There was a time, not so long ago, when the alternative rock scene represented what was going right with music. Nirvana, Oasis, Muse, The Stone Roses; all these bands had a message or, at the very least, something interesting to say.
Seemingly, within the last few years, pop music has had a resurgence--rising defiantly from the darkest pits of monotony and repetition to remind us once more why we loved the genre in the first place.
It figures pop music would make its return now.
Pop and indie charts are filled with artists whose parents likely played old ABBA and Fleetwood Mac tapes with the exuberance of the pre-mp3 generation. The way that pop sounds now is certainly different to what it sounded like 10 years ago. It's packaged differently, constructed differently, and has a different energy.
Pop and Politics
Seemingly, pop artists have picked up where punk has left off. The Macklemores and Lady Gagas of the world have led the revolution of artists championing social justice issues.
Modern punk has utterly betrayed itself. Falling down on issues of government and solidarity, and instead clinging fitfully to themes of apathy and discontent.
Pop music has taken over in an era when fans can be won with social and political messaging. At a completely base level, it's simply nice to know that your favourite artists are human beings with human opinions. At the moment, pop is winning that battle.
Pop music sounds good.
Lots of things sound good. But, right now, pop music sounds the best. There is nothing more gratifying than a hook that swings masterfully from verse to bridge to chorus in an engaging and dynamic way.
The best producers in modern music have completely flocked to the genre, defining the sounds and feeling of the decade.
Of course, there are things that don't sound good but, these days, masterful producers and big bold populist sounds dominate the airwaves.
Pop music acts as the ultimate sponge. Where other genres remain rigid and basic in their execution, pop music tends to absorb, blend, and morph into so many different things. That, in part, is the reason for its continued success.
Years & Years are one example of a band that has taken dance, pop, rock, and soul elements and combined them for some of the most exciting sounds in the genre.
I don't give a shit, let the fucking Taylor Shits and One Erections sell their fucking sodas and edible panties, I don't give a shit about any of that.Corey Taylor of Slipknot
The cynicism that comes along with "alternative" or "subversive" genres is completely boring and played out. People like Noel Gallagher who remain staples of their various genres but constantly churn out toxic messages about 'who gets to play Glastonbury' or 'why One Direction suck' are undeniably the most pathetic part of mainstream 'alt' culture.
Although pop as a genre can seem glossy and mechanical, that exuberance of a great pop tune beats the hatefulness that so many musicians and talking heads harbour for their fellow artist.
It's easy to fall in love with a great tune. The same feeling that you experienced upon first hearing Michael Jackson's "Thriller" still exists in today's pop world. When I think about the music that makes me feel good, I think about new pop and the wealth of mainstream producers absolutely crushing the genre.