Page 2 of 3 FirstFirst 123 LastLast
Results 16 to 30 of 33

Thread: What is your opinion on modern popular music having no melody?

  1. #16
    Senior Member Eva Yojimbo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    1,176
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by starthrower View Post
    Maybe Deep Purple's riff to Smoke On The Water is the rock equivalent to Beethoven's 5th?
    Nope, too many notes/chords (all 4 of them!), and it actually uses quarter, eighth, and half notes in its riff.

  2. #17
    Senior Member starthrower's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Syracuse, NY USA
    Posts
    10,781
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Eva Yojimbo View Post
    Nope, too many notes/chords (all 4 of them!), and it actually uses quarter, eighth, and half notes in its riff.
    I didn't mean the equivalent in notes. Like B's 5th it's household famous.
    Short-term thinkers are rewarded with reelection, while those who dare to take seriously our responsibility to future generations commonly find themselves out of office.

    - Marcia Bjornerud, Geologist

  3. #18
    Senior Member Eva Yojimbo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    1,176
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by starthrower View Post
    I didn't mean the equivalent in notes. Like B's 5th it's household famous.
    I know, I was mostly just kidding. But, yes, in regards to the combination of simplicity and worldwide renown, it's probably as good an analog as any.
    Last edited by Eva Yojimbo; Oct-01-2019 at 01:29.

  4. #19
    Senior Member Open Book's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Posts
    561
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    The video shows how melody has been minimalized in popular music. Literally. The songs it cites contain melodies of three notes or less, even one note in the case of the Lady Gaga song.

    Funny how that alone doesn't matter, at least not to me. The One Direction song gets played as department store background music but I've always found it kind of compelling. For all its three notes, there's a real hook. On the other hand I have never found any Taylor Swift song to be even remotely compelling musically. Her melodies are banal.

    I don't think it's just the way the One Direction song is presented using harmony, tone color, and rhythm, the other characteristics that are mentioned, that makes it better, I think it does have a better melody. Short melodies can make the best earworms when they're good.

    Billie Eilish (mentioned in the video) performed on the last Saturday Night Live and I was puzzled at how little there was to her music, almost nothing, yet her fans were screaming at the end. I hear most new music on that show and I usually end up fast-forwarding through it. The best that can be said about contemporary pop music is that it gives cellists a lot of work. Have you noticed how often strings are used nowadays?
    "No one chooses the tuba" - Alexander von Puttkamer

  5. Likes Manxfeeder liked this post
  6. #20
    Senior Member Eva Yojimbo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    1,176
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Open Book View Post
    Funny how that alone doesn't matter, at least not to me. The One Direction song gets played as department store background music but I've always found it kind of compelling. For all its three notes, there's a real hook. On the other hand I have never found any Taylor Swift song to be even remotely compelling musically. Her melodies are banal.
    So strange how differently people hear things. I too have heard that One Direction song quite a lot but have never found it compelling, perhaps because it just reminds me of the poppiest pop-punk ca. 2000, and if I was going to listen to that I'd just rather put on Jimmy Eat World's The Middle. Alternatively, I'm a big Taylor Swift fan and her melodic/hook sensibility is a big reason why. I honestly can't think of much anything that sounded like Love Story, or You Belong With Me when they came out.... perhaps a bit of Faith Hill and Shania Twain, but even then not really. Even Look What You Made Me Do (the song mentioned in that video) was pretty sonically original, the way its electroclash music leads to that build-up pre-chorus before dropping the Right Said Fred chorus is like a really well-constructed joke (the set-up/punch-line).

    Quote Originally Posted by Open Book View Post
    Billie Eilish (mentioned in the video) performed on the last Saturday Night Live and I was puzzled at how little there was to her music, almost nothing, yet her fans were screaming at the end. I hear most new music on that show and I usually end up fast-forwarding through it. The best that can be said about contemporary pop music is that it gives cellists a lot of work. Have you noticed how often strings are used nowadays?
    Billie Eilish is this generation's angst idol, similar to what Nirvana was in the 90s. It's actually been a while since we've had such a "dark" mainstream artist. For that alone I find her a breath of fresh air even when I don't like her stuff. EG, Bad Guy just annoys me (I don't understand why/how it became such a hit); I think stuff like Bury a Friend is much more interesting. She also has some surprisingly beautiful songs like Ocean Eyes (though I think she was like 14 when she wrote/recorded that) and I Love You.

  7. #21
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    arkansas/missouri
    Posts
    1,317
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Alexander - (I have never found any Taylor Swift song to be even remotely compelling musically. Her melodies are banal.) Just watch her legs, they are nice

  8. #22
    Senior Member MacLeod's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    6,818
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    No-one is going to vote for "tuneless" or "boring" pop, so I'm not sure that such statements tell us anything about either pop music generally or the value of the opinions of those who make such assertions.

    Assuming the OP means popular music in its widest sense, taking in most genres such as rock, rap, electro, alt etc (so excluding folk, jazz, classical etc) I'm very happy with the state of pop music. There is a great variety and whilst some may seem derivative of past acts, it's perhaps worth letting the younger generation - with whom the responsibility for "pop" tends to fall - make music in their way, not ours, even if it sounds like what older generations listened to (and were writing) when they were 16. I buy less than I used to, I listen to less than I used to, but most years, I check out the Metacritic charts to find out what's been around and what might be worth exploring. For example:

    https://www.metacritic.com/feature/b...leased-in-2018

    If the OP is only considering a narrow field of pop - the most successful acts selling the maximum tracks to a narrow demographic - then consider whether it is necessary for us to even have an opinion. For example, I doubt that Ariana Grande is producing music for this 60 yr old consumer of "art music" (classical and rock) so why would I need to have an opinion on what she is selling?

    The critics of "pop" on this forum should offer some evidence to support their claims of banality and decline that goes beyond a handful of easy targets (Swift, Gaga, Bieber and often, the entirety of rap)

    [add]Re the OP video. "Dying" and "going out of fashion" are not the same, and pointing to Hans Zimmer scores for Dunkirk and Inception as evidence of a decline is a nonsense. I'm sure we could equally point to other film composers - say Alexandre Desplat - who compose scores for directors who ask for something more melodic. But we don't need to go that far - Zimmer, in collaboration with others, produced a "melodic" score for Blue Planet II.
    Last edited by MacLeod; Oct-01-2019 at 12:27.
    "I left TC for a hiatus, but since no-one noticed my absence, I came back again."

  9. Likes Mollie John liked this post
  10. #23
    Senior Member Eva Yojimbo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    1,176
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by MacLeod View Post
    The critics of "pop" on this forum should offer some evidence to support their claims of banality and decline that goes beyond a handful of easy targets (Swift, Gaga, Bieber and often, the entirety of rap)
    I don't even think those in parentheses are easy targets; or, rather, I think anything can be an easy target if you decide to arbitrarily apply standards that the targets weren't even aiming for. It helps to actually like pop, to understand its standards, aesthetics, and goals (which aren't monolithic, mind you) before attacking anyone or anything. As someone who genuinely likes the genre, I find much good and bad (and banal) in the mainstream, much good and bad (and banal) outside it. I'm intrigued by trends and following its evolutions--the way, eg, Swift went from a pop-country star to a synth/electronic-pop star is interesting and has had an impact on her songwriting; or how Gaga was responsible for bringing back four-on-the-floor disco, but changed completely for her recent album in which she "dropped" her Gaga persona (which had an impact on her songwriting); or how rock and metal have almost all but disappeared from the mainstream; how rapping has almost replaced the role of guitar solos in bridges; how the 80s have made a comeback among many pop artists; or how underground genres, like trap and trip-hop, have found their way, even if obliquely, into pop music... the list goes on.

    Part of my interest is just in how one is able to watch how creative trends emerge and die away, how cross-genre fertilization happens. When we look at history we're applying a lot of hindsight bias; we know the evolution from Haydn to Mozart to Beethoven to Wagner to Stravinsky, but there's a lot of nuance that's missed in between all that, and we're better able to understand (and sympathize with) the different standards that each composer was going for through that evolution. Pop music is one of the few ways in which we can watch that change take place in real time, and people are more inclined to just react rather than seeking to understand.
    Last edited by Eva Yojimbo; Oct-01-2019 at 12:22.

  11. #24
    Senior Member MacLeod's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    6,818
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Eva Yojimbo View Post
    I don't even think those in parentheses are easy targets;
    I only meant "easy" in the sense that they are among the most prominent of celebrity pop performers - easy to spot, pick out and attack, without having to delve into the vast number of lesser known pop performers across the pop genres (such as feature in the list I linked to). This you would need to do if you really want to survey the state of "melody" in popular music.
    "I left TC for a hiatus, but since no-one noticed my absence, I came back again."

  12. #25
    Senior Member Eva Yojimbo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    1,176
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by MacLeod View Post
    I only meant "easy" in the sense that they are among the most prominent of celebrity pop performers - easy to spot, pick out and attack, without having to delve into the vast number of lesser known pop performers across the pop genres (such as feature in the list I linked to). This you would need to do if you really want to survey the state of "melody" in popular music.
    Fair point there.

  13. Likes MacLeod liked this post
  14. #26
    Senior Member jegreenwood's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    NYC
    Posts
    1,998
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Great melodists are hard to come by - at any time. The US was lucky to have a number of them in the early 20th century - Porter, Rodgers, Gershwin etc. You could add the Brill Building from the 1950-60s, although their melodies - Bacharach excepted -are simpler.

    I can think of very few musicians since then who match that quality on a regular basis. McCartney, Elton John (for a while), arguably Billy Joel produced a decent number of memorable tunes. Many other songwriters would nail it from time to time or in one inspired burst. And of course today's pop tunes are credit as many as 20 songwriters. How do you expect a melody to come from that. I do like the fact that Ariana Grandes "7 Rings" has about 20 songwriters, but Rodgers and Hammerstein get 90% of the royalties. (If you want to know why, you can listen to the song.

    https://hypebeast.com/2019/1/ariana-...am-music-video

    (I decided not to embed it, as I might get kicked out of the forum )

    I listen to WFUV, which offers a mix of indy rock/pop and classic rock (where they often play "deeper cuts"). Several of NYC's original FM DJs moved over to WFUV, when their stations changed format. I find much to listen to. A recent addition was this song, which has a decent melody supporting great lyrics.



    Yeah, I know it's country, but I like it anyway.

    On Saturday night I was at an event where several members of The National, one of the most popular current groups on the station, discussed their newest project - a musical adaptation of Cyrano de Bergerac. We heard a few excerpts, and the songs sounded lovely. Although maybe not as good as "Porgy and Bess."
    Last edited by jegreenwood; Oct-01-2019 at 14:42.

  15. #27
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Nashville, Tennessee
    Posts
    13,001
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by jegreenwood View Post

    I listen to WFUV, which offers a mix of indy rock/pop and classic rock (where they often play "deeper cuts"). Several of NYC's original FM DJs moved over to WFUV, when their stations changed format. I find much to listen to. A recent addition was this song, which has a decent melody supporting great lyrics.
    Thanks for the link! We used to have an indie station in Nashville that played incredible songs which were intelligently written and even had melodies. They ended up going away, sadly. Nowadays I get my nonclassical/nonjazz discoveries through YouTube. There are a lot of independent artists out there who will never get recognized by the mainstream, and they depend on their fans. I'm still amazed that when I put a comment on the videos/Facebook posts of the ones I'm following (Sara Niemetz, Aubrey Logan, Lake Street Dive), they usually give a personal response (at least I think it's them; it might be a secretary amaneusus). They seem to be the ones most in touch with their fan base.
    Last edited by Manxfeeder; Oct-01-2019 at 15:49.

  16. #28
    Senior Member jegreenwood's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    NYC
    Posts
    1,998
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Manxfeeder View Post
    Thanks for the link! We used to have an indie station in Nashville that played incredible songs which were intelligently written and even had melodies. They ended up going away, sadly. Nowadays I get my nonclassical/nonjazz discoveries through YouTube. There are a lot of independent artists out there who will never get recognized by the mainstream, and they depend on their fans. I'm still amazed that when I put a comment on the videos/Facebook posts of the ones I'm following (Sara Niemetz, Aubrey Logan, Lake Street Dive), they usually give a personal response (at least I think it's them; it might be a secretary amaneusus). They seem to be the ones most in touch with their fan base.
    Big fan of Lake Street Dive. Have to check out the other two.

  17. #29
    Senior Member Open Book's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Posts
    561
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    "I do like the fact that Ariana Grandes "7 Rings" has about 20 songwriters, but Rodgers and Hammerstein get 90% of the royalties. (If you want to know why, you can listen to the song."

    Anyone know how long composers get royalties for their music? So dead composers can support their descendants every time their music is played until the royalty period expires? Their aren't many professions where that is possible.
    "No one chooses the tuba" - Alexander von Puttkamer

  18. #30
    Senior Member Eva Yojimbo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    1,176
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Open Book View Post
    Anyone know how long composers get royalties for their music? So dead composers can support their descendants every time their music is played until the royalty period expires? Their aren't many professions where that is possible.
    As long as they have the copyright. Here's a good site that explains how long it takes before art enters the public domain: https://copyright.cornell.edu/publicdomain

  19. Likes Open Book liked this post
Page 2 of 3 FirstFirst 123 LastLast

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •