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Pop Music in the Last Decade

Started by DrGreggles, November 24, 2021, 08:54:50 AM

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A conversation that came up last night.

I'm of the opinion that the past decade has been the best for pure pop music since the (early) 80s, as YouTube/streaming/etc benefit (what would have previously been) the 3 minute pop single and content is being primed for that market.

My mate disagrees, claiming that the lack of a proper singles chart or Top of the Pops mean that the record companies are more interested in album sales now because of the relatively low income generated from streaming individual songs.

So, let's have a few suggestions of what I can stick in a playlist in order to prove him wrong and, more importantly, me right.


You're both right.

Pop has been as good as it ever was, with an incredible diversity of sounds and voices.

But it doesn't occupy the central space in culture it once did, and you have to go a bit out of your way to find out what's going on, whereas it used to be rammed down your throat so even if you weren't into music your life was still kind of defined by the charts. It's basically as important now as Bake Off or Gardener's World.

One of my favourites from the last year or so: 


Quote from: sweeper on November 24, 2021, 09:33:13 AMyou have to go a bit out of your way to find out what's going on

That's definitely true, but also incredibly easy to do.


Quote from: DrGreggles on November 24, 2021, 09:45:31 AMThat's definitely true, but also incredibly easy to do.

Yeah, but 20 years ago you didn't even have to do that. Pop music is now of interest to people who are into music, whereas it used to be a lifestyle accessory for everybody, regardless, and was more important because of that.

Does anyone still get or give the latest Now for xmas?

the science eel

Yeah, I mean, you could just go about your life in 1981 and you'd still know what was in the charts. It was all around you like a fluffy cloud whether you liked it or not.

Anyway I'd take issue with the main idea because I think pop music these days is fucking shit.

Is pop music still endlessly focus-grouped and written by committee to a precise formula which re-uses the same tried and trusted chord progression and the same structure as every other hit song?  If so, we haven't made any progress yet.


Grandpa here likes Grimes' 'Oblivion'. A decade old now, ffs.

And from my generation there's Beck still churning out some great stuff. Not listened to any full albums from recent years but mighty impressed by some of the singles from Colors.

the science eel

Quote from: Glebe on November 24, 2021, 11:14:44 AMAnd from my generation there's Beck still churning out some great stuff. Not listened to any full albums from recent years but mighty impressed by some of the singles from Colors.

love it but he looks ficked


The Culture Bunker

I concur with the comments above about how pop has lost a lot of it's cultural ubiquity. Think I've said before, but when my dad was the age I am now (40), he would have recognised a lot of the biggest acts, like Madonna or Michael Jackson, while now I couldn't hum you two bars of an Adele or Ed Sheeran song, because I never watch music on TV or listen to the radio.

However, the last 18 months have seen me buy more contemporary music than I have in years, the vast majority via Bandcamp, and it's largely what I would call "pop", even if that's more in style terms than sales. Bands like the Midnight, Paradise Walk and At 1980 have really got me excited about finding new music again - it might just be fairly standard electronic pop to plenty, but it's somehow really click with me.

Pauline Walnuts


Is contemporary pop the sort of auto tuned, ramped up to the max, cacophony one hears in Kingdom Of Sweets or JD Sports? Oo, I don't like that, if it is.


Is Beck considered current pop these days? Like the tune though.


Quote from: Brundle-Fly on November 24, 2021, 04:46:26 PMIs Beck considered current pop these days? Like the tune though.

Suppose not. He's still ploughing away though.


The rise in what I suppose gets called "alt pop" has allowed for a decade of excellent pop music with very little of it gaining much commercial momentum. The charts are in the worst state they've ever been, probably, with only the very occasional worthwhile track getting anywhere - the last one that really caught my ear was Dua Lipa's 'New Rules', which was years ago now - so you end up with people like Carly Rae Jepsen, Charli XCX and Halsey taking over creative control over their music and it mostly being bought by 'music fans' rather than casual listeners, while there are countless others who've come from alternative music backgrounds making straight-forward pop music - Chvrches, Self Esteem, etc. - but retaining much of their original fanbase. So the album charts are full of this stuff, while the singles charts are largely filled with the latest collaborative single by Ed Sheeran ft. Jess Glynne & Eminem.

Oh, and in terms of recommendations, I've popped together a little YouTube playlist just now:
Carly Rae Jepsen - Making the Most of the Night
Kimbra - Old Flame
Lorde - Buzzcut Season
Susanne Sundfør - Fade Away
CHVRCHES - Forever
Keep Shelly in Athens - Oostende
Sadsun - Heads or (Tails)
Foxes - Body Talk
Haim - The Wire
Sigrid - Strangers
Charli XCX - Track10
Aurora - Daydreamer
School of Seven Bells - Lafaye
The 1975 - It's Not Living (If it's Not With You)
Pale Waves - New Year's Eve
Nicola Roberts - Yo-Yo
London Grammar - How Does it Feel