Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Pop Music

A sleepless night in a hotel room led me to watching VH1's top videos of the year. Popular music is something I have an appreciation for. Sometimes I really dig it. Like Rooney, Norah Jones, Ben Folds, heck even Queen and The Beatles would be considered 'pop' for at least most of their careers. So really, pop music is not bad as a genre. It's actually quite great.

The pop music of today is unfortunately, in my opinion, mostly rap/hip hop these days. I have no problem with rap and hip hop in the broad sense. But the songs that get made sometimes just make me really scratch my head. Like why does the new Rihanna song have a mechanical sounding dog barking for the beat? Why are 17 year olds rapping about bitches and ho's? I'm not the clubbing type, and yet I think I can pick out when it's a good beat/melody and when it's not.

This brings me to a quite embarrassing confession. Most of you who know me know I abhor Taylor Swift and Miley Cyrus more than most ridiculous things in this culture. The fact that Taylor Swift won a best artist award really boggles my mind. Miley is a very well marketed quasi talented tool. I actually listened to her song "Party in the USA." Really listened to it. And I can't get it out of my head. It's a FABULOUS pop song. Exactly what pop should be. And in an age of Lohans and Kardashians, I guess Smiley Miley isn't the worst person for kids to look up to. I just hate that I tap my foot and hum along like a fool....

I downloaded the 'top 100 songs of 2009' and gave most a pretty good listen. It makes me wish that these collaborative projects could just be actual songs. For an example the song "Knock You Down" by Keri Hilson, Kanye West and Ne-Yo has a really good chorus. Nice tight harmonies, good melody. But then we get the rapping that goes on for like FOREVER. Same with "Empire State of Mind" by Jay-Z and Alicia Keys. I absolutely love Alicia's part...but get bored with the rest. I really wish that there could be a little more originality in songwriting these days. Like instead of using tunes from 80s and 90s songs and looping us going "hey, hey, hey, hey" over top while Rihanna whines (I pick on her because she's not a nice person) a chorus over it....I just don't buy that as good music. If you're covering a song, do something original with it. REDO it. Don't just use someone's recording and bastardize it. Jeez.

I really didn't mean for this to be a rant. Just a confession and explanation on why Miley Cyrus is one of the artist categories on my iPod. No Taylor Swift though. I have to draw the line somewhere....

1 comment:

  1. As long as we're confessing...the last mix CD I made had entirely too much Lady Gaga and Black Eyed Peas.

    I think Taylor Swift is only where she is because of that whole Kanye thing. She was around before that, but now she's everywhere. :P Whatever. I want to kick her for that song about the best friend who wants on her guy friend. And not just for personal reasons.

    I hear you on a lot of this...and I do like hip-hop. Quite a bit actually, but only because my favorite music is often music I can dance to. Unfortunately, as you pointed out, there's a lot of hip hop out there that doesn't SAY anything anymore. It's all revamp, nonsense syllables and "how can I get on that shorty"? (I desperately want to take HU's Anthro of hip-hop course, so I can get back to the roots of this music, find out what it's supposed to be doing...)
    And there's a style of rap that's very a-rhythmic and lacking in any kind of vocal expression that's exceedingly available right now. (Kanye is actually one of the best examples of this I can think of...not all the time, but often.) That stuff drives me bats. These guys/gals should take a theater class and learn how to get some modulation into their voices, and then take their rhymes out to play.

    So, sing it Steph. I'm with you. ;)