RECORD STORE TALES MkII: Getting More Tale
#421: First It Steals Your Mind, Then It Steals Your Soul
Pop music: love it or hate it, it does exist!
I have found myself briefly flirting with popular hit songs from time to time, but I find that the rush goes away fast. You can be totally into a new song, only to be bored with it after hearing it dozens of times over a week or two. Then, on to the next thing. This is nothing new, that’s pop music for you. But why do modern-day pop songs lack longevity? Whether it’s Ke$ha, Katy Perry, Beyonce or One Direction, their songs are hook-laden and catchy. Yet there’s nothing about them that sticks with you for long. People don’t really carry around a Beyonce track for life like they do with a Led Zeppelin number. Why?
Pop songwriters always try to hit the biggest possible audience. That’s what they are paid to do. As such, a lot of pop music ends up sounding very “neutral”. The songs are vaguely catchy and lyrically bland so as to appeal to “everyone”. That doesn’t seem to be enough for a song to stick forever. Rather than try and make a pop song interesting, producers would rather throw in whatever sounds, beats and hooks are “in” right now. Rather than do something new, they go for something familiar. That’s what the masses go for – songs that sound like songs they already like. As long as it’s not much longer than three minutes….
I’m speaking very generally now. I know there is pop music out there that defies the pigeonholes that people often want their music slotted in. I’m not talking about those songs. I’m talking about the same damn beats, same damn words, and the same damn melodies that you hear every day.
How does today’s pop music steal your mind and soul? Below, find some reasons:
1. Today, pop songs trick you into thinking an artist can really write, play and sing. A look at the credits shows that 18 writers from Sweden wrote that song, and got sued by 7 different writers from America for stealing it. A computer fixed every missed beat and note. The song was almost completely untouched by human hands.
2. The lack of innovation and exploration in pop music leads to stagnation. Just copy, copy, copy. Have a hit with an idea similar to someone else’s. There’s very little new out there. How can you expect your mind and musical taste to grow by listening to the same damn song every day?
3. Faceless performers don’t have much ability or personality compared to the golden days of the 60’s. Back then, you knew when it was Aretha singing. Today, you have to use an app on your phone to see if that was Katy Perry or Demi Lovato. Listen to them sing live – they do a low sultry voice, and then belt it out on the choruses, aided and abetted by computers. Sure, Demi has lungs, but her voice gets pretty thin when she’s reaching for notes without assistance. Thankfully this is usually covered up by the screaming crowds of teen girls.
4. We’re long past the days of people like Michael Jackson being the King of Pop. Jackson, a talented writer, worked with one of the best producers in the world, Quincy Jones. Together they worked hard and played hard to create real pop music with actual soul. Who is left in the world of pop of that stature and talent? Surely not Justin Timberlake. Timberlake has never written anything with the soul of “Billie Jean”, not that I have heard anyway.
5. Pop music and pop culture have become so intertwined that they have formed a complex web of stupidity. Remember when Britney Spears said, “I think we should just trust our president in every decision that he makes and we should just support that”? Pop stars today are saying even dumber things. Witness this zinger from Ariana Grande about “cow tit pus”:
“In America, almost everybody thinks you need to have meat for protein. Protein, protein, protein! And what’s in dairy? Calcium, calcium, calcium. It’s those kinds of proteins that latch onto the insides of your blood stream and make it easier for you to have a heart attack. Look, cows produce milk with nutrients for cows. Maybe that’s why Americans end up looking like cows! Ultimately, no one wants cow tit pus in their food, do they?”
And don’t even get me started on Biebs, the Little Turd from Stratford.
And these reasons, dear friends, are only some of the ways that modern pop music can steal your mind and then steal your soul. Stick to the classics, and beware! A mind is a terrible thing to waste.