“Turn on the radio!” someone cries out. The atmosphere of the car is full of energy, and you and your friends are impatiently awaiting the tune that is about to blast through the speakers. Excited to please your friends, you turn on the most popular local pop music station. The nation’s latest jam fills everyone’s ears, the catchy melody making you dance in your seat. You and your friends automatically know the words to every song that plays throughout the car ride. Have you ever thought to yourself, what exactly am I listening to? Haven’t I heard this song already? Recently, I had a musical epiphany. Pop music today sucks. The pop music industry has taken the innocent millennial population of America by the ear, and encouraged them to give up billions of dollars for music that is no longer worthy of their money. Today’s most popular pop music has been condensed into an artless form of money making that has little creativity or meaning.
If a song you hear on the radio sounds familiar, that’s because it is. In American musician Patrick Metzger’s blog The Patternin, he describes a phenomenon called the “millennial whoop,” a sequence of notes that has been included in a majority of the pop music today on the radio. The melody “alternates between the fifth and third notes of a major scale, typically starting on the fifth.” When you listen to anything that seems familiar, the reward centers in the emotional part of the brain light up, sending a happy feeling throughout your body. Therefore, pop music companies are ultimately brainwashing you to buy their music by pumping out content that sounds the same.
Not only are companies creating music that sounds the same, they are literally forcing you to listen to the songs over and over again. In order to get the full impact of their newest release, they want to be sure that the public is hearing the song in any car, restaurant, or convenience store. This is done through a phenomenon called “payola” when music labels essentially pay radio stations big money to play their song every hour of every day. When you hear the same song several different times as you go about your day, memorizing it is inevitable. That’s why all of your friends somehow know all the words to “today’s top hits” without actually taking the time to listen them individually.
Grandparents have complained about “today’s music” for generations. Why is now any different? The truth is, our grandparents are absolutely right. Pop music just keeps declining; each year it’s worse than the year before. Unfortunately, this time, we are dangerously close to rock bottom. It seems that you don’t even need to be talented to get high in the charts - autotune your voice, play some techno beats and you’ll have yourself a number one hit single. It seems like the less effort put into the creation of a song and the less meaning it exemplifies, the more money it makes.
Since iconic pop artists like Michael Jackson, who had an extremely unique style and vibe to his music, pop has become horrible. Statistics have shown that the music industry toys with the minds of young millennials by stuffing their heads with meaningless songs and tunes that all sound exactly the same. Music labels have destroyed the view of pop music as an art form, but rather an empty object used purely to appeal to the masses and make money. More people need to realize, as I did, that our taste in music isn’t really ours. Next time you listen to the radio, stop, take a second, and ask yourself, “do I even like this song?”