Has Pop Music Simplified Over Time?

In numerous studies, people are finding that pop music is homogenizing, both harmonically, stylistically, and even in vocal variety (i.e. very similar sounding artists being appreciated). Some claim that pop music is being "dumbed down" by becoming harmonically and melodically simplified. While pop music nowadays may be more harmonically and melodically simple, are there other factors that make it more complex/varied? Should we judge music based on these factors, or should we appreciate other aspects of the genre? What are those factors that we should appreciate?

  • A big factor is how formulaic a lot of the music is. Everyone wants to climb to the top via popularity and they do so by following the mainstream and taking the place of those who came before them by doing the same act. Many musicians don't even write their own songs, they just perform what their companies give them. It's a struggle between capitalism and the rise of the artist. – LaRose 7 years ago
  • I'm not sure this topic fits into any of the current categories. According to the guidelines, music is not currently a category, but might be in the near future. Once this comes to pass, I would give this topic a second look. – BoomBap 7 years ago
  • This topic is difficult because there is so many factors that can play a role. While I'm of the opinion that music (and all mainstream art including visual media, animation, film, literature, and theater) is being dumbed down. The reason people are noticing how similar music is becoming is also due to them being more familiar and experienced with it. While many artist are often criticized for "copying" other artist work. The reality is many artist are "inspired" by other artist. You can see this with bands like Wolfmother, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Cage the Elephant who were inspired by late 60's rock bands and tried to imitate them. You can honestly pick any era for music (or games, movies, and theater) and start noticing how redundant trends pop up due to the success of others. If you go back to the early 2000's there was a point where every artist was using auto tune and even further back you had the gangster rap era where everyone was trying to prove how "tough" they where. Also more recently Invincible has become incredibly popular due to its Amazon series and many people have praised it for its subversion of mainstream comic-books, but to me that is not the case. As, many of the more "shocking" elements have been done before by other comic-book series, such as the supposed paragon of good actually being corrupt. And is simply using his positive image to take over the world. Graphic violence has always been apart of comics and super hero's having sexual relations and having it be portrayed in full detail in the pages has also occurred. But the general press is talking up these elements, which to me shows how unfamiliar they are with the subject matter. "Btw I do think Invincible both the comic and Amazon series are worth looking at but not for the reason's I listed above." While I'm sure some musicians are simply following trends, I don't think all of them are. You also have to take in account how producers can act as gate keepers to the success and how popular some artist become, as they may choose to publish one artist over another due to them being similar to another successful arts. – Blackcat130 2 years ago
  • I agree with some of the points previously mentioned. A particular aspect of music that can be argued is the notion of why exactly is pop music in its current state? Popular music in a sense can be argued is rap music due to the popularity of the genre. Moreover, pop music is an amalgamation of various genres blended together and can be seen in the ways in which EDM influences the beats of songs or how low-fi beats borrowed from ambient R&B. – jgabriel97 2 years ago
  • To an extent, I do agree. I think, however, it's about encouraging people to have variety in their listening repertoire. It's ok to listen to something with simple harmonies and melodies, just like it's ok to eat fast food once in a while. I think people should be encouraged to keep an open mind and have a lush pallet of genres in their playlist and also appreciate how many genres, whether classical, jazz, pop, rock, drill or whatever it may be overlap and have more in common than we often give credit for. – JRAsquith 1 year ago

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