Changein Music Throughout the Decades The music industry is a continuouslygrowing sector of pop culture, that is heavily influenced by prior generation’ssound.
Have you ever wondered why a majority of the Billboard’s top hits oftensound similar? Record labels and the media continue to project songs that gainrevenue and popularity from the radio, and are most downloaded. In an articlewritten by Tom Barnes called “Scientists Just Discovered Why All Pop MusicSounds Exactly the Same”, he gives an insight of how music becomes popular. Theresearchers write, “As music becoming increasingly formulaic in terms ofinstrumentation under increasing sales numbers due to a tendency to popularizemusic styles with low variety and musicians with similar skills” (Barnes). Withthat being said, new music is not always entirely authentic sound; samplingplays a large part in re-vamping from the original music.
Many genres and subgenressing comparable topics and choice words relevant to the generation. Music hasevolved in ways we might have not expected, “The Analysis of the Last 50 Yearsof Pop Music Reveals Just How Much America Has Changed” by Shane Snow, takes asimilar, though contrasting outlook on a subject much like Barnes’s. Snow focuseson the lyrical content by representation of statistics and bar graphs, Snowthen reflects on studies done on music. “Popular subject matter seems to haveshifted from simply happy to a mix of upbeat and dark-partying, lusting,loving, and living and losing. It’s the same stuff really, but with a littlemore specificity” (Snow). As opinionated as Snow comes across, he offers someinsight pictorially with various graphs. These authors analyze quite similartopics however Snow centers substantially on logos and pathos, as Barnes ismore in depth with his ethos and logos.
Shane Snow opens his text withreferencing a strange memory saying- “You can learn a lot about someone fromthe reading material atop his or her toilet.” His quirky intro shows howlighthearted, interesting, and most importantly how credible this article mightbe. It’s clear within the second paragraph Snow gears his text to millennials,and he corrects himself referring to a smartphone, rather than readingmaterial. Shane is inclined to write this article through Kairos, and educateyoung people to improve music culture.
Younger people are more inclined torelate to an article such as Snows, he claims, “I teased my parents about theirdisco until one day all my Green Day and Good Charlotte sounded dated in myheadphones.” I entirely relate to this, since I’ve always given my mother ahard time when she plays her underground club disco music- which is on a wholeother level of strange. Music culture has somewhat evolved but hasn’t been verytasteful within the past few decades. As for lyrics go it’s a monotonous recyclingof prior generations sound, Snow explains “The lyrics we mouthed, the artistswe worshipped, the genres we bumped were all evidence of society sliding intothe sewer.
” Although this negative outlook may reign true to current societalbehaviors of millennials- who are ‘trapping’ or exploiting themselves. TheKairos given the year of early 2015, when the text was published, found theworld in some of the hottest and coldest temperatures. According to theNational Centers for Environmental Information, “The global temperatures in2015 were strongly influenced by strong El Niño conditional that developedduring the year.” Overall 2015 was a whirlwind for many people climate wise butalso musically-given the fact that both Snow and Barnes’s articles were publishedwithin that year. Before scanning through the graphsand data Shane came across, I found it intriguing how he collected his data. “Irecently decided to map our “decay” through samples of popular music from thelast six decades.
I grabbed Billboard’s top 10 song of the third week of Aprilevery 10 years since 1965, and analyzed them.” It was quite a random selection of month to years, although it was quiteextensive in comparison to Barnes’s reference to current hit songs. From 1965’sFreddie And the Dreamers to 2015’s Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars it seems thaticonic truly talented artists aren’t popularized in more current generations. Narrowlytalented artists like Fetty Wap and Flo Rida were featured in the top 10 of2015. The random reference to the Billboard charts throughout the years offersinsight to truly how downhill our music culture has gone. As a listener of manygenres of underground music predominantly on the interface Soundcloud, I findthe generally popular and so called ‘current music’ doesn’t often adhere to myliking. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that some of the featured songs on thesecharts aren’t catchy; I grew up with this music and some of it is connected toprecious memories of my childhood.
If the charts weren’t enough evidence in thechange in music, Snow referenced some compilations of popular lyrics that topartists sang. Just reviewing the lyrics, there are a vast assortment ofrecycled words, some change is shown in the emotions we resonated with throughthe years, but a majority of it is consistent. Shane’s claim is further backedby the clear focus on repetitiveness in sound and lyrical content, “It lookslike top artists of the ’60s and ’70s used a lot of typical poetryvocab-literal lyrics like ‘love’. And, apparently, in the ’80s we were obsessedwith songs about ‘the night’.
In the ’90s with the rise of hip-hop and Rwe get more diversity of vocabulary and topics.” Hip-hop culture as a whole hasallowed the lyrical content in popular music to be diversified. The ’90s was aprime time for artistically unique artists and one hit wonders, who’s soundwill be reflected on within mostly my generation. However, with that accordingto Snow’s studies it seems as though our lyrics got increasingly moredepressive, morbid along with a spike in drug, violence, and profanity risingthroughout 1995-2015. As for an up to date Kairostechnological outlook for 2018, in an article by Darshan Kaler, “Eight BreakingChanges Impacting Music Brands in 2018.
” In the text by Tom Barnes, heincorporates an interactive element to the readers by including YouTube videoswith associated artists he wrote about. Barnes discusses various mainstream andwell-known artists, and why we popularize music that all sounds the same. Throughoutthe article Barnes emphasized how he wants listeners to evoke more of anartistic taste to music and create a better space for music culture. Barnesprovided extensive evidence for research and studies done on music, which madethe article more credible. Studies he credited include Atlantic and University of Vienna.
These sources made the text a well-rounded and unbiased article since Atlantic is a popular news source, whileUniversity of Vienna is a credibleschool in Austria. Since the overall topic is hit pop music, the main audiencewould be listeners of the music, and people concerned about today’s musicculture. It’s likely the media would engage or comment on topics like this one,and Snows; texts such as these provoke a larger conversation in music culture andsales. Even though both articles were posted in 2015, the Kairos give reason asto why these authors posted the photos and videos they did. Taylor Swift,pictured in both articles by Barnes and Snow, depict the popularity of thisparticular artist at the time- and is rhetorically informing that most ofSwift’s music indeed sounds the same. Not to mention, artists like MeganTrainor, along with contrasting pop-folk favorites -Mumford & Sons andLumineers are referenced in Barnes’s text. This article offers only some musicaldimension from the time being in comparison to Snow’s. The textual space of a website isunlike a text on physical paper, as for my analysis I am referring to Snowsarticle on paper, whereas Barnes through my computer.
Although Snows physicalarticle is easier to flip through; Barnes has several videos that relate to theKairos, as well as appealing to pathos through the fans of artists who wereposted. For myself personally I can relate more to Shane Snow’s text more so. Hereferences more artists and commentary I, and a greater extent of millennialsmy age would relate to.