My rant on today's pop music

inneedofgrace

Platinum Member
This morning I took my wife's car to work, and there were two of my teenage daughter's CDs in there with a mix of her favorite pop/hip-hop songs that she listens to. I was bored, so I popped them in the CD player and tried listening to the songs on both CDs. I could not get through more than about 30 seconds of any of the songs.

I am an older guy (almost 50), so I admit my opinion is going to be slanted. Certainly my parents had no clue about the rock music I listened to as a teenager, and I'm sure they hated it.

Here's my take on the songs:

1) There wasn't a lot of traditional singing going on here. It was a combination of talking, shouting back and forth, and chanting (usually ad nauseum).

2) All the vocals were heavily modified using echo, compression and whatever that program is that they use to modulate and alter the tone (Cher used it on Do You Believe in Love). The "computerized" voices grated on me after about 2 minutes.

3) The songs had no real structure to them. There was no intro, verse, chorus, middle eight, chorus, out, etc. Seemed like the repitiion goes on until the engineer decides to fade out the end of the song. I imagine this is because the primary reason for these songs is to dance to in a club or a party. The way we danced in the 70's/80's bears no resemblance to how you would dance to this music.

4) Out of about 20 songs, I only found one that sounded like it had real drums in it. The rest had clicks, snaps, and real loud bass booms that kept the beat. Some synthesizers (sampling, no doubt), no piano, no guitar.

Okay - rant over. I know this was only a small sampling of todays popular music. And I'm sure there is some good music out there that doesn't get much air time. Music companies and radio stations are not always the best judges of talent - only what they can sell.
 

joeysnare

Silver Member
i don't care if i get flamed for this. pop music is garbage , nuff said.

if you disagree then watch rebecca blacks video called "friday"
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
i don't care if i get flamed for this. pop music is garbage , nuff said.

if you disagree then watch rebecca blacks video called "friday"
Awww Joey, I love lots of old pop. Elton's Candle in the Wind, Fleetwood Mac's Rhiannon, B52s's Love Shack, Bangles's Walk Like an Egyptian, Ben Folds's Brick, Billy Joel's Zanzibar, Crash Test Dummies's Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm, Eurythmics's Here Comes The Rain Again, George Michaels's I Want Your Sex, Joe Jackson's Breaking Us In Two ... dunno if all these are a huge turnoff for you but for me they're great songs with great playing, singing and arranging.

I'm now an old cow and today's pop doesn't do it for me. As far as I'm concerned, pop started going downhill with the machines. There's some good machine music out there, but most sounds like formulaic blah to me.
 

Pkaneps

Senior Member
I pretty much agree. It takes little musical knowledge to put together one of those tracks and then autotune a voice over it with lyrics that don't mean anything.

I'm only 22 and I'm out of touch with my own generation in terms of music. I have friends that swear by top 40 radio stations.

It's gotten to the point where I can't even turn the damn thing on...I just listen to my iPod.
 

inneedofgrace

Platinum Member
I remember when The Human League came out with their big hit Don't You Want Me back in the early 80's, and it was amazing that all of the instruments were synthesized. Yet the song was fun to sing along with, dance to, and it didn't sound totally fake.

It's sad to think that I prefer to listen to 70's disco music over what passes for pop music this day. At least a lot of the disco had real instruments, even some with full orchestral arrangements. Real brass instruments in pop bands such as Tower of Power, Chicago, Blood Sweat and Tears, and Earth Wind and Fire are a thing of the past.
 

shadowlorde

Senior Member
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hMtZfW2z9dw

... people think that is great music ... auto tune the news is not music ... and its proof that if you put a drum machine behind someone talking and auto tune it .. you will get thousands of hits on youtube and sell it on itunes

i don't know know if its like this in all countries or if its just america that the most mindless crap is the most popular.
 

SGdrummer

Member
i don't care if i get flamed for this. pop music is garbage , nuff said.

if you disagree then watch rebecca blacks video called "friday"
I think that It's sad that such an incredibly horrible "song" like rebecca black's "friday" can gain so much attention. I currently go to a private all guys high school and even here you cannot walk down the hall without hearing somebody singing that wretched song. Even if it is a joke because it's so bad, it makes me physically sick to see a girl with that little talent become so popular while there are plenty of struggling bands with real skill out there.

I have recently gotten into home producing after taking a music production course and it brought about a newfound respect for all the producers that actually write most of the pop songs. I just cannot accept how a person can call themselves an artist and not write any original music.
 
H

Hellwyck

Guest
I remember when The Human League came out with their big hit Don't You Want Me back in the early 80's, and it was amazing that all of the instruments were synthesized. Yet the song was fun to sing along with, dance to, and it didn't sound totally fake.
It wasn't fake, the Human League rpogrammed and played all their instruments, even after the "band" left to form Heaven 17, Oakey and the girls still did their own programming.

Real brass instruments in pop bands such as Tower of Power, Chicago, Blood Sweat and Tears, and Earth Wind and Fire are a thing of the past.
Try telling Less Than Jake, Reel Big Fish, Madness or the Specials that.
 

MaryO

Platinum Member
I, too, have a difficult time with most of today's pop music. There are a few people/bands out there I quite like, such as Maroon 5, but definitely not many.

I think one of the best new artists in music is Imelda May but she's more rockabilly than pop and doesn't get much attention on this side of the pond. Shame, she's really great.

I'm a child of the 80's (graduated in 85) and find myself turning back towards a lot of that music most of the time. I find it funny how many current songs are sampling that same music. New music isn't even really new anymore...it's just a mixed up regurgitation of better music with some autotuning and (c)rap thrown over the top of it in my opinion. Why ruin a perfectly good song, I say? Just listen to the original!

Just my humble opinion :)
 
H

Hellwyck

Guest
I find it funny how many current songs are sampling that same music. New music isn't even really new anymore...
I've been saying this for years...

Boy/girl "bands"' first 6 singles are covers... This is because:

a) The fanbase has an attention span of not very much and needs to hear something they know before they'll buy into it.
b) The artists can't write their own songs so it's quicker for other people to re-arrange other people's songs.
 

inneedofgrace

Platinum Member
I've been saying this for years...

Boy/girl "bands"' first 6 singles are covers... This is because:

a) The fanbase has an attention span of not very much and needs to hear something they know before they'll buy into it.
b) The artists can't write their own songs so it's quicker for other people to re-arrange other people's songs.
Interestingly, a few of the Beatles early hits were cover tunes, but that was probably more the label's decision. There was no doubt from the get-go that they could write their own stuff.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I'm pretty sure Plato didn't like his kids music either. This rant is as old as the hills. Not knocking the rant, I'm with you.
The thing I find the most disturbing is the lack of humanness in pop music. I can't relate to click tracks, autotune, handclap backbeats whatsoever. To me it's sad that the music that our current young generation will get nostalgic about has very little emotion to it.
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
For one, this is why I rarely listen to the radio outside of classic rock stations. There is a ton of good new music out there, but it's not going to be on the radio.

Second, yeah, it's teenagers perogrative to find music their parents will hate. As I said in another thread, if it doesn't annoy someone, it's not rock-n-roll.

Thirdly, Polly, I think you're not really making pop to pop comparisons.

Elton John, Fleetwood Mac, Jo Jackson, those were NOT really pop artists. Yes, their music crossed over to pop, but they still attempted to have artistic and rebellious credibility.

When I think generic pop to compare the Rebecca Black song too, compare it to the Rebecca Black's of the past:

Debbie Gibson, Tiffany, New Kids on the Block, Menudo, The Partridge Family, Andy Gibb, Sonny and Cher. All that stuff was just as "manufactured" as today's pop music, involving fake instruments, or sessions guys hired to record stiff performances, with the idea to appeal to as many non-musicians as possible for the quick buck.

Since the muti-track was invented, there has always been dumb, mindless bubble gum pop music out there for the masses that really only appeals to teenagers.

The same rant posted in the OP could have easily been made 20 years ago, and even earlier.

Not that I disagree with the OP in anyway. I wouldn't listen to it either.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
2) All the vocals were heavily modified using echo, compression and whatever that program is that they use to modulate and alter the tone (Cher used it on Do You Believe in Love).
Antares Auto-Tune. A nice tool, but taken to its extreme. It's no different than the ab/over-used gated drum sounds of the '80s. The Kepex ( keyable program expander, IIRC) started as a great tool to clean up tracks and perform other behind-the-scenes functions. But engineers and producers exploited its capabilities to the max, and that fad eventually ran its course. The gate remains, but it has settled back into its original purpose. Perhaps the same will be said for Auto-Tune now that it's become so common, artists will regard it as a tool again, and not as an effect.

As for what passes for popular music now, I dunno. It's hard for me to judge a song just on whether the drums are real, or how much production or marketing has gone into it, or the age of the singer. Honestly, I don't really listen to lyrics, so if the track sounds good to me, I like it. Say what you will about the boy bands and pop tarts, but those tracks are pretty heavy and masterfully produced, not slapped together for a quick buck by any means. They work hard to get that quick buck! I listened to that Friday song, and keyed in on the drums and chords. Lyrically I guess it's pretty goofy, but there have certainly been far worse songs on a musical level.

I forget which big-band era icon this is attributed to, but the saying about there being "only two kinds of music" still holds true. I get a healthy dose of most genres, and am perhaps lucky that I can still judge a song on its merits, not based on who sings it, or who else likes it. I don't think it's an age thing, I'm creeping up on 55 and still take it all in as I did when I was 12. I just like what I like, and judge a song by how it sounds to me.

You guys would flip if you knew what kind of stuff was on my CD shelves. Let's look at the F section... Fad Gadget, Faith No More, Percy Faith, Fatboy Slim, Filter, Fine Young Cannibals, Ella Fitzgerald, Fleetwood Mac, Foghat, Foo Fighters, Four Tops, Samantha Fox, Peter Frampton, Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Aretha Franklin, Stan Freberg, Free, Richie Furay... to name a few. And if you go to S you will find Britney Spears and The Spice Girls mixed in with Nancy Sinatra, Siouxsee and the Banshees, School of Fish, Springsteen, Sublime, Santana, Bobby Sherman, and The Shaggs.

Bermuda
 

Deltadrummer

Platinum Member
to name a few. And if you go to S you will find Britney Spears and The Spice Girls mixed in with Nancy Sinatra, Siouxsee and the Banshees, School of Fish, Springsteen, Sublime, Santana, Bobby Sherman, and The Shaggs.

Bermuda
I'm glad you finally upgraded your Bobby Sherman collection to CD. :)

Am I wrong for liking Forget You?
 
Am I wrong for liking Forget You?
Of course not, that is one of the very few songs that I can actually listen to and enjoy from the world of pop music today.

I agree that pop music today is not as good as it used to be, but I have faith that musicians will begin to shun technology and start actually recording live instruments played by musicians, rather than machines. It's not that much of a issue for me anyway, I prefer to listen to good music, rather than mindless crap aimed at teenagers (even though I'm 16)
 
Good post bermuda. I find myself agreeing with alot of it. Mostly the main bottom line, take it all in. Appreciate music for what it is. Yeah, alot of it sucks donkey, but its still music. And isn't that why we are all sitting here?
 
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