Creativity Discouraged in Today's Popular Music?
I'm not a musical purist or anything like that. I consider myself pretty open-minded when it comes to music and I like stuff from most genres and even some stuff that has been on the radio. The only time I consider music bad is when it is a blatant imitation or completely devoid of creativity on a lyrical, musical, and compositional level... I am not trying to attack anyone or anything. In fact, I WANT to be proven wrong. Please give me some faith in pop culture.
I don't listen to the radio often (I guess this weakens my argument a bit from my lack of radio experience... Oops). The reason is that whenever I turn the radio on, I get bored to death by the new "artists" re-hashing the same tired ideas or just straight up trying to sound like another successful pop artist. I feel like I'm listening to the same songs over and over again.
Here is a list I have compiled out of boredom of the categories that make up most pop radio I have heard (pretty much the last ten years of pop radio; much less so the past 2-4 years).
1. A rap song that revolves around bass and tasteless/liberal use of synthesized sounds and lyrics usually pertaining to women (I will avoid the pop rap vernacular), drugs, how successful/good/wealthy they are, and/or police.
2. The typical sad pop song by a female vocalist; it can also be a pop country song that sneaked into the mainstream pop charts. Usually characterized by acoustic guitar (piano if you're lucky), a theme which distraught teenage girls can relate to, a hot singer, and a complete lack of depth.
3. The typical happy pop song by a female vocalist; it can also be a pop country song that sneaked into the mainstream pop charts. Usually characterized by guitar (fiddle or steel guitar if it's a country artist), upbeat lyrics/texture, a hot singer, and a complete lack of depth. A variation on this is the sexy pop song wherein the lyrics will be more provocative and the rhythm of the singing will probably be more syncopated (yay!).
4. Pop punk anthems by Green Day/Blink 182 wannabes and songs by artists who refuse to let go of grunge. Usually characterized by the artists' playing mix and match with a few basic chords, a 'look at me I want attention' image, lyrics that appeal to disillusioned teens, and an either abrasive (for grunge) or extremely nasally (for pop punk) vocals.
5. Male/female pop artist collaboration: Songs wherein female and male artists engage in a saucy or depressing dialogue (depending on the nature of their situation) regarding an implied relationship. Usually a snore instrumentally.
6. Flavor of the week up and coming pop diva song. Characterized by happy, shallow lyrics about being a teenage girl. She is probably very young and the music video will probably depict her doing acts that are inappropriate for her age.
7. Male pop song. There aren't that many male pop stars (as far as I know) who simply go by their name rather than a band name. Their songs are usually romantic and pretty dull musically; the singing style may be falsetto. Target audience seems to be girls.
That's all I can come up with right now... I just want to reiterate that this is all in good fun and is not a stab at anyone or anything. I like some artists that have made it in the pop charts in the last decade or so. A few I can think of off the top of my head: Radiohead, the White Stripes, Modest Mouse, Gorillaz... I can't think of any others that I've ever actually heard on pop radio at the moment.
Sorry for the giant wall of text, this is just a topic that I've been thinking for quite some time, I felt like I needed to put it into words.
If you disagree (with my general statement, I already know that I am probably way off target with my categories), why? What modern pop artists do you like? Why do you like them?
If you agree with me what would you attribute to the decline of creativity in pop music?