Pop Style | Max Greenhalgh

Pop Style

by Max Greenhalgh

Ah, pop music. You have taken such a fall from grace.

When I was younger, groups that actually had an inkling of talent ruled the charts. However, the pop charts have slowly descended into a random mesh of a few key genres with songs from them seemingly chosen at random.

Electronic music dominates the pop charts, whether it is Justin Bieber whispering into a microphone trying to sound deep, or the loud and dumb Seeb remix of a song originally intended as a sad and wistful look at himself by Mike Posner. There is not a single Kygo or Martin Garrix song on the charts, showing the charts’ bias towards mediocre beats with a big name attached to them.

Hip-hop has also seen an increase in representation on the pop charts recently. However, there are literally no black rappers other than Drake on the charts (no Flo-Rida, you definitely do not count) in an industry completely dominated by African-Americans. Instead, every G-Eazy song with a woman singing the hook ever released for the foreseeable future will break the top ten at some point.

And of course, there is the charts’ recent obsession with the word ‘work’. Apparently, repeating a one syllable word either rhythmically like Fifth Harmony or in what sounds like a drunken stupor like Rihanna leads to a massive hit now. I could write the next great pop hit just by writing my first name over and over again and then getting bored while recording and end up saying it in a bunch of different ways.

Good lyricism is especially rare in the most popular songs of today. Hell, two of the current top five songs’ choruses are literally just someone’s yelling or screaming edited to sound more edgy or something. I do have a theory about how this has happened, however, and it coincides with of the rise of electronic music.

Sometimes there will be entire songs that reach popularity without a single lyric. Call me a traditionalist, but at least to me, the words are a pretty important part in telling the story of a piece of music. I don’t speak beep-boop language. I understand how dance music is great at parties, but its diffusion into other forms of music, and by association the pop charts, is confusing to traditionalists.  Well, old man rant over. Time to listen to some Armin Van Buuren and Steve Aoki press a couple of buttons on their soundboards and at the end of an hour have a 17 song album recorded.