Author Topic: Talk about... pop music!  (Read 12055 times)

gilbertharding

  • Not even the rudest man in the Beatles
Re: Talk about... pop music!
« Reply #30 on: January 11, 2019, 11:26:40 AM »
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.


Again, off topic, but I had to check what the b-side of Mr Tambourine Man was... and having found out, I have to say I'd have bought him the sports car myself if I had the money, just for I Knew I'd Want You. Has there been a Byrds thread? Are they the band people are thinking of when they say the Beatles are overrated? Probably not...

Brundle-Fly

  • I'm so Avant-garden variety
Re: Talk about... pop music!
« Reply #31 on: January 11, 2019, 12:24:05 PM »

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."

But MBV and ENT didn't trouble the pop charts. That is the type of fart who would have hated pop music thirty years ago too.

gilbertharding

  • Not even the rudest man in the Beatles
Re: Talk about... pop music!
« Reply #32 on: January 11, 2019, 12:30:07 PM »
Thank you, Greil Marcus.

Re: Talk about... pop music!
« Reply #33 on: January 11, 2019, 04:35:12 PM »
For me the defining trait of modern pop is that it's just all a bit "by numbers", doesn't take too many risks, and is overly reliant on production gimmicks like vocal processing.  Nearly all songs seem to be based around the same fairly basic chord sequences, with the emphasis more on creating a distinct 'texture' rather than an inventive melody or chord progression.

First thing which springs to mind is that Ed Sheeran one which goes on and on the same for four minutes (Shape of You).  Same four chords throughout - C#m, F#m, A, B

But I don't really listen to modern pop any more, so let's see if I've got it wrong. Let's take a look at this week's Top 10.

Ava Max: Sweet but Psycho - F#, C#, G#, A#m all the way through
Ariana Grande: thank u, next - verse: F#, Adim, Bbm7, C#7; chorus: F#, F7, Bbm, C# - actually, I quite like this one
Sunflower: Post Malone: basically D, G, Em, G, but it has some good production and it's quite listenable (but it's from the Into the Spider-Verse OST so I guess you'd expect a higher bar, right?)
Miley Cyrus: Nothing Breaks Like a Heart - verse: Gm, F, Gm; chorus: Eb, Cm, Gm - also not actually bad... might have to rethink my opinion.
Wow - Post Malone: Fucking awful. Synth bass, drums and vocals. Thin texture; just sounds like a monotone dirge to me. Maybe I was right before.
Not even going to consider Baby Shark. Actually I'm going to stop there.

Obviously there's nothing new about this: people have been regurgitating the same chord sequences for decades. But I think there used to be a lot more inventiveness in decades past, and people used to find different ways to make their songs stand out.  Think what you like about Stock, Aitken and Waterman in the 80s, but they had a way of crafting songs which you barely hear any more.

Take, for example, "I Should Be So Lucky" (yes, please take it)

Comes straight in with an instrumental chorus in the key of C (although sounds a bit like F).  First verse switches straight into the totally unrelated key of A major, then modulates to B major, and then finds a smart way to go back to its home key of C (F) in the chorus, via Em, A, Dm, G.  It's intelligent songwriting, but doesn't sound clever.  It just works.

My ear is always drawn to these clever musical twists, and for my taste, the pop music of the 70s, 80s and even the 90s was a lot more sophisticated than that of today.  Is it because now anyone with a PC and a copy of Fruity Loops can start recording music, while before it was a costly, niche endeavour which was only pursued by the most talented few?  I don't think so; it's a fashion thing as well.  Tastes change, and I think we probably would've got where we are now regardless.  But for me, it's kinda "dumbed down" music.

Either that or I'm just getting old.  Kids of today, listening to this appalling noise.

Re: Talk about... pop music!
« Reply #34 on: January 11, 2019, 04:45:28 PM »
I just think modern pop lacks a bit of magic. Almost a bit too grown up. Lots of talent but like kids generally maybe grow up a bit too quickly so tries to be older in vibe but less subtle and intersting. Speaking of feeling old...

It’s hard not to feel very old but spent the day trying to work out what the vibe is with k-pop bands. The boys all seem to be taking their template from The Backstreet Boys and nothing particularly interesting but there is loads of subtle differences in the girl bands. TWICE appear to most closely match the type of thing I like as it’s more fun and this video is freaking me out a bit. Is there any computer magic here or are the cuts so clean because their military training is such that every performance is exactly the same.

https://youtu.be/iLCnGK9kCdU

BLACKPINK are not bad but a bit too urban/US sounding for me with their Trap cymbals going on.

https://youtu.be/cxNIewNXpcg


BlodwynPig

  • Throwing two dogs at a goblin
Re: Talk about... pop music!
« Reply #35 on: January 11, 2019, 04:48:08 PM »
Girls Aloud - Girl Overboard is for me the pinnacle of manufactured pop. Xenomania were immense. No doubt about it.

Re: Talk about... pop music!
« Reply #36 on: January 11, 2019, 04:50:22 PM »
"Call the Shots" is another superb one of theirs.

purlieu

  • Woo-hoo, Lord Nimon!
Re: Talk about... pop music!
« Reply #37 on: January 11, 2019, 05:02:49 PM »
Chord progression stuff
Carly Rae Jepsen's 'Making the Most of the Night' is a great example of a terrifically written pop song.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gBOhnT6bUaY
Verse, bridge and chorus all head in directions you don't quite expect them to. The best example I can think of, although there are quite a few like this around.

There are a lot of four-chords-repeated-throughout songs though, and I think this is partially because a lot of contemporary pop writing and production is rooted in dance music and hip-hop rather than 'traditional' songwriting, where creating a repetitive backing groove is more important than writing a song that would stand up just as well if you played it accompanied by an acoustic guitar. I also totally agree with the thing about creating a texture: there are a lot of pop artists whose music is beautifully crafted, but I just find goes in one ear and out of the other for me: the likes of Tove Lo and Halsey, who seem to have a fair amount of acclaim (and fall into the 'semi-serious artists rather than purely manufactured' category of many of my favourite contemporary pop singers), but no matter how many times I listen to them I just come away thinking 'there's no interesting song here'.

I just think modern pop lacks a bit of magic. Almost a bit too grown up. Lots of talent but like kids generally maybe grow up a bit too quickly so tries to be older in vibe but less subtle and intersting
Pop has been very 'serious' in recent years, I agree. It's something I could accuse two of my favourites - Foxes and Lorde - of doing, although I think they're both excellent at it. But there's currently a tilt towards pop singers having to have a lot of meaning and coming across as serious singer-songwriters, and away from actually having lots of fun. It's one thing I love about Charli XCX at the minute: she's gone very 'bubblegum' in her approach (which she says she always wanted to do, but felt too self-conscious, hence earlier more 'serious' work), but kept away from vapidity by working with cutting edge producers like Sophie and the PC Music collective. At times it feels like she's the only pop singer around who isn't constantly boasting she's influenced by Radiohead and Kate Bush.



Girls Aloud - there are just too bloody many songs. I hate late '90s / early '00s pop - shitty keyboard presets and infantile lyrics - but it got a boost in 2003 with the duel releases of Britney's In the Zone and Girls Aloud's debut. There's a run of tracks on their 2012 best of, Ten, that is up there with Madonna's Immaculate Collection in terms of perfect pop singles:
The Promise
The Loving Kind
Untouchable
Sexy! No No No...
Call the Shots
Can't Speak French
Something Kinda Ooooh
Biology
The Show

The last three there are from Xenomania's 'put five different choruses together and call it a song' era.

BlodwynPig

  • Throwing two dogs at a goblin
Re: Talk about... pop music!
« Reply #38 on: January 11, 2019, 05:24:32 PM »
Its a shame the girls solo careers revert to type. Cheryl’s stuff is dull electropop/balladeering, kimberley did a shows/big band one show pleasing album, nicola’s effort was quite dull, dunno if Sarah did anything outside St Trinian soundtrack. Only Nadine’s recently released single had some magic. Her vocals were always the highlight anyway

purlieu

  • Woo-hoo, Lord Nimon!
Re: Talk about... pop music!
« Reply #39 on: January 11, 2019, 05:40:24 PM »
Oh, I love Nicola's album. A few of the tracks in the first half are slightly throwaway, but some of the more personal stuff as it goes on is wonderful, and tracks like 'I' and 'Fish Out of Water' sound completely unlike any mainstream pop I've heard. Her voice is a bit shrill too, which gives the whole thing a very slightly demented feel I find. The album definitely feels like a personal record rather than a manufactured pop one (she co-wrote most of it and picked all her producers; it was a commercial flop but she seemed very proud of it) which gives it an edge over some of the other members' solo stuff. She always seems really down to earth and totally un-pop-star-like in interviews, and has a pretty successful career as a songwriter now, so it was fitting that her album was the least conventional of them all.

Cheryl's fourth album, Only Human, is pretty solid actually, which surprised me given how utterly generic the first two were (the half decent moments ruined by will.i.am's excessive autotune), and her third album basically being a shit dubstep album. It feels much more like a proper pop album, less electronic.

BlodwynPig

  • Throwing two dogs at a goblin
Re: Talk about... pop music!
« Reply #40 on: January 11, 2019, 05:49:01 PM »
I’ll give only human a listen.

Tbh, i cant remember Nicola’s album - but i did note it was non-standard

Re: Talk about... pop music!
« Reply #41 on: January 11, 2019, 05:50:38 PM »
Ginger Girl Aloud's album was great.


Pingers

  • I can produce 3,500 water voles a year if required
Re: Talk about... pop music!
« Reply #42 on: January 11, 2019, 06:11:20 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

I like that, and they are gloriously daffy

Re: Talk about... pop music!
« Reply #43 on: January 11, 2019, 06:26:09 PM »
I really like Nicola Robert’s voice. There are “Engine room sessions“ on Spotify version of her album and her voice is great. Actually the thing I really like about her album is how clear the her voice and lyrics are.

Gladiator is the tune I like. It’s got all sorts of familiar hooks  and even lyrically it reminds me of other songs but it’s all put together in a way that it’s bough if it’s own thing. That live player keyboard fill thing makes me smile in its own right.

BlodwynPig

  • Throwing two dogs at a goblin
Re: Talk about... pop music!
« Reply #44 on: January 11, 2019, 06:54:58 PM »
OK, I'm going home to have a long, hard think about that album.

purlieu

  • Woo-hoo, Lord Nimon!
Re: Talk about... pop music!
« Reply #45 on: January 11, 2019, 07:02:18 PM »
I really should get a copy of the 'Yo-Yo' single with the Engine Room Sessions as b-sides. The other two singles from the album had b-sides on them that I haven't heard either. Shall remedy this quickly.

Re: Talk about... pop music!
« Reply #46 on: January 11, 2019, 08:06:44 PM »
I know Some Girls has some love on here but that Rachel Stevens album is full of crackers. Who would have thunk it. Love how production on these tunes just teases a hint of something you know.

Just enough of Europe Endless in this:

https://youtu.be/l5esBnO9SDk

And Joe Jackson in this:

https://youtu.be/ycmQpXWwT0c

TBF the latter is a rip off isn’t it? I’d get the lawyers on it.

BlodwynPig

  • Throwing two dogs at a goblin
Re: Talk about... pop music!
« Reply #47 on: January 11, 2019, 08:08:48 PM »
I really should get a copy of the 'Yo-Yo' single with the Engine Room Sessions as b-sides. The other two singles from the album had b-sides on them that I haven't heard either. Shall remedy this quickly.

I have signed hard copies.

purlieu

  • Woo-hoo, Lord Nimon!
Re: Talk about... pop music!
« Reply #48 on: January 11, 2019, 08:14:06 PM »
There's a double entendre if there ever was one.

Re: Talk about... pop music!
« Reply #49 on: January 12, 2019, 02:46:16 PM »
Right moved onto PC Music stuff via the Danny Harle CRJ collaborations. So we got Charlie XCX with A. G. Cook and then Im a bit lost. Started with GFOTY and it’s gloriously wacky (I spent my late teens listening to Rephlex and it doesn’t seem a million miles away from it).

Note to all that 1975 aside everything discussed so far has been female. Can men do pop anymore?

BlodwynPig

  • Throwing two dogs at a goblin
Re: Talk about... pop music!
« Reply #50 on: January 12, 2019, 02:58:21 PM »
Right moved onto PC Music stuff via the Danny Harle CRJ collaborations. So we got Charlie XCX with A. G. Cook and then Im a bit lost. Started with GFOTY and it’s gloriously wacky (I spent my late teens listening to Rephlex and it doesn’t seem a million miles away from it).

Note to all that 1975 aside everything discussed so far has been female. Can men do pop anymore?

Check out Steven Wilson's Permanating.

Re: Talk about... pop music!
« Reply #51 on: January 12, 2019, 07:11:37 PM »
I like that. Less keen on rest of album and he must have sold his soul. 52 years old going on 25!!

I’ve ended up listening to Hannah Diamond all afternoon. It’s really lush.

 

chveik

  • I will monetize your eyeballs
Re: Talk about... pop music!
« Reply #52 on: January 12, 2019, 08:50:13 PM »
Right moved onto PC Music stuff via the Danny Harle CRJ collaborations. So we got Charlie XCX with A. G. Cook and then Im a bit lost.

HEY QT

Re: Talk about... pop music!
« Reply #53 on: January 12, 2019, 09:00:23 PM »
Quite liking Carla J Easton at the minute lads.

Re: Talk about... pop music!
« Reply #54 on: January 14, 2019, 06:33:07 PM »
Quite liking Carla J Easton at the minute lads.

It’s driving me crackers. Her voice reminds me of something else really specific. Any idea? Good stuff though. She’s playing Durham in May do will try to go along.

BlodwynPig

  • Throwing two dogs at a goblin
Re: Talk about... pop music!
« Reply #55 on: January 14, 2019, 10:17:32 PM »
After hearing the track on OITNB I got their album and its one of the only recent pop albums without a duff track

MUNA - I Know a Place

Re: Talk about... pop music!
« Reply #56 on: January 15, 2019, 09:26:13 PM »
Sorry to bump my own thread but I’m obsessed with Hannah Diamond and it’s why I started it in the first place. Also I realised that Carla J Easton’s Dreamers On The Run reminds me of Earth’s From
the Zodiacal Light.

https://youtu.be/3QOT9splqUA

https://youtu.be/71nROr1yLgI

Which is no bad thing. I thought it was Mouse On Mars’ Send Me Shivers but that was just the processing.

Re: Talk about... pop music!
« Reply #57 on: January 15, 2019, 09:27:19 PM »
After hearing the track on OITNB I got their album and its one of the only recent pop albums without a duff track

MUNA - I Know a Place

Did you listen back to Nicola?

gilbertharding

  • Not even the rudest man in the Beatles
Re: Talk about... pop music!
« Reply #58 on: January 15, 2019, 09:40:23 PM »
Lot of talk about Charli XCX. I think she's great and all, but my first exposure to her was a few years ago when I saw her Glastonbury set on telly, so perhaps I have a wrong impression. Cracking songs though, and blimey she's... um... nice.

BlodwynPig

  • Throwing two dogs at a goblin
Re: Talk about... pop music!
« Reply #59 on: January 15, 2019, 09:48:57 PM »
Did you listen back to Nicola?

Nearly, not yet though...listened to 70s jazz proggers Back Door instead