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How Pop Music Stopped


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I thought we had a thread on this, but perhaps I expressed my view that pop music came to a standstill a few years ago in the middle of a longer thread.   Anyway, further anecdotal evidence. I was

there is no past and present any more.

Fair enough. I thought it was more recent. It sounds like it could have been released last week, which tends to support the point.

The point isn't that the new stuff isn't very good.

 

The point is that the new stuff isn't vastly different from music created from the 60s on.

 

Yes, it's not so much that nobody is working the genre any more (that's classical music's problem), but that its audience is as happy to listen to examples from 1979 and 1989 as from 2009 - if anything, happier.

 

This has never happened before, over the century or so of popular music's history.

 

And as Sneak says, contemporary artists are for the most part reproducing rather than developing the genre. If anything, there is a positive mania for vintage styles.

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I thought we had a thread on this, but perhaps I expressed my view that pop music came to a standstill a few years ago in the middle of a longer thread.

 

Anyway, further anecdotal evidence. I was at a large "after party" for an event recently, probably one to hundred people present. Age was diverse, early twenties to thirties. I may not have been the oldest person there, but I was in a minority. There for some time. The dj did play the "Blister in the Sun" song everybody loves, and a brief track which was mainly white noise (no idea). Otherwise, the music was solidly thirty to forty years old - and the dance floor was crazy. Little Richard was about the oldest offering, but there was plenty of glam rock ("Little Willy" :blink:), Two Tone (The Beat), new wave...

 

Perhaps the place would have emptied if he'd played anything from this century (except "Blister" and maybe "Range Life").

 

ETA: The point made in the past is that it's inconceivable that a similar event in, say, 1980 would have had a soundtrack from the 1940s, unless it was some kind of theme party.

 

People in NYC who go to "after party" events maybe listen to music from a much wider range of years (largely because there is a larger range of years to choose from?) but it hardly follows that there is no new pop music. Or even no new "good" pop music. For example, I hesitate to mention on a public forum how many times I listened to the last Gossip album...

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My sense is that popular music developed fast and relentlessly from its emergence in the early decades of the twentieth century, coming to a grinding halt in the 1980s. (As discussed elsewhere, R&B or hip hop put the brakes on a little later.)

why do you think that is?

 

I am guessing it's because its moment of global saturation came later than it did for pop/rock. What we have seen is a set of major stars in each genre become so monumentally established that their careers have extended indefinitely. Bands were once though successful if they stayed together a few years and released four or five albums. Careers in pop/rock are now habitually measured in decades. This became the case with hip hop somewhat later.

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Yes, it's not so much that nobody is working the genre any more (that's classical music's problem)

 

I think that, as a matter of simple fact, there are vastly more active classical composers now than there were at any point in history. (Of course, there are more people now, period.)

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My sense is that popular music developed fast and relentlessly from its emergence in the early decades of the twentieth century, coming to a grinding halt in the 1980s. (As discussed elsewhere, R&B or hip hop put the brakes on a little later.)

why do you think that is?

 

I am guessing it's because its moment of global saturation came later than it did for pop/rock. What we have seen is a set of major stars in each genre become so monumentally established that their careers have extended indefinitely. Bands were once though successful if they stayed together a few years and released four or five albums. Careers in pop/rock are now habitually measured in decades. This became the case with hip hop somewhat later.

 

ETA:

 

Examples. U2 have been one of the biggest bands in the world for 30 years now. The Beatles were around (as stars) for about seven years, which is rather more typical of how things used to be. Jay Z and Eminem are both cruising into their second decade as top hip hop acts.

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And as Sneak says, contemporary artists are for the most part reproducing rather than developing the genre. If anything, there is a positive mania for vintage styles.

 

I'll even cede that some of them are developing the genre rather than reproducing it. But that still isn't enough. The bands I listened to as a youth weren't developing the genre my parents had listened to. They were developing a new genre.

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Examples. U2 have been one of the biggest bands in the world for 30 years now. The Beatles were around (as stars) for about seven years, which is rather more typical of how things used to be. Jay Z and Eminem are both cruising into their second decade as top hip hop acts.

 

I was going to mention U2 and REM as counterexamples, but they started in the 80s.

 

Again, I think you should be careful about generalizing from a non-mainstream NYC experience. My experience is that blister in the sun is popular but so is (feh) lady gaga.

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My sense is that popular music developed fast and relentlessly from its emergence in the early decades of the twentieth century, coming to a grinding halt in the 1980s. (As discussed elsewhere, R&B or hip hop put the brakes on a little later.)

why do you think that is?

 

I am guessing it's because its moment of global saturation came later than it did for pop/rock. What we have seen is a set of major stars in each genre become so monumentally established that their careers have extended indefinitely. Bands were once though successful if they stayed together a few years and released four or five albums. Careers in pop/rock are now habitually measured in decades. This became the case with hip hop somewhat later.

 

ETA:

 

Examples. U2 have been one of the biggest bands in the world for 30 years now. The Beatles were around (as stars) for about seven years, which is rather more typical of how things used to be. Jay Z and Eminem are both cruising into their second decade as top hip hop acts.

 

Sorry poorly worded my question - why do you think the development of music accelerated so much after 1910?

 

To your other point - outside of this 1910-1980 time period it was very common for artists (or composers really) to have careers that lasted decades.

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Again, I think you should be careful about generalizing from a non-mainstream NYC experience. My experience is that blister in the sun is popular but so is (feh) lady gaga.

 

But how does Lady Gaga disprove this point? I'd say she's a poster girl for it.

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To your other point - outside of this 1910-1980 time period it was very common for artists (or composers really) to have careers that lasted decades.

 

Even inside it. Cole Porter stayed relevant from the 20s to the 50s.

 

Irving Berlin, I think, stayed relevant from the 10s to the 50s.

 

Richard Rodgers stayed relevant from the 20s to the 60s.

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Again, I think you should be careful about generalizing from a non-mainstream NYC experience. My experience is that blister in the sun is popular but so is (feh) lady gaga.

 

But how does Lady Gaga disprove this point? I'd say she's a poster girl for it.

Isn't Lady Gaga Madonna?

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