Editorial: Pop music isn’t as good as it used to be

Benji Keeler, Reporter

The thing that Bob Dylan, The Beatles, and Queen all had in common is that they were all great musicians… who wrote their own music. You can hear the sincerity and the emotion in their songs. Real instruments are being used and it feels authentic.

That authenticity and emotion is missing from a lot of current pop songs.

According to The New York Post, many current pop songs have been written by the same two guys for several years. Max Martin and Lukasz Gottwald are responsible for songs like “Party in the USA” by Miley Cyrus; “Shake It Off” by Taylor Swift, and “It’s Gonna Be Me” by NSYNC. While you can’t deny that these songs achieved success on the charts, it starts to feel that the song producing process becomes more about quantity than quality, trying to throw out as many number one hits as possible without care for how good the songs really are.

A common trend in pop music is the use of Auto-Tune, which corrects the pitch of an out-of-tune vocal performance. When this is done, some of the true, raw emotion and passion for the music is lost.. The singer’s pitch will be correct, but it sounds manufactured. In older songs, such as “Yesterday” by The Beatles, Auto-Tune wasn’t invented yet. The emotion in the vocal performance shines through, making it feel real.

Another tool commonly found in the songs you hear on the radio is the use a computer-generated beat and instrumentals. This can lead to a lot of songs that sound very similar to one another, trying to recreate the same sound they’ve been marketing for so long. This removes a sense of personality and individuality from the song, leaving it feeling like every other song you hear on the radio.

Regardless, there’s no denying these songs have found success. According to Elle, the reason behind all this is the sense of familiarity found among the songs. Listeners are more receptive and are willing to give  new songs a try because it feels familiar. The writers and producers have found a sound that works and attempt to capitalize on that, marketing as many songs as possible to listeners who’ve accepted it. These are the songs that you hear on pop radio stations. According to the Music Consumer Insight Report, American consumers listen to music most often when in the car, where the radio tends to be used most. Therefor, they are exposed to these new songs that get stuck in their heads.

With some of music’s best lyricists deceased, there isn’t much that can be done about new music’s improvement. Especially since the sound they use sells, change isn’t likely to come anytime soon.

But there are still plenty of great songs by artists like Queen, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Lou Reed, The Who, Tom Petty, etc…. Songs that were written with thought and produced with the intent of making the highest quality record as possible. Songs that go overlooked by many of today’s youth because it’s not what they would normally hear on the radio. These are the songs that should be on your playlists, and the songs that should be stuck in your head.