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What's wrong with pop music?


Benjamin Briggs
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My problem with pop music is that everything sounds the same these days. Aside from some unique sounds from Justin Timberlake's latest release, I'm not feeling any vibe from other people. It's the same case with R&B.

Man...the old days of George Michael and Micheal Jackson were the best.

Eh, you just have to wait until the 50 foot tall Robo-Michael gets let loose in Nevada. You think I'm joking, don't you?

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I'd say the worst part of the whole counter-culture thing is not the rejection of popular music just because it's popular, but the acceptance of "indy" music just because it's indy. Look at Modest Mouse. Near as I can tell, there's nobody on the planet who actually likes modest mouse, but everybody pretends to so they can say they listen to indy music. The funny part is, I don't think modest mouse even qualifies as being "underground" anymore, since everybody and their mother has heard of them.

Honestly I have to agree with you, even when I was doing the whole indie/emo scene (thank goodness I'm out of that) I can't say I ever actually liked Modest Mouse. Yes, I listened to them too. From my experience, all emos I knew were fakes (myself included) because we either just wanted attention, had a lot of 'pain' we just kinda made up to make other people pity us, or wanted a girl who liked the indie/emo boys. Yes, there are real people with real pain out there; but a good deal of the emo heartache (regardless of how 'indie' it is or not) is easily as fabricated as mainstream pop; I'd say there are plenty of fake indie/emo bands on myspace who are only indie/emo because of the image it supplies and the instant fanbase it seems to give. In that respect it seems that the image of an indie/emo band is just as important as the image of a pop artist/band.

Personally, I think you've got the right mindset, I think people hating pop music stems from the whole idea of liking an indie band because they're indie. 75% of the people I've met and gotten to know who are die-hard indie fans haven't actually listened to other forms of music, mostly because they're so closed-minded due to their indie=best regardless of quality mindset. Whether or not you agree with me, this has been what I've encountered.

While some people (don't remember who) can argue that there is no true indie genre, but what about the so-called 'indie' record labels?

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Saying pop music "sucks" is just an immature way of showing your tastes are not considered "normal"

I dislike most of what's popular. But it does not "suck" simply because it is popular. Counterculture just for the sake of being counterculture is idiocy.

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joining the counter culture is in fact joining the culture cause the counter culture fad is starting to reign over the "culture"

that makes perfect sense if you try to think about what i just said except maybe if it would help if i added punctuation but common thats too much work

Kind of reminds me of the changing eras of literature. Sans the "emo" and stuff, though.

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joining the counter culture is in fact joining the culture cause the counter culture fad is starting to reign over the "culture"

that makes perfect sense if you try to think about what i just said except maybe if it would help if i added punctuation but common thats too much work

That was actually a joke in Mafalda

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2. music as art, with whatever definition of art as your objective standard. If you think everything is art, see 1. Most definitions of arts consist of attempting to portray an idea and to communicate something that can only be communicated through that medium. There is no reason why pop music cannot approach this level, although it may be hindered by trying to reach a broad audience. I don't see how Bach and Beethoven were any different in this regard (outside of being more talented), since, just as Kelly Clarksen follows the arbitrary rules of today's culture, classical dudes were similarly constrained. Probably even more so.

I was actually going to argue that, but you beat me to it, so...

Just thinking about it, does "pop" actually qualify as a valid classification of music? Generally, you classify music by artistic style, not by popularity, so that very notion sounds flawed.

Yeah, and this was going to be my next question. How do you really "define" pop music? I'd like to say it is a different means of classifying music since it doesn't seem to be constrained by genre, in my mind at least. So, then, is pop just whatever is perceived to be more popular to the general public/whatever is making the most money at the time?

The problem with the internet and democratization of the process is that while you have 50x more music, the majority of it is crappy, and it makes it harder for people that are actually good to push through. In fact, this encourages the record label mentality - that you need to spend exorbitant amounts of money on marketing/promo/airplay to get noticed.

That's a good point as well, and to an extent highlights a problem I've been having at the local level.

I know Seattle has some great music from different genres to offer, but it's hard to sort the shit from decent from the great. Unlike many internet music sites, I don't know of any way to find ratings on local music, and if my time weren't so valuable as it is now I guess I wouldn't mind risking going to more shitty shows for the hope of finding some good ones. The best local band (and easily among my top 10 ever) I've heard was Maktub (very genre-mixing, though generally classified as somewhere between rock and r&B), and the only reason I heard of them was because they played at the UW on my first or second day of school here (the UW likes to have several festivities going on the first week of Autumn quarter every year, I guess to welcome in-coming students). Anyway, I guess for local music, it's just best to ask friends/coworkers from the area what they recommend, though I haven't gotten around to doing that either :-P. [/rant]

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to be my next question. How do you really "define" pop music? I'd like to say it is a different means of classifying music since it doesn't seem to be constrained by genre, in my mind at least. So, then, is pop just whatever is perceived to be more popular to the general public/whatever is making the most money at the time?

i would say that there is a distinct pop genre, although it isn't really that broad. for example Toxic.. i would call it distinctly pop. it's not r&b or rock or anything.. it's just pop.

i don't think the definition of pop as anything that's popular works, since there's plenty of rock or rap or r&b that are really popular. tupac was really popular back in the day.. but you wouldn't call that pop

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what's worse is when kids actually stop listening to a band (or at least stop letting on that they like them) when they get a big break or air time

a good example would be say anything and their single "wow, I can get sexual too"

this band rocks, and they've amassed a pretty huge following in their rise from indie to popular on myspace... anyway, they recently got the video for their single played on mtv's trl, and legions of their so-called fans immediately began whining because trl is for preppy kids who don't listen to real music

I totally agree with you one-hundred percent. That form of reaction is very annoying. Fans of music that boisterously proclaim that they are indeed "music fans" (of any particular genre) are often so inclined to define themselves with the aforementioned tag... "music fan." When they say "something sucks" it is more of a proclamation of an image they're trying to preserve and uphold rather than an actual thought-out and logical musical critique. Sure they may legitimately dislike that style of music, but I would imagine that what they dislike is a matter of cultural conditioning rather than individualistic expression. Disliking the genre or group/band has become a way of expressing one's self.

It's kinda silly really because it's not really expressing yourself. I believe people behave that way because they're insecure with their own image. If I listen to some corporate media pop station on the radio and hear a song I like I'm going to listen to it, same with independent music that I find on the net.

It's all an image thing, and an attempt to fit in... usually.

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