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

  1. #31
    Senior Member norman bates's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jegreenwood View Post
    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.
    the idea that with two writers you had a good song and adding eighteen more you had the crap that Ariana Grande is singing is quite hilarious
    What time is the next swan?

  2. #32
    Senior Member Eva Yojimbo's Avatar
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    Though I don't like that song myself (the bland production and lack of any memorable vocal hook/melody kills it), I do think there's something rather creative about how they took My Favorite Things and turned it into a cynical ode to gross consumerism:

    "Whoever said money can't solve your problems
    Must not have had enough money to solve 'em"

    Is actually a pretty damn funny lyric.
    Last edited by Eva Yojimbo; Oct-03-2019 at 11:26.

  3. #33
    Senior Member Room2201974's Avatar
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    No melody is not my complaint about modern pop. I watch a certain late night tv show where new groups are featured all the time and thing I've noticed is almost a total lack of middle eights and the bridges that go with them. All we get are verse and chorus, repeat that three or four times and your done. It's like a world too busy for a songwriter to write a complete song, and listeners who don't have time to hear one either. My comp prof used to say that a good song should be like a composition without the development of material, but you should still endeavor as a songwriter to "go someplace and then come back."

    As others have pointed out, good melody still exists outside the parameters of the article. Pasek and Paul are just warming up in my opinion. And my old standby, Neil Finn, although not "modern" is still, unlike Billy Joel, cranking out good melodies and good middle eights.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=9q7Jr0w5MLk


    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=0Fq7DMbsVSk
    I wrote a song about dental floss. Did anyone's teeth get cleaner? ~ Frank Zappa

  4. #34
    Senior Member violadude's Avatar
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    Personally I still hear good melody in pop music, even taking the very narrowest definition of it. Take Sia's "Chandelier". Of course the verses are very monotone, the melody in the chorus actually has, imo, a really fantastic arch to it that builds and carries through a climax quite effectively:



    As for an artist like Arianna Grande, I mean ya 7 rings is just a My Favorite Things ripoff, but I think songs like this actually have a melody that's pretty well constructed, and also has a nice buildup



    Daniel Ceaser is another pop musician that has a really great vocal range and I think his melodies are quite soaring and..well..melodic. Not at all the generic monotone that you would expect from the stereotype of pop music.




    Besides, this is nothing new really. I mean, are the melodies like I posted above any simpler than old folk songs like Mary Had a Little Lamb? People have always listened to simple melodies that aren't as "profound" as something from the Saint Mathew Passion...
    Last edited by violadude; Jan-10-2020 at 10:07.

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  6. #35
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    I've been enjoying podcasts from Hooked on Pop . One of the hosts is a musicologist, and he analyzes what these songs are doing (maybe at times reading too much into them), but it's helped me see a little under the surface of what's out there.

  7. #36
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    Oops. I mean Switched on Pop.

  8. #37
    Senior Member Red Terror's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by starthrower View Post
    I have no interest in tuneless pop music. Am I supposed to be intoxicated with the simplistic rhythmic qualities and techno beats? I like music made by musicians who can play instruments and create melodies.

    The producer of that video ought to look a little farther than Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, and Rap, because there are hundreds of artists creating melodic music. I listen to Michael Franti, Hiatus Kyote, and Thundercat, just for a few examples.
    Quite impressed with Hiatus Kyote. Nice pick, Star!

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  10. #38
    Senior Member Dorsetmike's Avatar
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    Can any modern pop be classed as music?????????
    I'm like my avatar .................. a local ruin

  11. #39
    Senior Member starthrower's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Red Terror View Post
    Quite impressed with Hiatus Kyote. Nice pick, Star!
    Their second CD, Choose Your Weapon is superb! Unfortunately their vocalist developed some serious health problems which put them on a literal hiatus for an indefinite period.
    “Music makes you feel feelings. Words make you think thoughts. But a song can make you feel a thought.”

    - Yip Harburg

  12. #40
    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
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    I have to agree with the OP, because there is music I listen to which is not melodic, and there is plenty of substance to it besides melody. Melody is only one aspect of music. The others are rhythm, timbre, dynamics, pitch, as well as a myriad of associations we make as listeners.

    I think the OP is flawed, though, in that it tries to milk meaning out of the old cliché that "rap has no melody, that's not music, it's just a beat with talking over it, etc." which was used (in modified form) as a criticism of "modern" music in general.
    "The way out is through the door. Why is it that no one will use this method?"
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  13. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dorsetmike View Post
    Can any modern pop be classed as music?????????
    Does this question really deserve an answer??????????

  14. #42
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    I had little interest in pop music 'til the good old '80s. Being a classical musician, it wasn't my thing. But, with the onset of some really catchy pop musicians and songs at that time, I began to listen a lot. Melodies that you could REMEMBER caught my ear. Stuff like Madonna, Boy George, Michael Jackson. I also really liked...wait for it... DISCO! The same "Latin" beat as described in today's music but WITH really upbeat melodies (plus it was the only thing I could really dance to).
    So, my favourite time for Pop was about 1975-85. Then something happened. Not just the zero melody Rap, but the melodies just seemed to get boring, repetitive, one or 2 chord changes only, etc. It went nowhere. Hip Hop.....NO!!!
    My wife likes SOME of the stuff the last 30+ years. Some of it seems to play at the '80s--just a little melody to make you think it's gunna be really good, but no. Young people have told me it catches on because it's easy to dance to--no argument there, but I need someting more. Something I can listen to in the car on a long trip.
    We've watched shows such as The Voice, when at times a modern tune is sung that does have a lot of chordal variation and showcases the contestant's ability with range and dynamics. But, try to sing back the melody you just heard--can't. TOO much wandering around.
    Last edited by TMHeimer; Jan-22-2020 at 00:38.

  15. #43
    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
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    Pop music is, and never was, primarily concerned with the purely musical device known as 'melody.' Pop music is about 'gesture' and timbre, color, and texture; with setting a mood.

    Billie Elish's vocals are barely audible; without a microphone they would be. Her 'noises' are more gestural, conveying vulnerability. Her music seems not to convey 'musical' ideas, but moods, stances, gestures, in the service of lifestyle and her age group.

    The 'song' is a disappearing form, because it exists in the abstract as a written form, in lead sheets. In many pop items, this "form" is barely there, if at all. The scaffolding is now rhythm.

    Much pop and experimental music is composed by sound, not written. This opens the door to "collage" and juxtapositions of pure sound. Computers have enabled this.

    Now, compositions are not based on "musical" elements, but are pastiches and combinations of sounds, pure sounds.
    Last edited by millionrainbows; Feb-06-2020 at 15:34.

  16. #44
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    There can be some good pieces even in modern music but I always like when more classical musicians are making covers out of these...example the Brooklyn Duo (Cello/piano) which for me is really making the link between classical music and modern music

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9eIPllih7Qg

  17. #45
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    Today's music (or in general since the end of the 80s)--
    -- No real melody that you can remember after the song plays.
    -- Not much at all regarding chordal structure. Often long periods on the same chord or two chords total in the song.
    Very boring.
    -- One #1 hit in around 2000 contained one chord only.
    -- Yes, you can dance to today's music.
    -- Disco: Today's Hip Hop but with nice melodies that you can also dance to.
    -- We all make fun of Disco anyway......!!!?
    tomheimer.ampbk.com/

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