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View Full Version : In which an Old Fogey (me) gives todayís pop music an honest go


Mean Mr. Mustard
03-29-2015, 05:54 PM
Iíve long prided myself on being open to new styles of music over the years. My music education went something like this: Kiss>Elton John>Elvis Costello>Lou Reed>Eminem>The White Stripes.

I know next to nothing, though, about todayís dance-pop music. I couldnít tell a Gaga from an Izzy. So I thought Iíd make an honest effort to see if there is anything to this stuff that the kids are listening to. Surely there must be something in there that I might, if not love, at least find some value in.

So I went to the local library recently and checked out a bunch of recent ďNow Thatís What I Call MusicĒ CDs and diligently loaded them all into my music library. Iím talking Bieber, One Direction, Katy P, Miley, Bruno, and a whole lot that Iíve never heard of before. Iíve been listening to this100+ song playlist for a week now.

I canít stand it. The synthesized drums, the insipid lyrics, and worst of all, the manufactured auto-tuned vocals that sound more robotic than human. Where is the soul? Where is the emotion? Where is the art?

I havenít listened to all of it yet, and Iím not yet calling it quits, but I am not optimistic. Go ahead, call me a geezer.

But I stand by my assessment. The electro-dance-pop music of today sucks donkey ears.


mmm

panache45
03-29-2015, 06:07 PM
I'm wondering why you expected anything different.

Don't Panic
03-29-2015, 06:08 PM
Iíve been listening to this100+ song playlist for a week now.
Oh, wow. You're a braver man than me.

Thanks for taking that one for the team.

johnpost
03-29-2015, 06:13 PM
truth isn't always popular.

Hamlet
03-29-2015, 06:42 PM
When I was growing up, we had pop music crap like Bee Gee's, Donna Summer, Captain and Tennille, Kenny Rodgers, and other horrible, horrible music. You can always find complete crap music that sells well and creates superstars who live in the public eye for awhile.

I think the same is true now. But there is still some good pop music being made. I like Lourde, Muse, Daft Punk, and many others who have hits on the pop charts. And while I despise Miley, Bieber, and a majority of pop music made today, I really don't think it's much different from when we were younger. You have to look for the music you like.

Chefguy
03-29-2015, 06:56 PM
Since the audience for much of this music seems to be the pre- and early teen set, it's not surprising that it sounds insipid. The six-year old girl who used to live next door was constantly in a swoon over Bieber. Music used to target post-pubescent teens and young adults, but the demographic seems to have shifted somewhat.

tenacious j
03-29-2015, 08:05 PM
When I was growing up, we had pop music crap like Bee Gee's, Donna Summer, Captain and Tennille, Kenny Rodgers, and other horrible, horrible music. You can always find complete crap music that sells well and creates superstars who live in the public eye for awhile.

I think the same is true now. But there is still some good pop music being made. I like Lourde, Muse, Daft Punk, and many others who have hits on the pop charts. And while I despise Miley, Bieber, and a majority of pop music made today, I really don't think it's much different from when we were younger. You have to look for the music you like.

Seconded. I spent much of the weekend in the car, listening to (fun and nostalgic) garbage from Nillson, the Carpenters, Chicago, and whatever else came on from the '70's. This was interspersed with George Ezra, Florence & the Machine, and Hozier, among other new acts I really enjoy. I could never leave the new pop channel on nonstop, but I know enough not to pre-judge new music. There's enough good stuff out there, it's just exhausting sometimes to try to find it.

actualliberalnotoneofthose
03-29-2015, 08:39 PM
I listen to lots of modern music but I don't listen to much of the more trendy pop music. There are still many genres of music with new and exciting music. Some crosses over and some doesn't. Pop music goes in cycles- My tastes were formulated in the late 80s/early 90s- I still listen to a lot of the type of music I listened to then. At various points in time, it's more mainstream or not. Dance-Pop was big 25-30 years ago, too. Alternative rock radio now plays music that would have been pop in the early 90s and a lot of disco stuff for some inexplicable reason. A few years back, folk-rock was big. Some people who are really out of touch say that hip-hop has taken over, but that was 20 years ago- most hip-hop now like rock and anything else is more underground and highly fractured. You don't have to like Justin Beiber to like modern music any more than you had to like Vanilla Ice to listen to top 40 in 1991.

Rachellelogram
03-29-2015, 11:56 PM
There's more music out there than you could possibly listen to in a lifetime, why waste it listening to crap?

That said, there are plenty of popular artists who don't need autotune. Lady Gaga uses it stylistically, but she doesn't need it. Look for her acoustic/unplugged performances on Youtube.

The Second Stone
03-30-2015, 12:17 AM
The Saturday Night Fever soundtrack was amazing. I hated it at the time, but over the years it really grew on me. However, I'll agree, most pop music is crap. Every once in a while I'll try something new on the radio, and occasionally, I'll like something. But it does tend to be overproduced. I blame those Beetles and that murderer Phil Spector. (Did you know he's the new Bond villain?)

scabpicker
03-30-2015, 01:38 AM
I second you taking one for the team. I may listen to stations playing genres I don't like daily, including languages I don't understand yet, but I reserve the right to change the station as soon as the song has become one I'm not interested in. Your willingness to be subjected to the preferences of others is to be commended.

So, considering that 90% of anything is crap, what rises to the least painful %10 of your experience?

Les Espaces Du Sommeil
03-30-2015, 04:02 AM
Iím talking Bieber, One Direction, Katy P, Miley, Bruno, and a whole lot that Iíve never heard of before. Iíve been listening to this100+ song playlist for a week now.

I wouldn't be able to do it. Congratulations (I guess :D).

Indeed, I can't stand 99% of what I hear on the radio but from time to time, there can still be a solid song that gets some serious airplay. Off the top of my head, here are a few that I really like, all from the 2010s:

Ellie Goulding - Lights.
Tom Odell - Another Love .
Sia - Chandelier.
Gotye - Somebody That I Used To Know.
Muse - Uprising (Hmmm ok, 2009 actually).

And if you don't mind songs in languages other than English:

Indila - DerniŤre Danse (a really impressive mix of classic French chanson and North African influences).
ZAZ - Gamine (please pay no attention to the silly kazoo introduction).

All of them on youtube. All of them excellent songs in my book.

Mean Mr. Mustard
03-30-2015, 05:48 AM
I'm wondering why you expected anything different.

I didn't.

Since the audience for much of this music seems to be the pre- and early teen set, it's not surprising that it sounds insipid. The six-year old girl who used to live next door was constantly in a swoon over Bieber. Music used to target post-pubescent teens and young adults, but the demographic seems to have shifted somewhat.

Thing is, I know plenty of (younger) adults who like it.

I wouldn't be able to do it. Congratulations (I guess :D).

Indeed, I can't stand 99% of what I hear on the radio but from time to time, there can still be a solid song that gets some serious airplay. Off the top of my head, here are a few that I really like, all from the 2010s:

Ellie Goulding - Lights.
Tom Odell - Another Love .
Sia - Chandelier.
Gotye - Somebody That I Used To Know.
Muse - Uprising (Hmmm ok, 2009 actually).

And if you don't mind songs in languages other than English:

Indila - DerniŤre Danse (a really impressive mix of classic French chanson and North African influences).
ZAZ - Gamine (please pay no attention to the silly kazoo introduction).

All of them on youtube. All of them excellent songs in my book.

Thanks for the suggestions, I'll check them out.

And I should admit that I actually like what I've heard of Lorde and Adele.


mmm

Left Hand of Dorkness
03-30-2015, 06:18 AM
I second the thanks for the link. Chandelier is an excellent song, with an arresting video.

One other highly poppy modern song that I recommend: Bailando (http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CCAQ3ywwAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DNUsoVlDFqZg&ei=zTAZVYb-JYWuggTd9IMY&usg=AFQjCNE-tfZ1f-zUzHqRaPABbBrk3p8XaA&sig2=C9hAi4VDb0kgtfFxjl0IQA&bvm=bv.89381419,d.eXY), by Enrique Iglesias. It's a good song, and another one with a great video (I'm a sucker for a video with amazing dancing).

WordMan
03-30-2015, 06:31 AM
And we're debating if Beyonce is a megastar in another thread. Too funny.

I hear ya, but I get a bit of exposure to this stuff through my kids. You have to pick and choose, but there is listenable stuff. Bruno Mars is a great performer and musician, whose songs still sound played, not manufactured. Ed Sheeran is a great guitar player and songwriter in the old-school way, who uses modern arrangements too. I still like Lorde's Royals, overplayed tho it is, and some of Haim's stuff. St. Vincent sounds like David Bowie meets David Byrne, is a brilliant guitar player and stunningly gorgeous. Listen to Digital Witness off her latest...

The stuff that is based on EDM - Electronic Dance Music - is the most likely to sound like the Cheese Whiz of music. At it's worst, it's like programming a workout session more than music. So: don't listen to that stuff.

Left Hand of Dorkness
03-30-2015, 06:31 AM
The other thing is that when you listed the music of yore, the music you grew up on, I notice a distinct lack of Debbie Gibson and New Kids on the Block. These are the artists you should be listening to if you want to do a fair comparison to Katy Perry and Justin Bieber.

Of the folks you listed that you didn't like, Bruno Mars is someone I find kind of delightful--"Uptown Funk" is a fun bit of pop. Katy Perry is--well, I tried to like her stuff, I really did, but I find her songs about three and a half minutes of cringing. "All About That Bass" [edit: totally different artist] is super-pop in the poppiest pop tradition, but for some reason I find it a lot more palatable than Katy Perry.

One And Only Wanderers
03-30-2015, 07:51 AM
Im currently enjoying George Ezra's album & Sam Smiths'. Like music of all ages some is awful and some is good. These labels are interchangeable based on who is listening to what

Les Espaces Du Sommeil
03-30-2015, 08:29 AM
Ed Sheeran is a great guitar player and songwriter in the old-school way, who uses modern arrangements too.

Seconded. I can't come up with a title but I liked the 2-3 that I've heard.

Spud
03-30-2015, 09:13 AM
You are listening to the wrong stuff. I'm an old fogey as well (53) and I was forced into listening to the new stuff while riding in the car with my kids. Try Imagine Dragons, Fun, Train, Maroon 5, and even the boy band One Direction has a few good songs (I lived and Night Changes are actually good).

And, if you are going to the library and checking out CD's you are definitely an Old Fogey. Google the YouTube video and if you like it download it or just stream it.

K364
03-30-2015, 11:57 AM
... The stuff that is based on EDM - Electronic Dance Music - is the most likely to sound like the Cheese Whiz of music. At it's worst, it's like programming a workout session more than music. So: don't listen to that stuff.
Generally true, it's the successor to Disco and has the pounding four beats on the kick drum and long repetitive structure. Dance music is like that.

But... Try Daft Punk's "Random Access Memories", or (about half) of their "Discovery". Very musical, I like it a lot. There are vocorder vocals, you'll have to accept that.

Also, Vampire Weekends "Modern Vampires of the City"

Also, Anything by Royksopp. Start with their 2001 album "Melody A.M."

GrumpyBunny
03-30-2015, 12:44 PM
I listen to lots of modern music but I don't listen to much of the more trendy pop music. There are still many genres of music with new and exciting music. Some crosses over and some doesn't. Pop music goes in cycles- My tastes were formulated in the late 80s/early 90s- I still listen to a lot of the type of music I listened to then. .

Ditto. In high school, it was punk and new wave and whatever REM was considered. A huge group of bands* came through the club I hung out in from HS through college (including a pre-fame Nirvana). I saw live: Jane's Addiction, Camper Van Beethoven (who became Cracker), Husker Du, The Dead Milkmen, the B-52s, Poi Dog Pondering, X, 10,000 Maniacs, the Ramones, the Meat Puppets, Faith No More, Fishbone, Living Color, Aleka's Attic (River Phoenix's band), They Might be Giants, Concrete Blonde, and oodles of jangly-guitar bands that I can't remember. None of them relied on autotune or slick appearances or backup singers.

I listen to the local college station, which plays a weird and wide variety of music. I first heard Franz Ferdinand on that station, also a few other bands that I quite like.

I also hate autotune "vocals" and won't listen to anything with it. Also anything where "uhhhh, uhhhh" is a lyric. So, no, I don't listen to that kind of "pop" and don't feel bad for not liking it.

Music is personal, so YMMV.

panache45
03-30-2015, 02:38 PM
You have to look for the music you like.
There surely was a lot of crap music back in the '60s. But we didn't have to look for the good stuff; it was all around us, and easy to separate from the crap.

ISiddiqui
03-30-2015, 03:04 PM
There surely was a lot of crap music back in the '60s. But we didn't have to look for the good stuff; it was all around us, and easy to separate from the crap.

It's actually the exact same now. It's just in different places than you may have looked in the 1960s (such as, which teen or 20-something listens to the radio these days?)

zweisamkeit
03-30-2015, 03:38 PM
It's actually the exact same now. It's just in different places than you may have looked in the 1960s (such as, which teen or 20-something listens to the radio these days?)



Exactly. The good stuff will continue to be listened to (or even finally appreciated after the fact) while the crap fades away. As time goes by, that carefully curated collection of songs/bands becomes The Music of (era); it makes sense because its constant presence as the only enduring music from then reinforces that perception.



Also, most people like music from their teens and 20s and generally stay there. Other life shit takes precedence over spending hours finding the cool new music. Then your default exposure to current music is passive (whatever happens to be played on the radio et al), aka the crap that will fade away in a few years.... just like songs from years past.

blondebear
03-30-2015, 08:23 PM
Seconded. I spent much of the weekend in the car, listening to (fun and nostalgic) garbage from Nillson...

Harry Nillson? Garbage? Hmm...you must have been listening to later stuff, after he ruined his voice doing Pussycats. I can't recall anyone describing his work up until then as garbage. YMMV of course.

CheshireKat
03-30-2015, 08:48 PM
I always listen to the alternative station on the car radio. If I hear something I like, I go home and pull up a live version on YouTube so I can watch the artist perform. George Ezra was a huge shock - not at all what I was expecting from hearing his voice <grin>.

Muse, Mumford & Sons, Alt-J, the Kongos (just for the rock accordion) and the ACOUSTIC versions of Imagine Dragon's two hits are all worth trying. Just my 2 cents' worth. :)

tenacious j
03-30-2015, 10:01 PM
Harry Nillson? Garbage? Hmm...you must have been listening to later stuff, after he ruined his voice doing Pussycats. I can't recall anyone describing his work up until then as garbage. YMMV of course.

No offense intended. I now know his body of work was good, and he was very talented. But in my house, we only knew "I can't liiiiiiiiiiive if living is without youuuuuuu!" and sang it at the top of our lungs. I still lump it in with the rest of the 70's/early '80's pop my parents listened to.

tenacious j
03-30-2015, 10:10 PM
There surely was a lot of crap music back in the '60s. But we didn't have to look for the good stuff; it was all around us, and easy to separate from the crap.

I had the opposite problem in the '80s. Pop was everywhere- Tiffany, Rick Springfield, WHAM!, and every single Jackson as a solo artist. I stayed up all night waiting to make tapes of whatever came on the low-power college radio station to get REM, the Clash, Madness, or anything else the top 40 channels didn't deem worthy. There was no "alternative" station on mainstream radio, and not a lot of kids in my neighborhood or school knew about the music I loved. :(

JohnT
03-30-2015, 10:25 PM
Actually, I think #47 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Now_That%27s_What_I_Call_Music!_47_%28U.S._series%29) is a pretty strong collection of songs. YMMV, of course.

Mean Mr. Mustard
03-31-2015, 05:56 AM
I feel the need to clarify my OP (this not directed at any particular response).

I'm not looking for new music to love. (Well, I am, but that's not the intent of the thread).

I am merely reinforcing the accuracy of my assumption that the more popular the dance/pop artist of today, the suckier and less creative/original/clever their music. My foray into this world is an honest attempt to discover how correct I am.

Also, I want to make sure that I am not missing something amazing. So far, it appears I am not.


mmm

JohnT
03-31-2015, 06:03 AM
Yes, that need to confirm that which you already suspect is true is quite powerful, isn't it? :D

tenacious j
03-31-2015, 10:22 AM
I feel the need to clarify my OP (this not directed at any particular response).

I'm not looking for new music to love. (Well, I am, but that's not the intent of the thread).

I am merely reinforcing the accuracy of my assumption that the more popular the dance/pop artist of today, the suckier and less creative/original/clever their music. My foray into this world is an honest attempt to discover how correct I am.

Also, I want to make sure that I am not missing something amazing. So far, it appears I am not.


mmm

You may be missing something amazing, but it is not to be found on most of the NOW collections. While it may be argued that Rihanna and Bruno make some good music, I'd wager that 95% of NOW is auto tuned pretty people being pushed through the forgettable pop music factory. What I have heard from Iggy Azalea, Jason Derulo, Justin Bieber, Chris Brown, and most others featured on this collection is not worth listening to. YMMV. The stuff worth listening to, like Bruno & Marc Ronson or Sam Smith, will find its way to you through other sources (again, that's in my experience).

Left Hand of Dorkness
03-31-2015, 10:36 AM
I feel the need to clarify my OP (this not directed at any particular response).

I'm not looking for new music to love. (Well, I am, but that's not the intent of the thread).

I am merely reinforcing the accuracy of my assumption that the more popular the dance/pop artist of today, the suckier and less creative/original/clever their music. My foray into this world is an honest attempt to discover how correct I am.

Also, I want to make sure that I am not missing something amazing. So far, it appears I am not.


mmm

Wait--are "Now That's What I Call Music" Cds a brand? Yeah, it looks like they are. A quick Wikipedia look shows what songs appeared on the first album:

Phil Collins : "You Can't Hurry Love"
Duran Duran : "Is There Something I Should Know?"
UB40 : "Red Red Wine"
Limahl : "Only for Love"
Heaven 17 : "Temptation"
KC and the Sunshine Band : "Give It Up"
Malcolm McLaren : "Double Dutch"
Bonnie Tyler : "Total Eclipse of the Heart"
Culture Club : "Karma Chameleon"
Men Without Hats : "The Safety Dance"
Kajagoogoo : "Too Shy"
Mike Oldfield : "Moonlight Shadow"
Men at Work : "Down Under"
Rock Steady Crew : "Hey You (Rock Steady Crew)"
Rod Stewart : "Baby Jane"
Paul Young : "Wherever I Lay My Hat (That's My Home)"
Some of these are undoubtedly catchy pop tunes, but I'm not seeing Elvis Costello or Lou Reed or Elton John anywhere on that list.

If you're genuinely interested in finding modern music of the sort you like, this doesn't appear to be the best approach. That is, if you "want to make sure that [you're] not missing something amazing," you're almost certainly not going to meet that goal by looking at a collection series that never specialized in the type of music you like.

stillownedbysetters
03-31-2015, 10:36 AM
There's a ton of really good music out there right now. But you are not going to find it on tv or on the radio.

I so agree with you, OP, regarding canned music tracks and auto-tuned vocals, it truly IS the disco-era redux. Music designed for dancing/clubbing/raving only.

Check into some of the many many streaming services out there. The good ones will start throwing stuff at you when they learn what type of music you like. I've recently been listening to a lot of Australian music (no, not Aboriginal diggeridoo folk stuff), Irish music (no, not Celtic, although I like some Celtic now and then), and that band from Iceland whose name I can't remember just now. All because they were suggested to me based on my listening habits.

Pull up some of the SXSW acts if you want to hear some exciting new music. Not all of it will float your boat, but I'm positive some will. They've got a wide wide range of artists.

Look into some of the retro-soul acts. Great stuff if you fondly remember the early Motown and other early 60s soul acts like I do.

And don't forget the ladies - Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Z Z Ward, Shannon LaBrie.


ETA (said in a small voice) I do kinda like Bruno Mars, though.

Seriously, back away from the radio and run for the streaming radio services. You'll thank us.

Thudlow Boink
03-31-2015, 11:14 AM
So I thought Iíd make an honest effort to see if there is anything to this stuff that the kids are listening to.

I feel the need to clarify my OP (this not directed at any particular response).

I'm not looking for new music to love. (Well, I am, but that's not the intent of the thread).

I am merely reinforcing the accuracy of my assumption that the more popular the dance/pop artist of today, the suckier and less creative/original/clever their music. I get what you intended this thread to be about, even if not everyone else does.

The question here is not "Is there good music being made today and if so how can I find it?" The question is "Is there any value in this particular set of music that's popular amongst the kids these days?"

I've wondered this myself, and thought of doing similar investigation. For instance, when Meghan Trainor's (of "All About That Bass" fame) album became free to listen to on Amazon Prime, I listened to some of the 30-second samples to see if the album might be worth my time to listen to in full. And I thought that it sounded decent enoughónothing special, but catchy and I could see the appealóbut the lyrics turned me off. Not just insipid, but "the kind of person who would say/sing that is not the kind of person I can really relate to, or find interesting or appealing." Maybe that's because I'm too old, or otherwise the wrong demographic. But, in my limited exposure to the kind of music this thread is talking about, I've found that, in many though not all cases, the lyrics are one reason I don't enjoy it.

Left Hand of Dorkness
03-31-2015, 04:01 PM
I've wondered this myself, and thought of doing similar investigation. For instance, when Meghan Trainor's (of "All About That Bass" fame) album became free to listen to on Amazon Prime, I listened to some of the 30-second samples to see if the album might be worth my time to listen to in full. And I thought that it sounded decent enough—nothing special, but catchy and I could see the appeal—but the lyrics turned me off. Not just insipid, but "the kind of person who would say/sing that is not the kind of person I can really relate to, or find interesting or appealing." Maybe that's because I'm too old, or otherwise the wrong demographic. Likely it's because both. She was 20 when she wrote it, and it's not an especially incisive feminist critique of body image or anything--but then, I don't think it's trying to be. If you're not 20, and if you're not interested in a white girl answer to "Baby Got Back," it's probably not for you.

On the other hand, I'd put its lyrics up against anything by KISS.

Edit: also, for me at least, a lot of modern pop music (and by "modern" I suppose I mean anything from the last thirty years) is made or broken by the video. If you're interested in checking out a pop song, I really recommend Youtubing it.

Mean Mr. Mustard
03-31-2015, 05:04 PM
I get what you intended this thread to be about, even if not everyone else does.

The question here is not "Is there good music being made today and if so how can I find it?" The question is "Is there any value in this particular set of music that's popular amongst the kids these days?"...

Thudlow nailed it in a handful of words.

I know where to look for new musical adventures, and I do that. The Dope, in fact, is a great resource. I just want to know if there is anything worthwhile in the most popular music of today.

mmm

Left Hand of Dorkness
03-31-2015, 05:25 PM
Thudlow nailed it in a handful of words.

I know where to look for new musical adventures, and I do that. The Dope, in fact, is a great resource. I just want to know if there is anything worthwhile in the most popular music of today.

mmmI know you've said you're not looking for people to just recommend music, but maybe you can address a couple of the most popular hits from today:
Uptown Funk (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OPf0YbXqDm0), Bruno Mars at his funkiest, with a pretty hilarious bit of taking-the-pissitude.
Chandelier (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2vjPBrBU-TM), Sia's tragic song about party girls.
Bailando (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8I-7Wk_Vbc), Enrique Iglesias's homage to West Side Story (maybe, I could be persuaded otherwise).

My criteria for calling these "pop" is that they all have more than a hundred million Youtube views--and the first two have more than half a billion. That seems pretty decent criteria for calling them "pop."

If you want to exclude them, sticking to Taylor Swift and Katy Perry and Justin Bieber, I think you need to narrow your definition beyond simply pop music, more into teenybopper music. And that's never been the deepest, richest vein to mine.

Left Hand of Dorkness
03-31-2015, 05:37 PM
My criteria for calling these "pop" is that they all have more than a hundred million Youtube views--and the first two have more than half a billion. That seems pretty decent criteria for calling them "pop."
Me being a pedant: Bruno's video is slightly LESS than half a billion. Sorry for any confusion!

aceplace57
03-31-2015, 06:01 PM
I've had the same problems with the current country music. Its like the genre I know and loved completely disappeared. I like most of Blake Sheltons songs. I like a couple of his wife Miranda Lambert songs. Little Big Town isn't even close to being country. The best modern country star is Alan Jackson. But really his biggest hits were in the 90's. He's not current. Same thing with Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw. I like them too but they're already considered dated.

The absolute worst is Taylor Swift. I've tried listening to her stuff and I just don't see the appeal.

ISiddiqui
03-31-2015, 06:03 PM
Swift is a pop star with country elements earlier in her career. That may be why you don't like it. Though her "Pop" album 1989 was highly rated and I actually think its quite good (very underrated among some).

aceplace57
03-31-2015, 06:12 PM
Amos Lee is quite good. Arms of a Woman is my favorite song. I'm still checking out his other stuff on youtube. He's got a R&B sound.

funky little lee
04-01-2015, 10:51 AM
I get exposed to the new music by virtue of working with mostly younger people, who play it at work. Most of it I hate, but that's also because they tend to like rock, which I've always hated.

If you like upbeat, dance'y stuff, you might like The 1975's "Chocolate" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FfBKqaVk2Cohttp://

and Mark Ronson's "Uptown Funk" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OPf0YbXqDm0

astorian
04-01-2015, 11:43 AM
From about 1997 until 3 years ago, I had little or no exposure to current pop music.

Now, I have an 11 year old son who plays the radio all the time and goes often to a skate rink where I hear all the current top 40 stuff- Bruno Mars, Taylor Swift, Imagine Dragons, Meghan Trainor, Charli XCX, Arianna Grande, Macklemore, etc.

Now, I will probably remain a "classic rock" guy til I die, but I have learned to appreciate some current pop, and even like some of it. Five years ago, I was as clueless about pop music as my Mom was about Led Zeppelin. I'm not so clueless now.

ashtayk
04-01-2015, 04:13 PM
I just dropped in to say that one of the younger crop of singers mentioned upthread, Miley Cyrus, simply blew me away with her cover of "50 ways to leave your lover" (By Paul Simon) on the SNL 40th year show.

I then Googled her "unplugged" performances and chanced upon a series she does called Backyard sessions. Wonderful wonderful talent, yet she seems to be known more for her attention grabbing antics.

BTW - I think I qualify as an old fogey

BigT
04-02-2015, 02:53 AM
I just dropped in to say that one of the younger crop of singers mentioned upthread, Miley Cyrus, simply blew me away with her cover of "50 ways to leave your lover" (By Paul Simon) on the SNL 40th year show.

I then Googled her "unplugged" performances and chanced upon a series she does called Backyard sessions. Wonderful wonderful talent, yet she seems to be known more for her attention grabbing antics.

BTW - I think I qualify as an old fogey

Yes, that song was freaking awesome--unlike Kanye's bit. But OP might like Kanye.

Cumbrian
04-02-2015, 05:14 AM
Wait--are "Now That's What I Call Music" Cds a brand? Yeah, it looks like they are. A quick Wikipedia look shows what songs appeared on the first album:

Some of these are undoubtedly catchy pop tunes, but I'm not seeing Elvis Costello or Lou Reed or Elton John anywhere on that list.


Actually, the Now albums (currently up to Now 90) are very good primers for what is big in the UK pop charts at a specific point (unless there's an exactly named series in the US - in which case, apologies). They come out roughly 3 or 4 times a year and stick most of the biggest tracks from the previous 3 or so months in one place.

It's therefore reductive to say, I'm not seeing x, y and z on there - because there is a good chance that they didn't have a high charting single in the relevant period, so there's no reason for them to be on the tracklist that fits with the ethos of what the compilation is doing. Furthermore, the first 10 or so editions of Now competed against other hits compilations in the UK that were run by rival record labels - some artists therefore don't appear in the first so many of these, even though there were huge sellers by them in the relevant period, as they were kept back by their labels for their own in house compilations. The Now series eventually won the war and essentially all the major labels license relevant tracks to the series for inclusion. They thus become much better as primers around the late 80s and by the 90s become very good documents of artists that got big and, if it's missing a specific artist, will still probably cover their genre of music well.

They definitely shift with the times - look at the tracklists from the mid-90s and it's littered with Britpop bands and not much pop music. Now you'll struggle to find guitar bands on the track list and it's moved to EDM, R&B, Pop, etc, because those are the big sellers.

Elvis Costello is included in at least one Now compliation - there were year specific ones created at the end of the 90s and they included tracks by him from before the Now series started (it began in 1983) - A Good Year For The Roses is on the 1981 edition for instance.

Elton John was regularly featured on Now compilations throughout his career - provided he sold enough records to make the relevant track popular.

Lou Reed will have featured once - there was a cover of Perfect Day done for charity here in the UK in the late 90s. He was the first and last featured voice - with a cavalcade of people in between. Lou though doesn't really sell singles so the likelihood of his appearing otherwise is limited.

In short, I reckon MMM has actually picked a reasonably efficient way of collecting tracks that are roughly the "sound of today" by using the Now compilations. Whether any of the tracks are any good on any of the editions of it is obviously up to the listener. Personally, I wouldn't give house room to the vast majority of artists mentioned here - though I reckon both Bruno Mars and Taylor Swift's recent stuff is decent enough.

DummyGladHands
04-02-2015, 09:44 AM
I would have said all the same, except for a young friend who made me workout mixes that I specified the beat for, and it's his music, and over time and miles, I've learned to really enjoy it.

amarinth
04-03-2015, 12:21 AM
Kiss>Elton John>Elvis Costello>Lou Reed>Eminem>The White StripesNone of that is dance/pop music. None of it is even close.
If you didn't like pop music of your teenage years when you were the target age, if not exactly the target market, of course you're not going to like today's stuff. You're not responding just to the songs themselves, but the style (which is apparently not your cup of tea).
There's a lot of crap on the "Now" CDs (someone at the avclub.com blogged their way through them a a few years ago (http://www.avclub.com/features/then-thats-what-they-called-music/)), but not all of it is awful. Figuring out what is and isn't does take the ability to appreciate something even if you don't like it.

WordMan
04-03-2015, 06:22 AM
None of that is dance/pop music. None of it is even close.
If you didn't like pop music of your teenage years when you were the target age, if not exactly the target market, of course you're not going to like today's stuff. You're not responding just to the songs themselves, but the style (which is apparently not your cup of tea).
There's a lot of crap on the "Now" CDs (someone at the avclub.com blogged their way through them a a few years ago (http://www.avclub.com/features/then-thats-what-they-called-music/)), but not all of it is awful. Figuring out what is and isn't does take the ability to appreciate something even if you don't like it.

Well stated. That thinking informed my post, but I did a piss-poor job of articulating it.

MMM, EDM + autotune is the thing now just like disco was the thing in the 70's. Kiss did I Was Made For Loving You, right? ;)

Uhib D'Jaj
04-03-2015, 08:08 AM
Mean MM, being an old foggy myself, I hear ya brother. Then again, thanks to my kids, I am constantly tripping over really cool new bands and stuff that the rocker in me can appreciate. As for checking out some of the newer offerings, I'd highly recommend you look at Post Modern Jukebox (try YouTube). They do arraignments of modern tunes that are amazing and often lead to me going to check out the original artist. The bluegrass version of Blurred Lines got me hooked.

Myglaren
11-30-2015, 07:04 AM
I am a fogey of even earlier vintage than the OP and quite agree - but isn't this the stereotypical experience - all recent music=crap?

I will admit to nat having sampled many of those noted above and those I have leave me cold, with the exception of Grace Potter and The Nocturnals, also Grace with lots of other inspirational musicians - Warren Hayes as one example.

But the one who really knocks me off my perch is the astounding Jackie Evancho.
While pop is not her forte (according to her), just have a butchers at this, a cover of an Ed Sheeran song - I'm not impressed with Mr Sheeran and his version of this, despite almost 54 million you tube hits, is a very poor effort compared to Evancho's cover.

There is a reason she chose this and made the video the way she did, which is rather beside the point in this discussion but gives a glimpse of her personality, as incredible as her musical abilities.

All Of The Stars (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PmmSYvShuCc)

And her cover of Say Something (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZTq2xumtXnE) from her most recent pbs concert.
Devastatingly talented.

Boyo Jim
11-30-2015, 01:06 PM
A few years ago I tried what the OP tried. Since I kinds of faded out on paying attention to pop in the mid-80s, I was looking for stuff since that I could like.

I found The Gipsy Kings and Matchbox 20. That was all.

MacTech
11-30-2015, 03:41 PM
My term for this "music" is either "bleeeccch!" Or other gagging or vomiting sound, or "Instant 'music', just add water", or perhaps Advanced Music Substitute, it's almost, but not quite, entirely unlike music....

foolsguinea
11-30-2015, 10:36 PM
I kind of like Bruno Mars, myself.

Maybe go for more indie stuff. There's a lot of music now, and honestly, the likes of Bieber and Katy Perry aren't that important.

I mean, this is the age of Adele!

I wonder what you'd think of Halsey (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sncDtok7LRE). She doesn't seem all auto-tuned, but the instrumentation is...mechanical.

foolsguinea
11-30-2015, 11:01 PM
I’ve long prided myself on being open to new styles of music over the years. My music education went something like this: Kiss>Elton John>Elvis Costello>Lou Reed>Eminem>The White Stripes.Wait, these are all (except the White Stripes, and arguably even they) very masculine acts.

So, I can tell you about master guitarist Kaki King, or atmospheric weirdos Florence and the Machine, or soul diva Adele, and you probably won't care. :p

Maybe Bon Iver? He's got a beard and everything!

Horatio Hellpop
11-30-2015, 11:30 PM
My only exposure to new music these days is SNL, and I reject most of it. But when Justin Timberlake started showing up on a regular basis, I realized that everything I said against him was exactly what my dad said about the Beatles back in the 60s, so I listened to him with a less biased ear. None of it is memorable, but I'm pretty impressed with the dance and production.

I'm 54 years old and teach English abroad. I also try to expose Chinese and Korean kids to American pop culture. Those girls ask for Taylor Swift by name. Katy Perry, too. Some of it grows on me. I even have a favorite One Direction song, God save me (It's "The Story Of My Life.")

I stopped following new music around the time MTV stopped primarily showing videos, so to me the White Stripes and Sheryl Crow are still fresh young faces. I like Charli XCX better with the volume muted. I can't stand Lana Del Ray; everything notable about her comes from a scalpel or an AutoTune.

Back in '97, Rolling Stone put the Spice Girls on their cover and realized they might be crossing some kind of line with their older, Blues-Rock snob readers. They addressed this directly in their editorial by noting that "Rock and Roll is whatever the world's 10-year-old girls say it is." That's as true now as it was then.

DMC
11-30-2015, 11:59 PM
I just want to know if there is anything worthwhile in the most popular music of today. mmmI'm trying hard to think of any year where that would be true. I looked at the Billboard #1 hits for 1978, for instance, as I remember tons of great music from that year. In a year that saw songs such as "Werewolves of London", "Who Are You?", "I Wanna Be Sedated", as well as the debut albums of The Cars, The Police, and Kate Bush, what was the most popular?


Player "Baby Come Back"
Bee Gees "Stayin' Alive"
Andy Gibb "(Love Is) Thicker Than Water"
Bee Gees "Night Fever"
Yvonne Elliman "If I Can't Have You"
Wings "With a Little Luck"
Johnny Mathis and Deniece Williams "Too Much, Too Little, Too Late"
John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John "You're the One That I Want"
Andy Gibb "Shadow Dancing"♪ (1978)
The Rolling Stones "Miss You"
Commodores "Three Times a Lady"
Frankie Valli "Grease"
A Taste of Honey "Boogie Oogie Oogie"
Exile "Kiss You All Over"
Nick Gilder "Hot Child in the City"
Anne Murray "You Needed Me"
Donna Summer "MacArthur Park"
Barbra Streisand and Neil Diamond "You Don't Bring Me Flowers"
Chic "Le Freak"

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