#1
Hokay, so. I was thinking, about any popular song ever. And then thought, "Hey all of these songs must be essentially "pop" songs. They all meet the same general criteria, when you think about it. They all have memorable intros, good catchy guitar or vocal hooks, and are relatively short with a simpler musical layout.
Just think of any song that was very popular throughout the history of modern music and tell me what you guys have to say.
I only feel like me when I'm behind my ax...
#2
Quote by slayer1979
Hokay, so. I was thinking, about any popular song ever. And then thought, "Hey all of these songs must be essentially "pop" songs. They all meet the same general criteria, when you think about it. They all have memorable intros, good catchy guitar or vocal hooks, and are relatively short with a simpler musical layout.
Just think of any song that was very popular throughout the history of modern music and tell me what you guys have to say.


Pretty much what you said is correct. Pop emphasizes more melody, technique and image, borrow elements from other genres in a basic way, trying to appeal to a general audience. Danceable. Less emphasis on sophisticated musical ideas, short and sweet. I think its more big picture oriented rather than details. Not saying pop is bad though if you can blend some unique harmonies, melodies and ideas and use it as a forefront. Beatles and MJ are great examples. Its impossible to fit music into neat boxes anyways but its a helpful label.
#3
Yes, indeed. But what I was getting at was the idea that almost ALL popular songs throughout history are pop. Think of your favorite songs from your favorite bands. Now, are they or were they ever popular at any point? Now analyze the musical details of it, and tell me that it's not pop.
Like think of some very un-pop bands who had major hits. More often than not those hit songs are very different from the rest of their catalog, right? They tend to be more polished and (key word) ACCESSIBLE!
I only feel like me when I'm behind my ax...
#4
What I'm getting at is that it seems that many artists RELY on the pop formula in order to make a hit song regardless of their genre.
I only feel like me when I'm behind my ax...
#5
All rock music, then, is pretty much pop. It tends to rely on the same elements and instruments. Melody, hooks, riffs, drums, bass, guitar - maybe mix it up a little. Progressive musicians willing to experiment outside of the realm of what we know of culturally as music aren't pop then. Pink Floyd has some pop tunes like Wish you Were Here, but Echoes doesn't get any radio play for obvious reasons - which one is better? Echoes has more depth but is it "better" artistically? So yea, more musically accessible and commercial.

Pop goes the weasel is a tune familiar to most, probably not pop because it's not commercialized.
#6
Technically, "Pop" is short for "Popular", so by definition, any popular song (yes, even some Rock-classics or certain famous Metal-songs) is a Pop-song, even if they don't sound like it.

In short: "Enter Sandman" and "Sweet Child O' Mine" are the same genre as Justin Bieber or One Direction, only done right.
#7
I'm glad other people see it the same way I do. Most people just thought I was crazy when ever I would bring this up. It's funny when you compare an artists popular songs to their catalog of less popular songs. I love the Smashing Pumpkins, for instance, and they are, in reality, largely a pop group. Listen to 1979, then listen to Bodies or Jellybelly. Big contrast, right?
I only feel like me when I'm behind my ax...
#8
Quote by Kasperow
Technically, "Pop" is short for "Popular", so by definition, any popular song (yes, even some Rock-classics or certain famous Metal-songs) is a Pop-song, even if they don't sound like it.

In short: "Enter Sandman" and "Sweet Child O' Mine" are the same genre as Justin Bieber or One Direction, only done right.


Nope.
"Emo" also isn't short for "emotional".
They're both specific genres, anything could be popular and any song could be emotional. You'd have to be a moron to classify your music through those terms.

edit:
Examples-
pop song by an "unpopular" artist
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y6LWvVnYZE0

non-pop song by a billboard 100 artist
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T0-FCmDcb0Q
I'm an asshole.
Last edited by lookpizza at Jul 11, 2013,
#9
Quote by slayer1979
What I'm getting at is that it seems that many artists RELY on the pop formula in order to make a hit song regardless of their genre.


You have to rely on the 'pop formula' for mass consumption/airplay --> $$$
It pays to sell out and if you need some artistic outlets, form a side project.
#10
But think about how songs become catchy. If someone got back from a jazz odyssey show, chances are they couldn't recall a single tune very well afterward. But if they come back from a J-Biebs concert, they'll be like "I totes remember that repetitive three-note hook!" Think about it, pop songs are intentionally written to be easy to sing along to even weeks after you heard the song. Artists know this all too well. Enter Sandman for instance. The Über catchy main riff? It's a five note motif that repeats and recapitulates throughout the song, and not like a baroque fugue. Why not even fugues! Bachs Little Fugue in G minor (BWV 578) v.s. his Fugue the Great (BWV 542[which has a very catchy intro, though]). Tell me which one is catchyer. The first one has a much simpler theme, i.e. less pitches, rhythmically interesting without throwing you off too much, and does not modulate far. Also, think of his Toccata and fugue. One of the most recognisable pieces of music ever written. Simple intro. That seems to be the key, simplicity.
It's funny because Bach really wrote the first sort of "pop" songs. they were written to be accessible to not only the elite, but also to the common man.
I only feel like me when I'm behind my ax...
#11
Quote by slayer1979
But think about how songs become catchy. If someone got back from a jazz odyssey show, chances are they couldn't recall a single tune very well afterward. But if they come back from a J-Biebs concert, they'll be like "I totes remember that repetitive three-note hook!" Think about it, pop songs are intentionally written to be easy to sing along to even weeks after you heard the song. Artists know this all too well. Enter Sandman for instance. The Über catchy main riff? It's a five note motif that repeats and recapitulates throughout the song, and not like a baroque fugue. Why not even fugues! Bachs Little Fugue in G minor (BWV 578) v.s. his Fugue the Great (BWV 542[which has a very catchy intro, though]). Tell me which one is catchyer. The first one has a much simpler theme, i.e. less pitches, rhythmically interesting without throwing you off too much, and does not modulate far. Also, think of his Toccata and fugue. One of the most recognisable pieces of music ever written. Simple intro. That seems to be the key, simplicity.
It's funny because Bach really wrote the first sort of "pop" songs. they were written to be accessible to not only the elite, but also to the common man.


The level of melodic and harmonic depth in just one of the 48 preludes & fugues is much greater than pop. So pop takes melody and harmony but on a much much more superficial level. Pop is about vocals - the Voice - image, and simple hooks. Try listening to the well tempered clavier closely and you will discover something new every time. It takes work but worth it and youd probably like it. That is
a true mastery of form.
#12
pop is short for popular. but vast majority popular music for the past 30 years has just sounded the same. A long time ago pop radio stations used to play a variety of music. Nowdays the popular music industry has become very business-oriented and therefore all the songs are purposely made to sound the same so as to entertain the masses who like stuff that is over-produced, vocal-centric, catchy, and simplistic.

There is a degree of difference in production, but if you play Toxic by Brittany Spears with your classic rock arrangement (guitar bass drum vocal) it just sounds like a normal rock song. Actually a pretty good rock song.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F8XK0AZZlug


@pizza: the first song you posted isn't pop. it's more like ambient rock. And even if it were literally something that sounded exactly like nsync it still wouldn't be pop if it isn't popular. it'd just be rock, possibly with R&B influence. and converge, no matter how popular they've ever been, will never even come close to comparing numbers with bands that are in the top 40.
Listen. I'm sorry.
Last edited by vilk at Jul 12, 2013,
#14
Quote by vilk
pop is short for popular. but vast majority popular music for the past 30 years has just sounded the same. A long time ago pop radio stations used to play a variety of music. Nowdays the popular music industry has become very business-oriented and therefore all the songs are purposely made to sound the same so as to entertain the masses who like stuff that is over-produced, vocal-centric, catchy, and simplistic.

There is a degree of difference in production, but if you play Toxic by Brittany Spears with your classic rock arrangement (guitar bass drum vocal) it just sounds like a normal rock song. Actually a pretty good rock song.

@pizza: the first song you posted isn't pop. it's more like ambient rock. And even if it were literally something that sounded exactly like nsync it still wouldn't be pop if it isn't popular. it'd just be rock, possibly with R&B influence. and converge, no matter how popular they've ever been, will never even come close to comparing numbers with bands that are in the top 40.

Converge has been in the top 40.

POP IS NOT SHORT FOR POPULAR

Sure the name for pop music may have been derived from the word popular, but being "popular" is in no way a defining factor of pop music. The first song I posted is most certainly pop, it's short, catchy, simple, melodic, and repetitive < those are the main specifications of pop.
I'm an asshole.
#15
sweetdude you bring up many good points. Bach is the epitome of musical expression. Whenever I listen to his music i find something out about myself i never knew before. I guess he just had a way with music that really has spoken to us all in a very meaningfull way. But anyways, listen to Beethoven's 5th. EVERYONE knows that one because it's SO simple and easy to sing along to. Same with moonlight sonata. Compare those to his Kreutzer sonata and hear the difference in catchabiity. It seem sa though all great musicians have a way of snaring our ears and attention, which is what pop music directly aims to do. Not all pop music (in fact the vast majority) is any good, but it is simple and catchy.
basically, the point i'm trying to make is that almost all songs that are popular have similar symptoms:
Easy on the ears
Catchy hooks and riffs
relatively accessible composition
Repetitive phrasing
And phrasing that quite literally "pops"
I only feel like me when I'm behind my ax...
#16
I have listened to almost all of Beethoven's output. Listen to the entire Bach WTC and Beethoven's piano sonatas, symphonies, and string quartets. You will be amazed.

Part of Beethoven's genius is his development of a motif. That 5th movement motif is nothing special, but look at how he develops it, inverts it, transforms it... and it flows. He is a like a magician: give me a crappy motif and I will painstakingly work with it and craft it into a work of art that flows.

But yes, pop sells because it is easy on the ears. Sometimes that is a good thing, simple can be better. Other times it's like an annoying tv commercial.