What is pop music?
What is pop music?
Pop music is popular at a time and place. The connotation the word elicits is more important than its formal meaning. The selected readings from the BBC (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/6666725.stm), Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_popular_music), and a Japanese opinion page (http://www.gpwu.ac.jp/~biddle/youth.htm) pointed to trends and history. Common amongst all readings were resulting youth empowerment, female empowerment, shift in power, frustration, amplitude, rhythm, and money. Reading about early American â€śBlack Faceâ€? Minstrel shows was interesting because is so nearly resembled todayâ€™s infatuation with Black culture in the form of hip-hop. Also, I thought it interesting the wikipedia article didnâ€™t distinguish between bluegrass and country music. In talking with professional bluegrass band â€śValerie Smith and Liberty Pikeâ€? country music was birthed after Bill Monroe created the â€śBlue Grass Boysâ€? sound in 1939 and the invention of the amplifier in 1930. As far as Valerie and the other musicians have told me, country music is a combination of Bluegrass and rock nâ€™ roll. The defining difference is the utilization of amplification and drums. Since I know bluegrass musicians I was miffed that the only reference to the music was â€śhillbillyâ€? music. Thereâ€™s a joke the band likes, â€śWhatâ€™s the difference between a country and bluegrass musicianâ€¦ about $10,000.â€? This is further supported by the articleâ€™s assertion that with loud music, rhythmic emphasis comes financial and popular support. Yuri Mrakadi makes an interesting point about the tension of artistic vision and quality versus business.
"When I used to have a production house, before I started singing, I once had a major artist who came to me and said, I want to do a video clip. "I said OK, we can do that, and I asked about the song. He said: 'No, I don't have the song yet, but I have the car and the villa.' I swear to God! "I said: 'Oh, really. He said: 'Yes, we're ready.'" -Yuri Mrakadi
Yuri Mrakadi hits on the tension of artistry and capitalism within this quote. I agree with Yuri that creating â€śblingâ€? with no content is artistically frustrating. As much as the youth and individuals desire a genuine expression for an inherent desire to be an individual so do artists desire a canvas. Just like individuals need a family to rebel against to be seen as autonomous, so too does a musician need to both accept and fight business.
As I look over this entry, I canâ€™t help note that Iâ€™m listening to my favorite play list on itunes which contain songs and music that evoke a variety of memories that I use to drown out the small attention deficit disordered child in my head crying for gratification or diversion. As I have now turned off the music I notice my finger creep towards the volume button to resume my monologue with theme music. Now scrolling through my play list, which ironically has no blue grass included, I can tell the kind of mood I was in the day I downloaded it and the type of day I was having when I first grew to like the song. Perhaps rather than thinking of pop music as a diversion we can use to slip our students some wholesome education, pop music is a way in which we color our experience deriving a background from pre packaged tiles. Pop music individually is derivative, redundant, and highly commercialized. A single glass tile by itself is boring, but when combined with other boring glass tiles becomes an entirely new mosaic taking on a new larger meaning. Pop music, is the song that jumped out of the speaker at a time, place, and emotion, and perhaps made us realize some simple thing about ourselves in a time and place and combined with other simple reflexive experiences make a play list. Even in my example of Bill Monroe and the â€śBlue grass boysâ€? being over sighted by wikipedia, I made the assertion because of my relationship with my friends the blue grass musicians not because I particularly like the blue grass boys, but because I like my friends. I think our connection to pop music is similar. Itâ€™s not necessarily how popular the song is, as much as it is that the song â€śpoppedâ€?.