A site where I get to complain about music I don't like.
Pop music has gotten awfully stagnant in the last few years. We’re not having the radical stylings of many artists recently, instead having either the club pop or your stereotypical bland love ballad. So I feel like at this point, more than any other, I can make a list like this. So here are my…
10 Things Pop Music Needs To Stop Doing
Note: Instead of a normal top ten list, this is non ranked article of what I think should stop, though the last one is the most painful, in my opinion.
1. Autotune used incorrectly, otherwise known as correctly.
We’ve all talked at some point how annoying auto tune is when used by artists T-Pain and Ke$ha, but that isn’t what annoys me. When they used auto tune, they use it to build a character, typically as a parody of pop music in general. What annoys me is when other artists just use it to cover up their inability to sing. When actual singers like Jason Derulo use it, that’s when it annoys me. If you are a professional singer, you should not be using a vocal correcting system. Effectively, you remove everything that makes a singer interesting, all the mistakes throughout the song.
2. The faux-anthem.
Songs try way to hard to be powerful these days. Now, they try to make every song just an anthem for all the kids, to dance to and call really important to them, because children are stupid. Hell, LMFAO called their song “Party Rock Anthem.” They’re not even hiding their intentions. All these bands are tryingg so hard to be as anthemic as Boston now. Only one band ever worked at being Boston, and that’s Foreigner. Besides, “I WAnt to Know What Love Is” has a way more powerful meaning behind it than “Everybody in the club get your ass on the floor.”
3. The random girl on the chorus.
This is mostly a recent trend, starting around Lo Rida’s “Right Round”. Without this song, Ke$ha’s career probably never would have taken off as it did. And ever sine that song, it’s just popped up everywhere. Suddenly, songs need this random woman on the chorus to sing a tiny part of the same lie over and over again. If you’re gonna give a person a “ft.” credit for something like this, you might as well feature the guy whose chair squeaked during recording.
4. The pointless rap verse.
This may have started back in around the 90s, but it’s gotten pretty bad lately. Nowadays, every song needs a sudden rap in the middle of it, which typically does nothing but completely break the mood you were going for. Not every song suddenly needs Lil Wayne in the middle of it. Even Bruce Springsteen started doing this on his latest album, on “Rocky Ground”. Just be happy it wasn’t him rapping.
5. 90% chorus
Sometimes it feels like songs don’t even attempt anything outside of a chorus. Typically, a song is structured at having about 2 verses, 3 choruses, and a bridge. That’s how it’s worked throughout most of music’s history. But then, recently, we decided the rest of the music doesn’t matter. So now we have songs with 2 verses that are about 16 bars each, a chorus after each of those about as long as the verse, followed by just repetitions of the chorus for over half the song at the end. And this just isn’t pop music here, either. In “Pumped Up Kicks, that is literally the whole song. What I’m saying, songwriters need to work harder.
6. Overt sampling.
Back when sampling was first used in a big way, it was cool. It was pretty awesome to hear one of your favorite songs used in another song, and that went well for a while. But then, Biz Markie had to be sued for sampling, and it just took a nosedive. You couldn’t make whole new songs just by sampling everything at once now, or you’d have to pay more than a house for it. Now, when people sample, all you get is the original song with new lyrics. And while sometimes this can still be awesome, it’s usually just really stupid. J. R. Rotem, take note; sampling is something that should be used occasionally, instead of just as a crutch when you’re not feeling creative.
7. Extreme Use of Synthesizers
Remember back in the 80s, when we hated all the rampant synthesizers? Well now it’s even worse. At least back then, you could expect some guitar work somewhere buried in the mix. Now, it seems like all our music is programmed entirely on a computer, with some guitar thrown in for “depth”. Back in the olden days, if you made a song made entirely out of electronic music, you better have been Thomas Dolby or you were straight into a niche market. Now, it’s the only market. Say what you will about “Since U Been Gone”, but that actually worked in a live music setting. Songs like this just… don’t.
8. Fake emotion.
Remember about a year ago when all the news about teen suicides came out, and along with that all the pop stars writing songs about it? That’s what I’m talking about. The idea that about a week after the news, all the major pop stars wrote, recorded, produced, and released these songs is ridiculous. These aren’t meant to be songs about this. These are songs cashing in on emotions after a tragedy to make money. And that’s all it is, a desperate plea for money based on your emotions. With Lady Gaga, it makes sense, because that’s what she does. But with everyone else, it’s just wrong.
9. Not tackling real problems.
Back in the 70s, even our pop music had power to it. “Living in the City” is one of the most political songs ever made, and it was a huge hit. But now, pop music needs to be safe. We won’t even let really charged music to make it on our charts. Everything needs to be about love or sadness. If you wrote a song about racial injustice, you are not allowed anywhere near the charts. And I actually respect country music for this. Country music isn’t afraid to speak its mind about things like the war and politics, and guess what? It’s more interesting because of it.
10. Allowing Chris Brown to still have a career.
Let me take you back a couple decades. As soon as Ike hit Tina, he wasn’t allowed a career. As soon as Bobby Brown hit Whiteny Houston, he didn’t have a career. And yet we still allow Chris Brown to perform. Tell me, what does that say about today’s culture and pop world? What does it say that while Ike Turner, one of the most talented men in music, died widely hated for what he did, while Chris Brown gets to sleep on a pile of fans who let hime punch them in the face. Something is very wrong with pop music, and this is what’s worse than anything else.