Originally Posted by Pollyanna
Interesting point about pop, Ken. Still, what label could you apply to songs like Brian Hyland's Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini or The Archies's Sugar Sugar?
How about "commercial" instead of "pop"?
Genre in itself is an interesting topic. I think in the modern world it has more to do with marketing than music, and that is why I tend to be critical of the term. The problem, as you stated, is that any style of music could become pop as long as it sells enough recordings to get on the list. As an example, 'classical music' is a style; but the term is also used as a genre, mostly for marketing purposes. The genre of Beethoven's Fifth, however, is a symphony. That describes how it functions musically. Then you have the Ninth, which was radical because it mixed genres.
I would say that there is something that is pop, and Doggie in the Window, Sugar, Sugar, Diamond Ring, Tea for Two, [
to go back, do exemplify it. I would say there is a quality of the music that is somewhat superficial. The Beatles were 'pop,' and then they changed and took the whole 'pop' music world with them. What about Motown, What's Going On as compared to The Supremes?
Historically it was music that girls (and little kids) liked that was pop, and of course, rock and roll, which guys liked was serious, it was radical, it was revolution. So there is a certain disparagement of the term 'pop' that existed that had a deprecating sense toward young woman. This is still relevant "N' Sync pop, NIrvana 'rock.' Brittany Spears or Celine Dion, pop. Heavy metal not pop.
In the later 70s labels began to realize that if you could get girls to listen to the guys' music, you could double your audience. So Journey got a singer, Genesis became a trio and went light rock, and then your had 'hair metal,' which was about guys getting girls, cars and parties. The was really The Beatles model. They were able to go from being a boy band to a serious band, from 'pop' to 'rock.'
Doggie in the Window is really a waltz, Sugar Sugar is a rock tune and Last Train to Charleston, written by Neil Diamond, is rock and roll. You could say that is its style, and use the more 'culturally' defined term 'pop' as a genre. The way defined through wiki has more to do with these cultural realities than musical realities. What about The Dan, Peg as compared to Deacon Blues. Is Peg, pop? It was written as a single. But is is the same album.
Now the idea has changed because of the rebirth of the single download.