Pop Music

What is it That Makes Music Pop Music?

When talking about pop music we really can't narrow down our discussion into one musical category. The name is short for popular music, so in essence, all popular music is pop to some extent, by definition.

Borrowed Genre

Pop really is a borrowed genre as its elements are only partly its own. It takes a lot from blues, country, rock, hip-hop, almost any other type of music you can think of. Maroon 5 would be pop, but it does have heavy elements of rock and some blues here and there. In the 60's Frank Sinatra was classified as pop, and so was Elvis, many of us would not think of them as Pop.


Pop music is usually known for being relatively simple, many people criticize it for this property. While this is a very bad way to criticize music, it is true. Simple melodies, chord progressions, memorable lyrics and structure is a staple of pop, but we can't really say it is bad because of this. Some Beatles songs are very simple, yet they are not criticized, while actually the Beatles was (and is) a part of pop.


Pop can be most fully described through its history. As trends and tastes change so does pop, because it effectively reflects what's popular at any given time. The 1950 era was carried by Elvis, Bing Crosby, Sinatra, Dean Martin, all artists that are considered classics today.
The 1960s was quite the time to live in, in terms of pop music, the Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, The Supremes, Bob Dylan, Simon and Garfunkel, the list is endless.
The 1970s could also be known as the time for high-pitched pop, or the time for disco. Bands like Abba, Queen, Jackson Five, Rod Stewart, Billy Joel, Elton John dominated the music scene and made truly great music.
The 80's brought the artist who can be proud of the best selling album of all time, hitting somewhere near the 100 million mark, of course we are talking about Michael Jackson.The 80's had a very unique sound that can be found in artists of the era. Cher, Prince, Tina Turner, The Police, Eurythmics, there are just so many!
The 90's brought a difference to the pop scene. It became much more varied, R&B influences were in fashion, like Mariah Carey, but also seasoned artists like Eric Clapton found a Pop niche with his major hits. Other major artists include the Backstreet Boys, Sheryl Crow, Celine Dion, Madonna, and so on.
The millennium hasn't yet shifted the pop music scene so much. R&B is still a big influence, even bigger than ever. Big names are Justin Timberlake, Nelly Furtado, Robbie Williams, Black Eyed Peas and the big names of the 90's.


In essence pop is made by numbers. If music fits into the trend and enough people listen to it, it is pop. While this may seem a weird categorization method, time has proven that this is actually what happens. What else defines a genre than taste and sound? Because sound is so subject to taste pop is only defined by taste, the taste of the millions listening to a record.

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