For decades the pop industry and genre has been the host of massive trends, but sometimes trends go on for too long or die out far too quickly. In today’s article I will state three trends that I think have become tired and simply need to say bye-bye, and three trends that left us far too quickly.
1. TROPICAL HOUSE
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m a lover of Tropical House and the current reign it has over pop music, however with that being said I believe that the influence and direct use of Tropical House in Pop music has become very overdone. I personally started listening to Tropical House in early 2014 when I discovered it on the wonderful and ever growing music provider Spotify and I fell in love with it’s chilled sound that made me recall holiday nights in the Mediterranean and I was pleasantly surprised and happy when it wormed it’s way into the mainstream thanks to Justin Bieber’s hits “What Do You Mean?” and “Sorry”. However here we are in 2017 almost two years after it became mainstream and three for me personally, the genre and style has been done to utter death with hits like “Cheap Thrills”, ‘Shape of You”, ‘Let Me Love You” and more taking either direct reference or influence from the genre, I think it’s high time we moved on to another genre now in mainstream pop music! [Keep reading to see which genre I think Pop needs a revival of!]
2. DEEP POP
I may get a lot of hassle for this however I firmly stand by this. Pop music in it’s essence is meant to be about fun and playful ideas, but in the past 3 or so years many popstars have tried to dig deep with their albums making deep and personal songs [written by songwriters/songwriting camps] as well as songs about the current social and political climate, which in theory works very well and spreads awareness. However it’s a personal belief that Pop music was created as a gateway away from sadness and seriousness but thanks to critics and fans alike becoming more tenacious in their assault on “basic pop music”, the spirit of Pop has become somewhat tainted and dragged down. The trend began to creep in with songs like “Born This Way” and “Firework” in the early 2010s which were good in all honesty, they captured the fun and uplifting elements of Pop but had a social message, now sadly social and political messages are within very broody songs and those who try to be uplifting feel half baked, it’s gotten to the point where some artists’ PR teams try to paint their latest porject as deep whilst it’s lyrics say otherwise… Let’s just call a spade a spade basically. I think it’s time for Pop music to return to it’s roots amongst those most popular popstars who have the ability to make its traditional meaning much more [no pun intended] popular. It’s time for Pop to become a bit more carefree and fun again as I’m sure that will have a better impact and make people feel better in the current social and political climate.
3. THE AURA OF MYSTERY [OR LACK THEREOF]
One big thing that has been lost as of late in Pop music and Pop culture in general is the element of mystery and surprise. Songs and personas in Pop no longer have the air of mystery, artists will lay their whole life story out on the line nowadays in interviews from how much they weighed at birth to the last thing they ate, whilst years ago artists like Bowie and Mercury would keep their cards close to their chest and keep the air of mystery about them that kept people interested in them. Nowadays artists and Pop culture figures are having shorter lived peaks and careers because they’re laying everything on the line at once for all to see, whilst openness and honesty is good, keeping your audience captivated in your palm for a long period of time with mystery and shocking revelations from time to time in both your music and personal life is the key to a longer and successful career I feel.
TRENDS THAT NEED A COMEBACK.
In an ideal world, one of the most fun genres in history would make a comeback, Disco. The genre was particularly popular in the 70s and was initially popularized in gay clubs in New York City in the late 60s, the genre was particularly underground for some time and was the Dance music of it’s time eventually becoming a major mainstream and popular mainstream club genre. Since the genre died out later that decade to be replaced by Dance and Synthpop in the 80s especially, the genre has had the odd hit here and there most notably as of late with the Daft Punk hit “Get Lucky” which brought back traditional Disco with a modern twist, and the genre had and still has so much potential. It would be the perfect genre for the modern age as there’s a focus on the combination of both authenticity and fun in Pop music in the recent climate, because the genre effortlessly combines [in the modern age] dance and synthpop elements with authentic rock-esque elements such as live guitars, drums and bass. I suspect that the genre may return to the mainstream within the next 4-5 years because the odd Disco inspired hit has been making it’s way into the mainstream since the late 2000s with Katy Perry’s “Chained To The Rhythm” and Chris Brown’s “Zero” in recent years. Not to mention one of the biggest late 2000s album “The Fame” had heavy Disco-Dance influences on it’s huge single run! I see the genre getting a full revival in the next forthcoming decade [2020s] for sure if no one takes the helm to make it popular beforehand.
2. COHERENT AND RELEVANT ALBUMS
In 2017 it’s a sad truth but as Beyonce once said “no one makes albums anymore”, only the few and far between Pop acts are willing to put the effort into coherent and genuinely amazing albums rather than being simply a singles artist. Sure a singles artist may get more airplay time, and may garner more awards and achievements but I find album artists gain more critical acclamation and put more effort into their craft, and when it’s done right- individual songs become relatively timeless or don’t age like milk essentially.
Streaming services have put more focus on individual songs and singles in the last year or so, which ties into my first Overdone Trends point about many mainstream songs becoming similar in sound and structure, but there’s nothing better than having a spectacular album be released. By relevant in this point I mean making actual albums a relevant subject again, to make people want to go and buy physical album copies again for the nostalgia and love of having a physical record and a piece of memorabilia – a love I’m very happy to still personally have.
We need artists to craft songs that are perfect as a body of work and not just perfect for three minutes on the radio or jammed into someone’s similarly sounding singles playlist on streaming services. In essence we need more albums like Lemonade, Born This Way, ANTi, E•MO•TION, Random Access Memories and even Channel Orange in modern pop.
3. THE RETURN OF THE MALE ARTIST
Over the last few decades, Male pop figures have become one in the same and unlike a lot of female pop figures, they seem to show a lack of diversity amongst their artistry and focus more on selling sex by posing shirtless on every magazine, having strippers and oversexualised imagery in their videos and a lack of non-heteronormative and suggestive artistry. Pop Music needs the return of a Artistic and Flamboyant male artist who can keep up with female stars like Lady Gaga, Beyonce and Katy Perry when it comes to artistic evolution and creating an aura.
We may very well be seeing that soon with Bisexual artist Frank Ocean gaining some ground and Harry Styles from One Direction embarking on a solo career this year, whilst in his band he had the aura of Mick Jagger about him and his fashion, he also had the aura of mystery so could he be the next big male artist? Will pop ever get back it’s Jaggers, Bowies, Jacksons and Mercury’s? Only time will tell.