Why Is Modern Pop Music So Terrible?

Discussion in 'Music, Theory, Tab and Such' started by Davis Sharp, Sep 23, 2017.

  1. duceditor

    duceditor Dr. Squier

    Age:
    70
    May 29, 2014
    The Monadnocks, NH USA
    "When I was 18 my father was the most ignorant man in the world. When I was 30 he was one of the smartest.

    It's amazing how much my father learned in just 12 years."

    (Paraphrased from the one and only Mark Twain.)

    -don
     
  2. Davis Sharp

    Davis Sharp Squier-holic

    Jan 7, 2016
    Maryland, USA
    He's British. They don't have a 1st amendment.
     
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  3. SoundDesign

    SoundDesign Squier-Nut

    Great music can be dead simple and some of my favourite songs are very simple but there's always creativity involved even in simple songs. I don't think I'm a snob but dragging and dropping pre-made loops and samples into a timeline doesn't scream "talent" to me.
     
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  4. Conghaille

    Conghaille Squier-Nut

    Age:
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    620
    Jul 12, 2016
    Chicago
    What we're talking about is consumption, and while creative industries appear to be "push"ing mechanisms, they are always "pull"ing. That is, consumers choose things and that directs the industry to create more, similar things to appease the same consumers. Now and then, consumers get bored with something and get excited about something new that then gets exploited in the previous fashion.

    But especially now, when there are so many mechanisms for delivering music, big companies can't control musical tastes.

    I would argue, conversely, that our cultural sensitivities have become dulled. We as a culture are more satisfied by shiny things than examinations of the human experience--except examinations of an insipid human experience which appears to be shared by the throngs of club-going bonobos.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2017
  5. duceditor

    duceditor Dr. Squier

    Age:
    70
    May 29, 2014
    The Monadnocks, NH USA
    Not subtle, but, alas I think, true.
     
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  6. Conghaille

    Conghaille Squier-Nut

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    Chicago
    You always show me unwarranted kindness, Don.
     
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  7. Conghaille

    Conghaille Squier-Nut

    Age:
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    Chicago
    ASIDE: My sister, a wildlife biologist, once got mad when she discovered my pejorative usage of "bonobo". "They're really quite intelligent!" I think there is a mathematical law that would suggest between the two of us that some people are less intelligent than these apes. :)
     
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  8. Joe90

    Joe90 Squier-Meister

    481
    Jul 6, 2014
    Western Canada
    Okay, let's hear some bad eunuch-boy pop from the 1960's...



    And some Asian pop music from the 1960's. (Stanley Kubrick should have used this in Full Metal Jacket for the opening of the Vietnam segment of the movie)



    My point? Bad Pop Music knows no boundaries in time or space...
     
  9. theflow

    theflow Squier-holic

    Age:
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    Feb 16, 2017
    Palmetto,FL
    One of my favorites !
     
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  10. theflow

    theflow Squier-holic

    Age:
    58
    Feb 16, 2017
    Palmetto,FL
    :p
     
  11. duceditor

    duceditor Dr. Squier

    Age:
    70
    May 29, 2014
    The Monadnocks, NH USA
    Just a thought... The concept that someone is "a snob" or pushing "elitism" are themselves IMO quiet calls for someone to shut up; to limit speech.

    The two-sided argument that either "everything is equal and that no one has a right to judge the value of anyone else's choice" vs "there is good, very good, exceptional, and also not so good and truly awful -- and there are standards that can help us legitimately know the difference" has been going on forever.

    FWIW, I've always been in the later camp. And no, I don't think my opinion is of greater worth than someone with a totally different POV. I enjoy hearing their arguments -- their reasons (even if its just "I don't know why, I just like it") -- and then being free to add that to the information I use in making my own determination.

    Yes, my determination. For me.

    I don't (well, too, too often any way) ;) ridicule someone making a different choice. And I have no desire to fight over any of this. No, not even to change someone else's viewpoint. But I totally reject the idea that all is equal. Not culturally. Not artistically. Not re end results. Just everyone's right to think and do as they please owing no one a explanation if they don't choose to give it.

    Guess I'm a "snob." Maybe even according to some viewpoints an "elitist."

    If so I'm cool with that too.

    Being popular is IMO highly over rated.

    -don
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2017
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  12. 9fears08

    9fears08 Squier Talker

    Age:
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    85
    Jan 19, 2017
    Bristol
    Er? That's called stating opinion as fact..o_O;)
     
  13. theflow

    theflow Squier-holic

    Age:
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    Feb 16, 2017
    Palmetto,FL
    :p:p:p:p
     
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  14. Conghaille

    Conghaille Squier-Nut

    Age:
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    Chicago
    Best songs (songs I like most and recognize a quality of character in) I can think of aren't complicated or difficult for basically any competent musicians to play.

    Guitar players as a group (if I'm given to generalization) in my experience are especially likely to value difficulty or complexity or cleverness over character or artistic value. Sure, some things are very impressive, but personally, I find most of the very difficult pieces and styles to play are the least musical to my ear.
     
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  15. jackdragbean

    jackdragbean Squier-holic

    Nov 16, 2011
    Mississippi
    It's due to a lack of intelligence and creative thinking which is based on today's culture. Don's mention of comic book movies. As a child, I loved comic books. I actually learned a lot reading them. The problem I see is that no one can come up with new ideas these days so they tend to copy and regurgitate ideas from the past which is why you get "new" star wars movies and those based on the comic books.
     
  16. duceditor

    duceditor Dr. Squier

    Age:
    70
    May 29, 2014
    The Monadnocks, NH USA
    Would you believe that the Smithsonian has chimed in on this subject? They did! Five years ago!

    :D

    -don
     
  17. Conghaille

    Conghaille Squier-Nut

    Age:
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    Chicago
    Well, now you've done it. Sorry, and I wish I could not do this (I really do--constraint here would save me days of my life and a calm mind), but I am compelled to.

    First, this is a fantastic example of how badly reporting of scientific research is in popular media, even by respectable sources. The title and inferential claims of the linked article are unsupported by the scientific article.

    The actual work makes no qualitative statement of value (better/worse), and it couldn't. On it's face, "Science Proves: Pop Music Has Actually Gotten Worse" is a nonsense statement. Why? Because music is a subjective thing by definition and science is only interested in evidence based conclusions. In a scientific sense, the statement "Music is getting worse" is not falsifiable because there's no way to prove that--because there is no accepted single definition for good or bad. It's subjective.

    Further, the article "Measuring the Evolution of Contemporary Western Popular Music", on which the Smithsonian supported, has some possible problems (I could only read the abstract without paying). The first is that the source, "The Million Song Dataset", was taken at face value, and while a subset was used to select out the types of pop-related genres, it's impossible to know what songs were included and which weren't.

    Secondly and more importantly on that note, each song was given equal weight. In terms of what the reality of popular music is, as experienced by listeners, if Taylor Swift has seven hits on that list, they value as poorly as 7 in a million, but if you consider their actual accessibility and impact, those 7 songs may have been played a billion times, while half a million of those songs might have been played a few thousand each. Point is, is the measure relevant to what we experience as culture?

    Next, the study considers three variables, and the authors come dangerously close to (and the reporting on it steps right over) the line of reporting correlation as relationship. There is a correlation between how many times I sneeze and how many times Donald Trump tweets, but even if they grow or shrink in the same direction, it's not a sign that they are related. In this case, loudness especially stood out to me. The other two elements relate more to creative choices. The 'loudness war' has more to do with technology and compression. Further, the source material's method for measuring loudness is unclear. (Peak, Average, etc?) But in any case, these are unrelated activities when it comes to the making of a song, and yet they are presented with little attempt to distinguish them from the illusion of a single trend.

    Are these three measures reflections of things that have happened--perhaps; yes if the data is sound. Are they part of a related picture of something happening in music--not necessarily (IMO unlikely), as that assumes something ("3rd variable") we don't know, such as "there is a force [X] shaping the creation of music that is simultaneously effecting these three measures." Even if all that is true, is music getting worse? Well, I don't know. Do you like it? I think that's the only real measure.

    In fact, there is overwhelming data that contradicts the misstatement by the Smithsonian author: All the music evaluated was popular music--presumably charted. So if the music is popular, then lots of people liked it enough to buy and listen to it, which means that, if we want to put a measure to subjectivity: more people liked this music than any other music at any given time. Further, because the scientific article does measure changes over time, it could also be stated that "audiences don't spend as much time or money on the music of previous generations."

    I don't see how the conclusion couldn't better be stated that musical tastes change. That's what seems to be measured. Anything else is projecting our opinions on top of a somewhat leading, but otherwise benign work of statistics.
     
  18. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Squier-holic

    Age:
    37
    Oct 5, 2014
    Gilbert, AZ
    We're the olds, they're the young. Generational conflict. Music is cheap, lets face it.Our good amps are inexpensive, our great Squiers are incredibly affordable. Synths, drum machines, all available to many more kids in the USA/1st world than ever before. Not everybody is a Nick Drake or Bob Dylan, Syd Barrett or Jimi Hendrix. Nobody wants to be, it's been done before. Punk is dead, you know, and now the only way to piss off mom and dad and establish their own is give them something abrasive and obnoxious. Completely unrelatable. I think it's workin ;)

    Kthxbai
     
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  19. duceditor

    duceditor Dr. Squier

    Age:
    70
    May 29, 2014
    The Monadnocks, NH USA

    Yup! Yup! Yup! That's what made citing it so much fun.

    I read most of the abstract and was SO disappointed that we musicians' carbon footprint was not mentioned, nor its obvious, if ubiquitous, causative effect.

    :D

    -don

    "Born with a gift of laughter and a sense that the world (is) mad.”
    -Rafael Sabatini
     
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