I HATE pop music. So here’s a bit of rumbling, complaining, thinking “aloud” and, perhaps seeking to better understand “pop”. Thanks for indulging me….
So formulaic, predictable, trite, cliche, over- done, unimaginative, stupid, etc etc etc.
To me pop music- and “pop culture for that matter” – is disingenuous, phony… the essence of what is ugly about “ambition”. It laughs in the face of the masters. It flips the bird to Mozart, Beethoven and countless other masters of music innovation. Pop music seems to have more to do with business acumen and “connections” not real artistic ability.
Want commercial success? Write a pop hit! I know dozens of musician’s woking tirelessly trying to “crack the code”. Great musicians trying and trying and trying. Clearly there’s a formula. The same lame, tired chord changes every other song (you know those ridiculous “4 chords” EVERYONE uses). Just change the beat a little, get a whiny, little-bitch, my-male- genitalia-hasn’t -developed yet, or I- have- absolutely- no- testosterone-vocal part/melody, and get a polished, high-fi sound. Done. LOL! I really make myself laugh… its a gift….
Over and over again my friends, who laugh at my intense distaste for pop music, tell me “… just dumb it down. DUMB IT DOWN!!” So deep is my hatred for the “hits”, many of my colleagues pursuing pop- music success have concluded the best way to determine if their songs would be hits would be to have me listen to them, and if I despise them with the white-hot fire of a billion suns, it will be a smash hit! Yeah I hate pop music that much!
So what a conundrum. Learn music inside and out. Study the masters. Hone your craft. Study those harmonic and melodic movements. Learn to appreciate and marvel at the clever iterations and creative mutations of 12 notes that have been done throughout history. Learn your instrument to the point of proficiency, virtuosity, and expressiveness. Now forget ALL of that. Harken back to the first 3 months of music lessons and just use that. IF you want commercial, Pop- success that is….
I heard Bruno Mars on Pandora and the song was so simple it was literally childish. I mean a child could do it. Simple chords, simple movements. What a kid would do with the first 5 chords he/she learned on the piano when they were 9 years old. Lest you believe I’m ripping Bruno apart let me state here I have the utmost admiration for Bruno. He is a bona-fide badass! No doubt! The next batch of songs that came on were equally childish. But that’s pop music now. And listening to Bruno I can’t help thinking, how far we’ve fallen since the likes of Billy Joel or Elton John who weren’t necessarily pop stars, but singer/songwriters… like Bruno.
I wish I loved pop music. I wish I loved and participated in the “art” of pop music. I could maybe be rich. That’d be nice. One pop hit and you’re set for life. And your kids too! No wonder everyone wants to do it. So why, some may ask, don’t I write the cheesy, easy stupid songs? Because of the very nature of “pop” itself: Do you have the business acumen, drive, ambition and connections??? Because THAT above ALL else is the key to pop stardom. And that aint me. I love music, even more, guitar playing too much.
Once in a while, it seems, a pop song slips through the cracks that shows some thought and a bit of harmonic and melodic sophistication… I’m listening to Christine Perry right now. Great fucking song! Maybe there’s hope for pop (and me) yet!
Now don’t get me started on Rap….!