Jump to content


Photo

How Pop Music Stopped


  • Please log in to reply
3156 replies to this topic

#991 Wilfrid

Wilfrid

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 69,017 posts

Posted 30 March 2012 - 11:09 PM

Okay, Adrian baby.

It was a throwaway comment, which I hardly expected to be parsed to anything like that degree. But I went back and listened to the song and looked at the lyrics, and I decided to re-affirm that it was a good example of what I had in mind.

Hooks, and the near-formulaic search for them, has always been part of pop music. I was struck, however, by a comment Seabrook quotes that one hook is no longer enough; you need a series of hooks, because of the short span of attention the audience will devote to a song.*

"All of Lights" is a good example of a song with a whole bunch of melodic hooks - something underlined by having so many distinctive vocal artists sing them. Whatever Kanye's authorial intentions - and however deep the meme of "lights" runs in his oeuvre - for the listening audience, the hooks serve an aural rather than a narrative purpose. I'm particularly struck by the internal half rhymes ("all of the lights"/ "rest of your life"; "baby"/ "get it right, eh" - and the melodic dying fall which gets repeated in other lines.

I happened to pick this example just because Rihanna - mentioned throughout Seabrook's article, just like Nicki Minaj - seems to be the current queen of the hook.


ETA: Oh, and I don't have an opinion on how the track was created. I just don't.


*This just struck me as anecdotally plausible. To find out if it's true would require an ambitious quantitative study over years of pop music, and we're not going to do that. Take is as "for the sake of argument."

#992 Adrian

Adrian

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 7,354 posts

Posted 30 March 2012 - 11:24 PM

There's that music criticism. While I agree with a lot of the, I'm not sure it addresses your initial point which has to deal with the how and why questions that surround the term "all of the lights". Whether the song has multiple hooks or not, and how closely the words are tailored to the hooks, doesn't say anything about whether it's worth thinking about what the artist is trying to say in the song. The question is whether the term "all of the lights" was chosen solely because it fits the music and is meaningless otherwise or whether it has any meaning within the context of the song. I mean, in most pop music the hook serves both an aural and narrative purpose (unless "the movement you need is on your shoulder").

So the category of songs you're referring to is "songs with multiple hooks"? If so, my apologies. Explains the success of Kings of Leon though.

I think you need to interpret what I'm saying in a reasonable way.


#993 Wilfrid

Wilfrid

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 69,017 posts

Posted 30 March 2012 - 11:29 PM

Always with the over-reading. I am not referring to any category. My post refers to what it says it refers to. I'm also not concerned with whether the hooks in question are meaningless or not, but how they function aurally (hence my - I thought obviously light-hearted - reference to not having to care about what they mean). It's not a new phenomenon, but I find it plausible that it has become more pronounced.

Think about "Umbrella," if you want a rest from "All of the Lights."

your initial point which has to deal with the how and why questions that surround the term "all of the lights"


No it doesn't.

#994 Lex

Lex

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 18,795 posts

Posted 31 March 2012 - 05:20 AM


Did you read Seabrook's piece?

Of course I did. It was utterly unremarkable and could have been written at any point in (perhaps) musical history with minor alterations.


I'm going to assume you're just being silly.

“I have a dream of a multiplicity of pastramis.”

"One of the Evil Twin beers I tried smelled like a foot." - LiquidNY

"I don't have time to point out all the ways in which you're wrong" - irnscrabblechf52


#995 balex

balex

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 2,274 posts

Posted 31 March 2012 - 11:39 AM



#996 Adrian

Adrian

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 7,354 posts

Posted 31 March 2012 - 01:36 PM



Did you read Seabrook's piece?

Of course I did. It was utterly unremarkable and could have been written at any point in (perhaps) musical history with minor alterations.


I'm going to assume you're just being silly.


No. Wilfrid's right that the intensive use of multiple hooks is new, but the rest of it is pretty typical, especially for that genre of music.

I think you need to interpret what I'm saying in a reasonable way.


#997 Wilfrid

Wilfrid

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 69,017 posts

Posted 31 March 2012 - 01:44 PM

Wilfrid's right ...



:wub:

#998 Lex

Lex

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 18,795 posts

Posted 31 March 2012 - 05:50 PM


Did you read Seabrook's piece?

Of course I did. It was utterly unremarkable and could have been written at any point in (perhaps) musical history with minor alterations.


What I got out of Seabrook's article was that digital music production has advanced to the point that songs can be assembled from tiny components. The technology makes it relatively easy to rearrange them and swap out one bit for another. Yes, songwriters have done things like that in the past but at a very crude level. The difference is not just a questions of degree. The process of creating these songs is dominated by the technology.

That's new.

Technology has had a similar impact on movies. Special effects have always been a part of film making but they were limited by the relatively crude technology of the day and also by cost. They were expensive. One of the hallmarks of great special effects is that they only appeared in big budget pictures.

In the last 10 years computers have driven down the cost of special effects and continually expanded their range. It's possible to create movies that consist entirely of special effects, start to finish. It's more than a simple increase, it's a quantum jump.

“I have a dream of a multiplicity of pastramis.”

"One of the Evil Twin beers I tried smelled like a foot." - LiquidNY

"I don't have time to point out all the ways in which you're wrong" - irnscrabblechf52


#999 Sneakeater

Sneakeater

    Advanced Member

  • Admin
  • PipPipPip
  • 40,637 posts

Posted 13 April 2012 - 05:35 PM

From Rosie Schaap's "Drinking" column in yesterday's Times:

At the little Brooklyn bar where I work one day shift a week, a half dozen bar stools are usually occupied by regulars: among them a chef, a craftsman and a musician. Friendships form quickly among those who drink together in the afternoon, and Louis Armstrong’s music sets the tone for talking — about sports, about food, about politics, plus a few terrible jokes. Eventually, jazz gives way to my preferred playlist on the house iPod. As soon as he hears the opening chords of “Roadrunner,” Eric, the musician, says: “The Modern Lovers. Total bartender rock” — by which he means the stuff that bartenders, left to our own devices, play the most (at least in Brooklyn). The rest of us nod in agreement and toss out other names that fit the genre: T. Rex. The Black Keys. Sam Cooke. Johnny Cash. Talking Heads. Nick, a fellow bartender, paraphrases Justice Potter Stewart’s definition of pornography: Not all bartender rock is rock, but we know it when we hear it.


Bar Loser

MF Old

#1000 Wilfrid

Wilfrid

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 69,017 posts

Posted 13 April 2012 - 05:49 PM

"Roadrunner" is forty years old. The only reason bartenders listen to it today is that pop music stopped, so it still sounds fresh.

If bartenders had been listening to forty year old pop songs when I first started going to bars, they'd have been listening to "You're the Top" and "On the Good Ship Lollipop." They weren't, of course, they were listening to contemporary music.

#1001 Adrian

Adrian

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 7,354 posts

Posted 13 April 2012 - 06:07 PM

Those bands don't sound fresh (okay, fresher than "Good Ship Lollypop"), but they do sound like an image that some people want to project.

I think you need to interpret what I'm saying in a reasonable way.


#1002 cstuart

cstuart

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 2,224 posts

Posted 13 April 2012 - 06:09 PM

Shocking news: People who like old music listen to old music!

#1003 SLBunge

SLBunge

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 4,063 posts

Posted 13 April 2012 - 06:18 PM

"Roadrunner" is forty years old. The only reason bartenders listen to it today is that pop music stopped, so it still sounds fresh.

If bartenders had been listening to forty year old pop songs when I first started going to bars, they'd have been listening to "You're the Top" and "On the Good Ship Lollipop." They weren't, of course, they were listening to contemporary music.

Does the fact that they listen to Louis Armstrong mean that jazz stopped?
Suffocating under a pile of cheese curds.

#1004 Stone

Stone

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 14,845 posts

Posted 13 April 2012 - 06:25 PM

[]

And she was.


#1005 Sneakeater

Sneakeater

    Advanced Member

  • Admin
  • PipPipPip
  • 40,637 posts

Posted 13 April 2012 - 06:35 PM

Does the fact that they listen to Louis Armstrong mean that jazz stopped?


Maybe it means that rock is no longer pop.
Bar Loser

MF Old