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This generation is witnessing a decline in “good” pop music

Pop music in 2015 is very different from what it was in the 20th century. In fact, it has gotten a lot worse. Pop music has went from Cyndi Lauper and Michael Jackson to Ariana Grande, Meghan Trainor, One Direction, and 5 Seconds of Summer and it is certainly a tragic transition. Photo is from public domain.
Pop music in 2015 is very different from what it was in the 20th century. In fact, it has gotten a lot worse. Pop music has went from Cyndi Lauper and Michael Jackson to Ariana Grande, Meghan Trainor, One Direction, and 5 Seconds of Summer and it is certainly a tragic transition. Photo is from public domain.

by Leanna Tabora, junior entertainment editor

Pop music in 2015 is very different from what it was in the 20th century. In fact, it has gotten a lot worse. Pop music has went from Cyndi Lauper and Michael Jackson to Ariana Grande, Meghan Trainor, One Direction, and 5 Seconds of Summer and it is certainly a tragic transition. Photo is from public domain.
Pop music in 2015 is very different from what it was in the 20th century. In fact, it has gotten a lot worse. Pop music has went from Cyndi Lauper and Michael Jackson to Ariana Grande, Meghan Trainor, One Direction, and 5 Seconds of Summer and it is certainly a tragic transition. Photo is from public domain.

Ever since pop music originated in the 1930’s with “Swing” style music, it has become the most popular genre of music in society. From big pop artists like Frank Sinatra and Michael Jackson to Ariana Grande, there is no doubt that pop music has started to decrease its fine and unique quality this decade.

When listeners of pop music turn on their radios or stream pop music today, they’re not listening to the originality and distinct pop music that first originated in the 1930’s. Yes, sounds and topics discussed in music have evolved to a large extent since then, but there is barely any evidence of pop music worth listening to anymore. Lyrics, influence, appearance, and audiences have had a major negative effect on the genre.

Overall, pop music today is not as enjoyable as it was in the past, and that’s mostly because there is barely any evidence of artists releasing music (mostly as singles) that stand out among the rest. Everything is focused on production and instrumentals so much that lyrics become so repetitive, cliche, and tiresome to listen to over and over again.

“Although pop music isn’t super amazing right now, there are songs that still stand out because they encourage people to be confident and stand up for themselves,” sophomore Jackie Catalano said.

When pop music began to enter its prime in the late 20th century, there were so many meaningful and wholesome songs that immediately caught the attention of society to make pop music into a major deal.

Even though there were songs that weren’t necessarily fully “clean” at times, they still had much more of a purpose with greater/original lyrics, instrumentals, stronger vocals, less autotune, etc than modern pop songs. The decline has been very obvious lately and it’s surprising that not a lot of people are noticing.

For example, Jackson’s “Man In The Mirror” was a huge pop hit of the 1980’s filled with extraordinary and lyrics beyond just an average “good” pop song. It’s about self-reflection; a beloved child star growing up into a strong sense of social involvement and worldly compassion.

Now, there are barely any songs that have a strong meaning with strong lyrics the way “Man in the Mirror” does. Most songs entering the Billboard Hot 100 are about partying, drugs, sex, etc and it’s truly horrible.

“Man in the Mirror” goes, “I’m starting with the man in the mirror/I’m asking him to change his ways/And no message could have been clearer..” It’s funny because now, lyrics are the total opposite. In Miley Cyrus’ 2013 hit, “We Can’t Stop,” she sings, “And everyone in line in the bathroom, Trying to get a line in the bathroom, We all so turnt up here..” In this lyric, she’s referencing and promoting the use of drugs to party and have fun.

First of all, her lyrics aren’t even correct English. Second of all, it’s so horrible that pop music has turned into something that is completely irrelevant to society. It’s so hard to distinct what exactly happened between the time of Jackson’s music and Cyrus’, but it is easy to see that it’s the tragic downfall in worthy and wonderful pop music.

Even the sounds and instrumentals of these more-focused-on-production based songs are so irritating because most of them are samples and attempts to copy and be like legendary music from the 1980’s when pop music became a lot more mainstream. It’s great to bring back music that everyone once loved but it’s also tiring to listen to unoriginal and already done music.

Recently, Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams were sued for illegally sampling one of Marvin Gaye’s songs, “Got To Give It Up.” The similarities between the songs were the bass lines, keyboard parts, vocal lines, melodies, and harmonies. This easily shows that pop artists today are so quick to take what legendary artists created and fail at it.

“It’s visible that there is very little distinction between the sound of pop now and then. However, you still have your typical boy bands and artists in the genre even though artists now and then are generally not too much of the same,” geometry teacher Mrs. Johnston said.

As soon as listeners of pop music immediately notice an artist’s appearance over their music, that artist is usually given attention and fame even if their music isn’t worth listening to.

Artists such as One Direction, Austin Mahone, and Charli XCX are a few examples of artists who have never displayed any type of unique talent to the world but are handed tons of fame and popularity due to their “hot” physical appearances. Not until recently, pop music has mostly become focused on looks rather than actual talent and abilities to a point where it’s tragic.

However, there’s no doubt that there are artists who aren’t completely loved for their looks. Ed Sheeran and Lorde are examples of major pop artists who have received great attention for their distinctive music. They are only a few of the major pop artists that actually maintain great talent today, which is the obvious reason why their looks aren’t considered much into their popularity.

Their extraordinary works as artists are the reason they don’t need to be loved mostly for their looks. If it was a case where these artists released such horrible pop music that society is witnessing today, than their looks would probably be the only reason they are loved, like One Direction, Austin Mahone, Charli XCX, etc.

In the 1980’s when Prince, Madonna, and Jackson were ruling pop music, physical sales of albums were extremely high. Today, artists are struggling to debut their albums with more than 200,000 physical copies.  When pop music was released in the 80’s, artists would easily sell beyond that number. If pop artist Taylor Swift can sell 1.287 million copies of an album just in its debut week, so can every other pop artist. They just need to release better music.

In the list of the Best Selling Albums of All Time, all of the artists previously listed including Britney Spears and the Backstreet Boys are a few pop artists who sold record breaking pop album sales. This is because they released worthy and unique pop music. It’s very ironic that there are no modern pop artists even at the very bottom of the list, and that is because no one is interested in purchasing such boring and annoying music.

“I don’t see pop music continuing to dominate the music industry. Rap music is beginning to win right now, and that is because people are losing less interest in pop music and gaining more in the hip-hop/rap genre,” freshman Nyla Mccalla said.

The Billboard 200, Hot 100, and airplay charts are full of pop artists, and it’s hard for that to ever change considering how dominant the genre has become to the world. It has dominated since the 20th century, and its popularity seems to increase rapidly as the years go on. Society may never witness the disappearance of pop music, but society has definitely witnessed the disappearance in “good” pop music.

“Everybody likes to know what’s new and upcoming, and that’s what pop music offers. It will always be in style no matter what, and that’s why people will continue to love it,” junior Jenna Kahn said.

Instead of turning on the radio to constantly listen to the same annoying (mostly pop) songs over and over again, it would be better to purchase copies of pop songs/albums that don’t include repetitive lyrics, failed copies of songs from legendary artists, and most of all: stand out in the genre by going beyond every single feature of “good” pop music.

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