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What does Pop Music mean to you?

Discussion in 'Studio Lounge' started by audiokid, Apr 25, 2013.

  1. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    I remember the day I swore I would never play Pop music.
    That word meant, to sell out, to stoop to the lowest common denominator. Music that takes no talent, music that is simple to play. Shallow and trendy.

    A quick story.

    I was a rocker in the 70's and me and my friends all hated pop music ( at least that's what we told each other). We called most of it Chick music. Our girlfriends would always sing along with it.
    Yup, I lived and breathed everything but that stuff. However, as my guitar and vocal skills improved, so did my taste and thirst for a modern electronic sound like distortion, delay , reverb, B3's and synths, big drums and cool hooks. The sound of tastefully done licks always intrigued me. So I secretly kept my ear to the radio. I didn't want my friends to know I actually liked that stuff.

    One day while playing a guitar in a music store a guy came up to me and asked I could play a few songs like this? He sat down and started playing some Fleetwood Mac, Steve Miller, Doobie Bro .. , He said, man, you are good you should learn this $*^t and get into a band. I said ya, I plan on it but not pop music, I'm not selling out.
    He smiled and said, what do you like playing man? I said this stuff, and I played and bunch of notes, blues etc.
    He said, you should come and hear us playing at the University Pub Night. Its really fun and the place rocks.

    I took him up on that and it changed my life forever. They were playing all the song that my friends thought sucked but the place was packed, dancing and chicks were everywhere. And he was the star and wow! I was so surprised and so envious!

    Moving along, a year later I was in that same music store playing a guitar once again and some older guy came up to me and said, man you ARE pretty good! Can you do this? I played what he asked and he said, Do you want a job?
    I said, what!? He said do you want a job playing at the lake resort this summer?
    I said, just a min and walked over to the store owner who knew me and said, who is that guy? He said, he was pretty famous and is playing this summer at the resort. He toured, opened up for Roy Orbison, Chris. He's a really good guy.
    I said, he's asking me if I want a job, should I do it? And the owner said, I told him to come and see you play, this is your chance Chris, do it man.

    That was the day Pop music changed my life. I left my friends behind. Friends who never went anywhere musically.

    I had to learn 35 Pop songs in 3 days and be on stage for the first time in my life, grand opening night with chicks everywhere! I practiced until my fingers bled. I had open blisters on my fingers but no way was I going to loose that gig. Playing those songs note for note, keeping in time with seasoned players, singing my harmonies and getting those hooks right was the biggest education into the world of Pop music. I had no idea how hard it was to play those simple hooks my friends and I all thought was a joke to play.
    35 years later and I have never stopped listening to the flavor of the day.

    Pop Music represents hooks and youth to me. The day I stopped trying not to like it was the day great opportunities starting happening.

    In the 1700's Mozart was the Popular music.
    What does Pop mean to you?
  2. JohnTodd

    JohnTodd Well-Known Member

    To me:

    Pop music is anything that isn't "Classical" music. That is the simple definition, but there is much more to it.

    Pop music is more open to adventure, novelty, and creativity. In this realm there is good music, OK music, and throwaway music. We often complain about the throwaway music without contemplating the keepers. We should keep our minds on the good stuff and let the bad stuff be forgotten.

    In this realm, there are limitations, but the limitations inspire creativity. This inspiration helps you get your message across by working around the limitations of previous pop music, hence, forging new ground. This is what I enjoy most about pop music. It is supposed to be 4/4 sing-a-long stuff, but time has shown it can be so much more. Think Sgt. Pepper, and think Dark Side of the Moon. Think Bryan Adams, and think Ray Charles. Think Slash and think Phil Keaggy. Think Rush and think Beatallica. Think Dolly Parton and think Unknown Hinson.

    Each time I'm working up a song in my studio, I'm starting with a demo just to work out basic parts. Then on to the final, where the search begins to make each song more interesting than the last. The catch is that it must also be "poppy", ie, catchy and singable. Think "Hit Me Baby One More Time" (Britney Spears), and think "Us and Them" (Pink Floyd).

    Truly challenging to those who see it, pop music presents an almost unlimited palette of musical tools and paints that is far, far, far from being exhausted.

    It's got a good beat and I can dance to it ... oh yeah, and I'll remember it next year!
    That's good Pop music.
  3. JohnTodd

    JohnTodd Well-Known Member

    Did I kill another thread?


  4. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    to me, pop music is what people find popular ! If tomorrow, everybody would dig big band music, it would become pop music...

    To refer to gigs and stuff. Many musicians like to play jazz, fusion, alternative and more complicated music. Thing is, if you want to go live, you need to sell. it's not always what you crave to play that will work but the rewards are great when you see people having a good time because of you !

    As a drummer, I've always said to myself, if people dance, my job is well done ;)
    (I've been doing some disco review in some casino lately)
  5. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Never say never

    how do you define pop? what do you mean by pop music?

    the term is so generic. do you mean all pop music from the 50' to present or do you mean modern pop what ever that is?

    i pretty much really hate the pop music that is coming out these days. most of it is keyboard / drum samples centric and to me has absolutely no heart or soul in it. i love the pop music from the 50's, 60's, 70's .... i guess tom petty, jeff lynn and a few others are still making good records but other than that i think that rock and roll has died .. and we all thought it never would.

    perhaps real pop music died when they started to split the listening audience by only broadcasting specific types on different radio stations ...

    in the old days you had several stations in an area that all played a top 40 or top 100 and these were all the same songs being played on all these stations but there was all different types included so the audience heard all kinds of stuff on all the stations ... there was Motown, Gamble & Huff Philly soul, Southern Soul from STAX and Muscle Shoals, Rock bands out of LA and SF CA, New Jersey, New York just to name a few. You could hear anything from Aretha to the Jefferson Airplane then all of a sudden they would play Midnight in Moscow or Louis Armstrong to a Frank Sinatra song ..

    a person could get a real education just listening to the radio at night. that's what's missing today.
  6. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    Feeling pop pop pop, nah nah !!! (replace pop by hot if you did'nt get it) :wink:

  7. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Sorry if I am a bit confusing:

    What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the term Pop Music ? Any stories, thoughts on it etc.
    To purest musicians, it could mean selling out, to others it could mean the launch of their career. The Baroque era lasted for about 150 years and its looking like Rock and Roll lasted about 40!

    I'm very curious to read over this as months go by. I have no specifics really but i am a bit shocked about Rock and where its going this last year. I'm basically wondering what it means to each one of us, past, present or future.

    She's a wide open topic.
  8. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    This works for me:

    I miss real instruments and guitar so much. I loved this era right up to the 90's and then its been an effort for me to get inspired. I do however keep my ear on what's happening, but man, this stuff is the stuff I miss a lot.
  9. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    And straight ahead :

  10. Gette

    Gette Active Member

    Pop music to me, is just whats "popular" today. Or better stated, what is being promoted the most. Pop, is deferent in every generation. No one genre or style of music has faded over the years, despite the "popular" belief that rock or any of it's subcategories is gone by the wayside. Even R&B has taken new directions to keep itself relevant in todays market. Otherwise just like anything else, when repeated enough, it gets old.

    Although most of the top 10 is just that: a repeated riff from previous material regurgitated. I know, may be an offensive term for some. Fact is fact. 1-6-4-5. and name your key = The formula for a hit. Although not always true... just most of the time.

    I am in no way demeaning the success of those who choose this road. Nor am I saying that this is an easy road to take. The beauty about "pop" media is it never shows the whole picture. No matter the genre, success can be achieved. It's all in how the group/musician goes about the business of music that defines his or her career, not the style of music they create.

    So, again, "Pop" is only the style of music with the greatest amount of promotion for any given day. It is not a "style" or a genre in itself.
  11. Audiofreek

    Audiofreek Active Member

    Pop music is whatever has mass appeal,it could be hard rock,dance rock,it could be blues,country,reggae,dub,R&B,Rap,hip pop,Roma,whatever.To me it just means that the music team,knows how to create music that a lot of people will like.I grew up loving the corporate rock of bands like Styx,and Boston,that may not have been thought of as pop at the time,but it sure charted like it.
    People may talk about not selling out,but what the masses are thinking when they hear that is;oh there music sucks,or it's challenging to listen to.Maybe,maybe not,it may be that they are pioneering a new style that hasn't caught on yet.Just don't tell me that someone is selling out because they have a great voice,write catchy hooks ,and lyrics that are well arranged,and well recorded.
  12. JohnTodd

    JohnTodd Well-Known Member

    So true. Nothing like financial success to make some think you are a corporate ho'.
  13. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    (1) Mass appeal. Celtic music or Delta blues are not "pop" in that each was created for a certain culture (even if their appeal has broadened.) Pop is multicultural. Sometimes means bland, but it can also be a uniting force. (2) Accessible to a naive audience. Classical and jazz transcend culture (I believe) but require some education to appreciate (at least in many cases.)
  14. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    As i recall, the first i ever heard of the term POP being used was in the 40's and it meant top 40 or top 100 and pertained mostly to Swing Band and Jazz music on the radio. Hit Parade.

    when i was growing up we had several radio stations in the Bay Area that played pretty much the same play list which was top 40 and what they called "golden oldies".

    The music was a wide selection of different genre' and varied from Sinatra and Louis Armstrong to the Troggs or The Kingsman. you could listen to the radio for an hour and hear The Beatles, Dock of The Bay, Midnight in Moscow, Strangers in The Night, Chain of Fools, What a Wonderful World, Midnight Train to Georgia, These Boots are Made For Walkin, or Surfer Girl. That's what POP was ... all kinds of popular music mostly performed by real bands.

    Now days the term mostly means Urban and Hip Hop / Rap performed in the large part by one person punching out a drum machine part or looping drum samples and then playing keys and some vocal overdubs. I was Rock & Roll forever when i was a kid but now i mostly listen to Classic Country because it has soul.
  15. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    I believe the term popular music has been in use since the 1800's. I have an ethnomusicologist on speed dial, so I can check.
    The interesting thing is that Hip Hop started as the quintessential insider music - created by and for a particular generation of urban blacks - often with distinct identities from city to city within the US. It's transformation into a music that can be marketed world wide across cultures is pretty remarkable.
  16. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    people are quick to gloss over the fact that the largest segment, the biggest genre' on the radio is Country Music. By far. urban and hip hop is a blip on the screen in comparison. i was a "rock and roll will never die" guy from the start until it died. now i will tune in a country station more than not unless i'm listening to Coast to Coast ... and the reason for this is they still have story driven songs with good lyrics and melodies, use live musicians recorded in real studios for the large part. some country stars like Clint Black have their own studios but they are still pretty respectable rooms. in Nashville they still do things old school. if you listen to those records there's a lot of ear candy in them. Nashville engineers and producers know what's what.
  17. Audiofreek

    Audiofreek Active Member

    I agree Kurt.Country seems to be one of the last pop genres left that insists on stellar sounding mixes,that aren't crushed to death.

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