Monday, September 3, 2012

Pop music is getting sadder, apparently



I’ve been reading recently about the fact that pop music has gotten sadder, and that somehow this is a bad thing.

Maybe it has, but in reading this article it’s hard to agree.  Granted, the article is a little tongue-in-cheek, but behind every smart remark is a guarded opinion, so I don’t feel too bad about rebutting the author.

The research says that pop music (taken from 40 years of billboard chart data), is slower and played in minor keys more than ever before, both things that indicate ‘sad’ music.  This is hard to dispute, and I won’t, because I agree.  However, when the author of the article starts providing some examples, this is where I cringe.

Katy Perry singing a Whitney Houston cover at a concert is supposed to be an example of the sadness of modern music.  I agree it’s a sad song, not indicative of a generation of Sad Bastard pop fans.

Then the author invokes Pitchfork as a purveyor of sad pop music.  The reason being that apparently sad lyrics + happy music = high pitchfork ratings.  I can’t agree with this either, especially in the same week that party philosopher Andrew WK gets an 8.6 for an album that was originally trashed by the site 10 years ago. 

The author signs off by saying that she’ll be listening to the new Missy Elliott singles this weekend, Pitchfork be damned.  I dare say those same Missy songs will be heavily discussed and promoted at Pitchfork (and loved by the site if history is a guide).

If you’re going to discuss sad pop music, discuss sad pop music and not Hip-Hop (Missy) and not crappy British folk music that Pitchfork loathes (Mumford and Sons).

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