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The Pop Music Thread


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Didn't know where to post this, but I found it a fascinating article about how some pop music is made. I'm not a big Rihanna fan, but I have liked some of Stargate's work for other artists. I found this article fascinating. It's a long read, but I had never heard such a detailed report on how some pop music now is made; with producers coming up with basic cords and sounds, then a writer (in this case wanna be pop star Ester Dean) picking which she likes, improvising a melody line, coming up with a few catchy phrases, etc, etc Worth reading for any current pop fan.

Also interesting--I always wondered about Stargate--how these very Europop producers from Norway who were huge in the UK ten years back, then were seen as passe there, suddenly became even bigger in the US--it mentions how their sound has helped transform America's urban music into the current slightly more Europop Urban music that's everywhere (and could disappear soon anyway).


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That was a very interesting article. I didn't know about the Beyonce/Kelly similarity. Already Gone was only released because another single was pulled at the last minute. It's not a great song and wasn't that big of a hit compared to her other singles on that album.

I'm a little surprised Rihanna has stayed popular as long as she has in this burnout world, especially since she was always far more likely to suffer career burnout for what Chris Brown did to her than he was, and then the backlash over her sexual image, etc. We've come a long way (or regressed, some would say) from a decade ago when Britney and Christina were both so condemned when they went into their attempts at sexiness. Now it almost seems required, or there are different types of sexiness (playful, violent, girl next door).

Sometimes I feel like Rihanna is a blank slate, and I am very disturbed (especially if she is getting closer to Chris Brown again), but I do think she is the best representative of this type of pop. "Rude Boy" and "We Found Love" are great songs, even with the shrillness and canned vocals, because of how she powers them.

The Ester Dean story is also fascinating.

I like the part at the end when they're worried Adele is the beginning of the end for them. I think the two genres can probably co-exist for a while.

The connection between the old girl groups and today's pop women doesn't work for me, mostly because the former era was about the voice, whereas today seems to be about visuals as much as the hooks. I'd compare it more to disco, or the golden era of Madonna and the other 80's goddesses.

I didn't know what Irreplaceable was and then I looked it up and remembered "To the left, to the left." I guess the hooks are their main strength.

It is a little strange to realize that rock and hip-hop have had such declines in recent years. I didn't realize until I read something a few days ago about how 2011 was the first year in some time hip hop had stopped having steep decline sales.

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I appreciate you reading it Carl, I know it's pretty long.

One thing I appreciated about the article is that while, like I said, the Rihanna style isn't really my bag (though I love some of her songs--you mentioned We Found love which actually is kinda interesting that it was a hit as it was done with UK producer/DJ Calvin Harris who pop wise has mainly worked with the likes of Kylie--he did fan fave In My Arms for her which is a fave), it's rare to see major music critics still take pop production seriously, or even give it credit while admiting how in some ways it is so manufactured. Usually the attitude is completely dismissive--but as the article said there probably is more innovation, mainstream music wise right now there's far more innovation in the pop world than rock, which (even as I usually prefer pop) wasn't as true in, say, the 90s.

I pretty much agree with eveyrthing you say. I'm surprised by Rihanna's success too--the article kinda alludes to the fact that one thing they've been smart about with her is releasing album after album after album--even in a way few other artists do. Because she is a bit of a blank slate, but I admit she does what she does well.

You're right about image--though I do think the connection to the pre-Beatles girl groups holds some weight just in terms of how the producers and writers worked with them.

And thank God that the shift from hip hop has happened (even the hip hop that does sell well tends to have the euro/dance influence). While I still find mainstream radio pretty boring, I have less issue having someone turn it on in the car now than I did 5-10 years backj, but I admit that's a personal thing.

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