Author Topic: Talk about... pop music!  (Read 12151 times)

Talk about... pop music!
« on: January 07, 2019, 05:55:53 PM »
I know of us on here who love Carly Rae Jepsen but outside of that I get a bit lost with modern pop. It all seems a bit soulless with the writing teams and same faces seemingly involved behind the scenes with multiple artists. So let’s find some good stuff and listen to it and talk about it.

I’ve discivered a band called Fickle Friends through just coming up on random Spotify. Band from Brighton supposedly but got nice 80s-influenced CRJ vibe to them. Finally got round to listening to the Max Tundra produced Daphne and Celeste album that has at least 3 massive quirky pop bangers on it and there is this Four Tet remix of Sigrid that sounds exactly like the stuff I was buying around the time Herbert released Bodily Functions.

https://youtu.be/IPZEi27qwUM

Re: Talk about... pop music!
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2019, 02:15:24 PM »
I realise it represents the moment that I became an old fart, but any time I hear pop these days, it all sounds the same to me. The women all have the same nasal Rhianna type of voice. Then there's the rap singers, seemingly all using that robot voice that we all took the piss out of Cher for using 20-odd years ago.

Why can't they play real music, like we had in my day?

gilbertharding

  • Not even the rudest man in the Beatles
Re: Talk about... pop music!
« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2019, 03:33:33 PM »
The singers they have now who all have the same voice which sounds like they're really belting it out and tons of melisma, until you realise that you can also hear them breathing in between every other word, which means they're actually singing really quietly. I don't like that.

I don't mind listening to Radio 1 if the kids in the office want to have it on. It's fine. Just wallpaper, same as it always was. Some of it's ok. I draw the line at Ed Sheerhan though.

Your modern day old fart hates the new music because "It does have a tune you can whistle, and you can hear the words. Not like in my day, when it was all My Bloody Valentine and Extreme Noise Terror."

Re: Talk about... pop music!
« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2019, 03:58:52 PM »
This is quite interesting on how Spotify is changing pop: https://thebaffler.com/downstream/streambait-pop-pelly

Intros are out in favour of a chorus at the start as they're less likely to result in people skipping and tracks are getting shorter to match today's attention spans.

Then there was a thing I read about the top songs from 2018 having an average of *nine* songwriters, each focussing on optimising a particular element of a track for success.

Re: Talk about... pop music!
« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2019, 04:42:15 PM »
Yeah, songwriting by committee.  Ghastly... and so very, very cynical.

Chriddof

  • Things start to happen!
Re: Talk about... pop music!
« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2019, 04:49:48 PM »
Everyone mentioned in that article ought to be put on fucking trial or something. Jesus Christ.

gilbertharding

  • Not even the rudest man in the Beatles
Re: Talk about... pop music!
« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2019, 04:57:41 PM »
It's not so unusual - your traditional 4 piece rock outfit would more than likely have a drum part devised by the drummer, and a guitar solo created by the lead guitarist, and a 'vibe' created by the producer etc, even if they were never credited.

In some cases the most unlikely people WERE credited - Andrew Loog Oldham 'co-wrote' a couple of Rolling Stones B Sides, just so he got paid (the same amount as if he had a credit on the A side by the way) - and when he was a 'producer' apparently he had to be told that electric guitars weren't literally plugged into the mains.

And then there's the songwriting credits handed to people who've been sampled, or even people who've kind of provided inspiration (or to pre-empt a law suit) - eg when Right Said Fred got a cut of Taylor Swift's recent song for what I think is no reason at all.

If your trad pop group credited all the people who actually had any input into their works you might end up with some quite long lists there too.

Pingers

  • I can produce 3,500 water voles a year if required
Re: Talk about... pop music!
« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2019, 08:23:48 PM »
We have Radio 1 on in the car for the Bin Lids, and I have discovered that I am keen on The 1975. Very simple, repetitive and lovely pop songs (some of them anyway). I particularly like Tootimetootimetootime


Re: Talk about... pop music!
« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2019, 09:43:05 PM »
We have Radio 1 on in the car for the Bin Lids, and I have discovered that I am keen on The 1975. Very simple, repetitive and lovely pop songs (some of them anyway). I particularly like Tootimetootimetootime

I think it’s impossible to not like something by 1975 as it’s so varied (How Do Draw/Petrichor) sounds like a perfectly lovely instrumental by Mùm from about 2000) but I couldn’t get into them as it seems too intentionally show-offy and elcletic for its own sake. Talented though.

Wasn’t the whole thing of SAW hits that they always start straight into instrumental of chorus? No fucking about. Never Gonna Give You Up. Straight in!!

Captain Z

  • Oh yeah my cholesterol's going down
Re: Talk about... pop music!
« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2019, 11:30:12 PM »
It's tempting to dismiss it all as autotuned, overcompressed, indistinguishable garbage but I think we're out the other side of those 2008-2014 dark ages now. I've been trying to tune into some current pop and give it a chance and have been pleasantly surprised. I like the Spanish/Latin influences that are creeping in, and the stripped-back deep house sound that echoes some early 90s dance music but with enough character to stand alone today. First two were brought to my attention from this forum:

Rosalia - Malamente
Riton & Kah-Lo - Fake ID
Clean Bandit - Baby
Jax Jones, Years & Years - Play

Pingers

  • I can produce 3,500 water voles a year if required
Re: Talk about... pop music!
« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2019, 12:17:17 AM »
I'm not bothered about that Jax Jones one but they do make some decent pop music.

This is a good one from Banx & Ranx

MiddleRabbit

  • Whatever it is you're selling, I don't want it.
Re: Talk about... pop music!
« Reply #11 on: January 10, 2019, 11:50:39 AM »
I realise it represents the moment that I became an old fart, but any time I hear pop these days, it all sounds the same to me. The women all have the same nasal Rhianna type of voice. Then there's the rap singers, seemingly all using that robot voice that we all took the piss out of Cher for using 20-odd years ago.

Why can't they play real music, like we had in my day?

It's as if they all watched Ulysses 31 and decided that Noo-noo had the best singing voice.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=G6NBAZrdjQw

58 seconds in.

Endicott

  • I've done no research
Re: Talk about... pop music!
« Reply #12 on: January 10, 2019, 02:47:52 PM »
Wasn’t the whole thing of SAW hits that they always start straight into instrumental of chorus? No fucking about. Never Gonna Give You Up. Straight in!!

Nile Rodgers is a big advocate of this. Le Freak, Good Times, We Are Family, loads of other examples.

gilbertharding

  • Not even the rudest man in the Beatles
Re: Talk about... pop music!
« Reply #13 on: January 10, 2019, 03:06:51 PM »
Wasn’t the whole thing of SAW hits that they always start straight into instrumental of chorus? No fucking about. Never Gonna Give You Up. Straight in!!

You're right - you get the tune from the chorus straight away, but the first words are (of course) "We're no strangers to love..."

I Should Be So Lucky has the same trick, and so does Too Many Broken Hearts, and I'd Rather Jack... whereas Sonia's You'll Never Stop Me from Loving You is such a porridgey mess you can't tell the verse from the chorus. Toyboy by Sinitta starts off with a rap. Respectable announces the title, but not to the tune of the chorus (well - it's not really a chorus, more of a hook).

They hadn't grown out of the general formula by 1990's Better the Devil You Know, even if that record sounds completely different.

I'm glad I researched this in an incognito window, or my YouTube suggestions would be FUCKED forever now.

Cuellar

  • She was having sly love with a midnight creeper
Re: Talk about... pop music!
« Reply #14 on: January 10, 2019, 03:12:16 PM »
eg when Right Said Fred got a cut of Taylor Swift's recent song for what I think is no reason at all.


Yes I also thought that was a bit much.


Re: Talk about... pop music!
« Reply #16 on: January 10, 2019, 05:01:08 PM »
One thing I've noticed about modern songwriting is that many songs no longer seem to have endings. I mean obviously they stop at some point, but very often there's no climax or resolution to a given song, it just chugs along to the last bar and then stops dead.

I think this may be a consequence of most pop music now being conceived and recorded entirely in the digital realm rather than a group of musicians playing together in a room, so there aren't the kind of flourishes you'd get with a live band, I guess? Just a producer squinting at a timeline and going "ehh, that'll do."

Adele's Hello is an example of what I mean. Final chorus, stops dead like the song just fell off a cliff.

BlodwynPig

  • Throwing two dogs at a goblin
Re: Talk about... pop music!
« Reply #17 on: January 10, 2019, 05:21:07 PM »
Always like a fade out, especially when it sounds like the best bit is happening. Can’t remember which track, but Yello had a song where the fade out had the start of a fabulous, blazing Chico Hablas guitar solo

Re: Talk about... pop music!
« Reply #18 on: January 10, 2019, 05:28:54 PM »
The last few guitar notes in Zevon's Johnny Strikes Up The Band are the best thing he ever released

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kr0zWFKz4QE

purlieu

  • Woo-hoo, Lord Nimon!
Re: Talk about... pop music!
« Reply #19 on: January 10, 2019, 08:02:22 PM »
It's not so unusual - your traditional 4 piece rock outfit would more than likely have a drum part devised by the drummer, and a guitar solo created by the lead guitarist, and a 'vibe' created by the producer etc, even if they were never credited.

In some cases the most unlikely people WERE credited - Andrew Loog Oldham 'co-wrote' a couple of Rolling Stones B Sides, just so he got paid (the same amount as if he had a credit on the A side by the way) - and when he was a 'producer' apparently he had to be told that electric guitars weren't literally plugged into the mains.

And then there's the songwriting credits handed to people who've been sampled, or even people who've kind of provided inspiration (or to pre-empt a law suit) - eg when Right Said Fred got a cut of Taylor Swift's recent song for what I think is no reason at all.

If your trad pop group credited all the people who actually had any input into their works you might end up with some quite long lists there too.
Agreed. I always see that daft meme comparing some simplistic Beyonce lyric, with a huge load of songwriters, with Bohemian Rhapsody, with Freddie Mercury as songwriter, and think "nah, bollocks". Freddie didn't write the guitar solos, nor did he arrange all the harmonies himself, come up with the bass and drum parts; neither did all those Beyonce writers come up with the lyrics - half of them will have worked on the track itself, and were given credit where it's due.

I do get why people don't like the whole 'writers room' approach to songwriting - it flies totally in the face of authenticity in music - but for me, if it comes up with bloody good songs, then I don't particularly care.

One thing I've noticed about modern songwriting is that many songs no longer seem to have endings. I mean obviously they stop at some point, but very often there's no climax or resolution to a given song, it just chugs along to the last bar and then stops dead.

I think this may be a consequence of most pop music now being conceived and recorded entirely in the digital realm rather than a group of musicians playing together in a room, so there aren't the kind of flourishes you'd get with a live band, I guess? Just a producer squinting at a timeline and going "ehh, that'll do."

Adele's Hello is an example of what I mean. Final chorus, stops dead like the song just fell off a cliff.
I've noticed this in quite a bit of music recently. There's literally no ending at all. The first person I spotted doing it regularly, oddly, was Max Richter. All of his pieces just seem to run out. There are plenty of bands doing it these days too, but it seems very common in pop. I don't mind it, but having grown up in the era of Proper Music, it always takes me by surprise a little.

Right, good pop tunes and that, as that's what the thread's about. Foxes and Charli XCX are the two up there with Carly Rae Jepsen for me. Both are trained musicians who co-write and co-produce all their own stuff too.

Foxes tends to go for a very big, cinematic sound. It works a lot better on her debut, which is pretty electronic, while her second album tones it down to a more singer-songwriter approach which just doesn't quite set sparks in places.
Let Go For Tonight: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pecj5GGjQi8
Talking to Ghosts: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TmNTkFR9Sio
Body Talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VAerYplzZUE
Rise Up: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PyX7lu2GzdE
All I Need: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f5MEDNlRsG4

Charli XCX is bloody great. She's had more commercial success as a songwriter than a performer, but three of her four albums are fantastic. Her second album, Sucker, is largely pop-punk influenced and she has quite rightly disowned it. Her last two albums have actually been 'mixtapes', but as they were released as a double LP set I'm counting them as albums.
Take My Hand: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S7cOt-xFU8Y
Backseat (with Carly Rae Jepsen): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hiGqKwy4yM0
1999: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6-v1b9waHWY
You (Ha Ha Ha): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qtrHH1BDlzk
White Roses: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YaHt106IqkY
Boom Clap: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AOPMlIIg_38

Back with more pop later in the thread.

Re: Talk about... pop music!
« Reply #20 on: January 10, 2019, 08:08:53 PM »
Always like a fade out, especially when it sounds like the best bit is happening. Can’t remember which track, but Yello had a song where the fade out had the start of a fabulous, blazing Chico Hablas guitar solo

End of Wilson Pickett's Hey Jude where they've SLAMMED the horns in and Duane Allman has been noodling away, it always feels like they've faded something even better off the end.

Diana Ross' Upside Down fades out as the guitar's just gotten much more powerful.

MiddleRabbit

  • Whatever it is you're selling, I don't want it.
Re: Talk about... pop music!
« Reply #21 on: January 10, 2019, 10:20:39 PM »


I do get why people don't like the whole 'writers room' approach to songwriting - it flies totally in the face of authenticity in music - but for me, if it comes up with bloody good songs, then I don't particularly care.
I've noticed this in quite a bit of music recently. There's literally no ending at all. The first person I spotted doing it regularly, oddly, was Max Richter. All of his pieces just seem to run out. There are plenty of bands doing it these days too, but it seems very common in pop. I don't mind it, but having grown up in the era of Proper Music, it always takes me by surprise a little.

I think that's the point at which we move from 'writing' a song to 'arranging' one.

The problem comes when you find things like Andy Summers' guitar part on "Every Breath You Take" gets sampled.  Sting didn't come up with the guitar part, but nor did Andy Summers come up with the chord changes.  Mind you, Sting was hardly the first songwriter to put those chords in that order either.

As songwriting brings in so much money from publishing, as opposed to mechanical royalties (just playing on the record), bands often credit everybody in order to keep the band together.  Gene Clark turning up to band practice in a flash sports car as a result of having written the b side of "Mr Tambourine Man" (and I'll Feel A Whole Lot Better, et al) led to resentments.

Same thing with Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel.  After they had a bit of success and Steve had gotten a lot of money (as the sole) writer, the rest of the original Cockney Rebel buggered off, which lead to him writing 'Make Me Smile (Come Up & See Me) in response.  Somewhat ironically.

As for Queen, there was a big hoo-hah (internally) because Roger whatshisname had the b-side (I'm In Love With My Car) of the Bohemian Rhapsody single.  The rules being, 50:50 split, even though nobody gave a shit about the b side.  The result being, eventually, that Queen eventually went for a four way royalty split for everything, regardless of who wrote what.

Even without the money situation, local, financially unsuccessful bands (which is my only real personal experience of any of this) still argue about credit when there's no money involved.  For me, writing songs was the joy of being in a band and I wrote alone, with a partner, and with the whole band.  In fact, in some bands, the only way to get a song worked at in rehearsal was to have one of the more influential members in the room with you so that you had someone else fighting your corner - so to speak.

Egos and bands, eh?  There's a topic about songs that you enjoy playing on an instrument elsewhere and I keep thinking about writing in that thread, but it'd be opening up a can of worms (in my head only, really) because - having played in covers bands as well, then you start getting to the point of who suggested playing a song somehow belonging to that person.  Then, of course, there are the songs that musos like playing and the songs that punters actually want to hear. 

Here's the thing, people in bands - even cover bands - want (basically) one thing and that thing is: people dancing.  If people don't dance, it's bad.  Men will dance, but only if women are.  To get girls dancing, basically, you're looking at 60s soul music - in pubs, anyway. 

The other issue is that people in bands also want the dweeby blokes to be impressed by your skills on your instrument and the songs that impress dweeby men (who never dance) and the songs that get girls dancing tend not to be the same songs.

Anyway, I'm veering wildly off course here...

Soz.

Re: Talk about... pop music!
« Reply #22 on: January 10, 2019, 11:20:24 PM »
Always like a fade out, especially when it sounds like the best bit is happening. Can’t remember which track, but Yello had a song where the fade out had the start of a fabulous, blazing Chico Hablas guitar solo

Wichita Linesman is my favourite example as the fade out matches the sentiment of the song and is not just there for the sake of it. It’s a bit theoretical but musically the melody never resolves to the tonic and instead goes to the dominant (I think) on the word ”line”. It suggests musically the song never “goes home” (the tonic) and just keeps looping after it’s faded out which adds to the lonlieness and yearning of the lyrics.

canadagoose

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Re: Talk about... pop music!
« Reply #23 on: January 10, 2019, 11:29:32 PM »
We have Radio 1 on in the car for the Bin Lids, and I have discovered that I am keen on The 1975. Very simple, repetitive and lovely pop songs (some of them anyway). I particularly like Tootimetootimetootime


Oh yes! I'm glad someone else likes them. Have you heard much of I like it when you sleep...?

Edit: Forgot to mention I introduced my 58-year-old Dad to them and he wasn't exactly a fan. Not everyone's cup of tea, I guess.

Re: Talk about... pop music!
« Reply #24 on: January 10, 2019, 11:29:49 PM »
I like that Foxes stuff but agree with previous poster about THAT voice man. I like quirky production so that Daphne and Celeste stuff is perfect for me but also to me their singing is sounds almost k-pop.

I absolutely love this:

https://youtu.be/vXhfvUxvdwk

Re: Talk about... pop music!
« Reply #25 on: January 10, 2019, 11:34:51 PM »
Oh yes! I'm glad someone else likes them. Have you heard much of I like it when you sleep...?

Edit: Forgot to mention I introduced my 58-year-old Dad to them and he wasn't exactly a fan. Not everyone's cup of tea, I guess.

Ah. Thanks. I heard the actual song ”I like you...” in Eldon Square ages ago and had no idea why HMV was playing Jeff Samuel (inassumed it wasnt Jeff Samuel but sounded like it). Am going to have to dig deeper. They are massive aren’t they?

canadagoose

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Re: Talk about... pop music!
« Reply #26 on: January 10, 2019, 11:37:29 PM »
Ah. Thanks. I heard the actual song ”I like you...” in Eldon Square ages ago and had no idea why HMV was playing Jeff Samuel (inassumed it wasnt Jeff Samuel but sounded like it). Am going to have to dig deeper. They are massive aren’t they?
In modern terms, I'd definitely say so. A Brief Insight into Online Relationships, which came out about a month ago, hit number 1 on the album charts, as did their last two albums.

Talking of I Like It When You Sleep..., "The Sound" is one of the most resilient earworms I've ever come across. Seriously, I was singing it first thing in the morning for months after I first heard it. I still love it.

Re: Talk about... pop music!
« Reply #27 on: January 10, 2019, 11:43:14 PM »
https://youtu.be/pf7NAIj0WMw

The bit at 5:20 reminds me of this:

https://vimeo.com/11900102
 

non capisco

  • Going through the motions like a champ.
Re: Talk about... pop music!
« Reply #28 on: January 11, 2019, 01:02:33 AM »
I like that Foxes stuff but agree with previous poster about THAT voice man. I like quirky production so that Daphne and Celeste stuff is perfect for me but also to me their singing is sounds almost k-pop.

I absolutely love this:

https://youtu.be/vXhfvUxvdwk

Oh, I really like that, cheers! 

Also they've both aged well since Johnny Vaughn was shouting "SILENCE, IMP!" at one of them on The Big Breakfast 18 years ago.

chveik

  • I will monetize your eyeballs
Re: Talk about... pop music!
« Reply #29 on: January 11, 2019, 04:14:25 AM »
the essence of contemporary pop, in one song:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z2k0DdZDlqo