The Liberator

The death of pop music

graphic by Emmi Lucksinger

graphic by Emmi Lucksinger

Nia Orakwue, Entertainment Editor

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It is not a secret that pop music has somewhat lost its touch. The past year or so has not been terrible for pop music, but it has not been particularly great either. Popular music has slowly been falling under the radar in exchange for the indie, alternative, hip-hop, trap, and neo-soul genres that are becoming increasingly popular. This apparent lesser interest in pop music can be attributed to greater accessibility to more genres of music, the tendency for pop songs to be repetitive, and a similar sound across many pop songs.

It would be ignorant to suggest that all popular music may be dying, but instead the specific genre of “Pop” music. The catchy, rhythmic, dance music aims to appeal to as many people as possible. The style of music, while still liked, seems to have lost some of its past popularity. This can be explained by the introduction of music platforms like Spotify, Soundcloud, and Apple Music. These platforms allow for more access to different types and styles of music.

With this new freedom listeners are no longer forced to only listen to what is on the radio and the Top 40 charts. The range of music that people are listening to is much larger and more spread out. It could be argued that this is a reason why almost no new pop singers have risen to stardom since Ariana Grande.

While there are definitely pop artists making an appearance on the Top 40 list like Dua Lipa, Camila Cabello and Halsey, these people haven’t yet risen to star status the way that was seen with Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, and Lady Gaga, though it is not for a lack of trying. The music that they produce is subjectively good compared to the other songs in the pop genre right now. For some reason they have not been able to break through the invisible barrier that allows an artist to become a household name.

While the repetitive nature of pop music is part of its appeal and creates a catchy, dance-y, hard-to-forget quality, for a lot of people it has become uninteresting. Pop songs also often sound very similar to each other. Many of them have similar beats, rhythms, and sometimes the artists voices even sound the same, even though they are not the same artists. The repetitiveness is not uncommon. Many other types of music that were more popular in the past, such as rock, also experienced issues with many songs sounding the same. In some cases, like rock, those music categories would lose their popularity in exchange for another soon after the songs became repetitive and seemingly identical in sound. Perhaps pop music’s time is passing.

The Billboard Top 40 list is increasingly featuring more and more non-pop songs. Trap, rap, and diverse R&B songs are filling much of the chart now. Some pop singers are even switching over by releasing music closer to the R&B style or collaborating with a Latin artist.

The pop genre has always incorporated auto tuned voices and songs with a very perfected quality about them. Although this quality may have at first added to the charm of pop music, present-day audiences have been trading in some overly auto tuned, perfect sounds for more raw, authentic voices. This authenticity shows more humanity from the artists and makes them more relatable to the public.

Don’t worry if pop is your favorite genre of music, it is not dying. While it may be flying under the radar recently, it is still wildly loved by many. It just may need to adapt to the changing music preferences of younger generations, which are the generations that pop musically aims to attract.

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The death of pop music