Everybody is familiar with this week’s, and every week’s Billboard Hot 100 tracks. Whether these songs make you want to go out and dance, or pull your hair out, there’s no way around hearing them. That’s because popular music is played on nearly every radio station, every store, and every restaurant on the face of the earth. So why exactly is has this genre risen above everything else in popularity? What sets it apart from jazz, country, and rock?
Pop is simply short for popular music, so one of its major characteristics is that it is always changing. Back in the 60’s, pop was rock and jazz music, because that was what everyone wanted to hear at the time. Pop continued to grow over time as new generations evolved. The inclusion of electronic elements, hip-hop, and rap continued to redefine the genre. Today, pop is a mixture of electronic dance music, piano ballads, and rap, which is very different from its starting place in the 1960’s.
Pop is heavily associated with visual appeal. Andy Warhol, a painter and photographer popular in the 1980’s, is a perfect example of the visual side of pop culture. His art, classified as “pop art,” was very unique and visually striking. He recreated images of ordinary things, such as portraits or soup cans, and replaced their colors with unconventional colors that pop. He was the most recognized artist of his era. This visual appeal directly connects to pop music as well. Artists like Madonna and Michael Jackson were the most famous, not only because of their music, but because of their performance. They were known for their stage presence, their dancing, and their sexuality. This is what brought people’s attention to them. Looking ahead, the names that have achieved the highest praise in the pop industry include: Britney Spears, Lady Gaga, Bruno Mars, Beyoncé, Prince, and many more. All of these artists have striking visual appeal that goes hand-in-hand with their music.
So to answer my initial questions, pop music has achieved such great success because it stands out from all the other genres due to its ever-changing and adapting sound, and its visual appeal. In ten years, pop music will still be on every radio station, but it won’t sound like it does today.
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