Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Modern Pop Music

Dear Baking World,

I know this has nothing to do with baking, but maybe it does because I love music and I love baking and therefore they are connected. I just have recently been thinking about why I've started to hate pop music, even though I used to be the biggest fan. I wanted to articulate it mainly because I'm frustrated and disappointed in the pop community.

If anybody knows me well, they know that I have a rather overzealous love for Lady Gaga. Not just love. Admiration. I admire her drive and her focus and her ability to connect with her fans. Basically I think she's a goddess. She not only can sing like an angel, but she can perform as well.

Her latest album, ARTPOP, is coming out in a week. I've kept a close eye on this album. I've listen to the singles she's put out from it, amongst them "Applause" and "Do What U Want." Nothing clicked with me. None of the songs had the same magic that "Bad Romance" or "Poker Face" had, the kind of power where you play the song on repeat for six weeks straight. (Not that I know this from experience.) 

I would argue that Lady Gaga's older music still had rather worldly lyrics, but these songs seem like pure fluff surrounded by choruses that I can't sing to. On Friday, she released "Dope" off her album. My faith in Gaga returned: this song was everything that I loved about her. Simple, beautiful, heartbreaking. The main instrumentals was piano and later on in the song some electronic bass that sounds amazing. And then I streamed her album in full on iTunes radio and my heart plummeted. "Dope" was not only a stand out, it was the only song on the album that wasn't overdone and over-produced.

And it isn't just Gaga. Remember the good old days of Katy Perry and her punk pop album full of drums and electric guitars? Well, her latest album showcases very little guitar and drums, but rather relies heavily on electronic production. Her voice is clear and beautiful, but the songs aren't nearly as fun and sing-able as her older music. 

So, is this the direction that pop music is going? Gaga and Katy released these albums a month apart but "Do What U Want" could easily have fit amongst Katy's other tracks. My main beef with pop music is that these women are extremely talented. Lady Gaga can sing like no other pop star in the industry. So why is she squandering her voice on overproduced electro-pop? 

I think that pop music needs to go back to basics. Look at the rise of Mumford & Sons. Why do people love their music so much? It's because it involves classic instruments with beautiful, enveloping lyrics. They went back to basics. My advice to pop stars: if you want people to respect you and your music, try to go back to the roots. I think everyone could apply "going back to the roots" to their lives, but I really think pop stars need it too.

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