has been type cast. They have become idiosyncratic.