Tuesday, 20 July 2010

History of Pop Music

[LINK] First made in the 1920's in the US pop music made it big in the 1950's when Blues and Country became Rock and Roll and it's subsequent forms.
They have

  • a clear rythm
  • a catchy  lyric
  • a verse chorus structure 
  • a repetitive style
  • 2:30min 3:00min long
  • about romance, relationships or love
Early pop music used ballads, classical music, rock music and electronic music for a dancing beat. They also:

  • Focus on the single not the album
  • Appeal to a general audience
  • Use technology instead of live performances 
  • Encouraging dance with catchy and pumping rhythms 
The chords contrast rhythmically,  melodically and harmonically with the verse. Music Videos were not added to Pop music until later on in the history of pop music. MTV transformed the music industry in the 1980's with it being the first channel to screen the video. In the 1980's. Modern Pop appeals primarily to tweenages though elements of the male gaze and camp scenarious can appeal to gay culture and straight men too or anyone between the ages 15- 34.  Sub Genres of Pop inculude:
New Wave
Neder Pop
Dub Step
Bubble Gum
Heavy Metal
Disco Groove
Hip Hop
Gane Boy Music
Nu rave
R and B
Trip Hop

I could write more but I will just focus for now on the most popular Pop music.

The main genre in the era is Rock and Roll and the Bands are selling to their modern audience by promoting post war optimism. The core audiences of this era are 15-34, Elvis appealed to female audiences through his use of leather and hip action though in this era fame was brought by talent and there talent can be admirable for male audiences too. The upbeat dancey music appeals to younger audiences.

The main genre in this era is ballad or motown music where the focus is now moving away from instrumental talent and we are now through ideologies of feminism and equal women's rights seeing female artist's. Though through the Beatles Rock is still a prominant genre. The Beatles appealed to 11-25 year old females due to their use of slow romantic songs and indepth fashion sense. A question that arises is whether the band is setting fashions by being unique or simply just following trends to apeal to the masses. There artistic ability is still enjoyed by males of that era today.

The Bee Gee's were a aspecially good examples of the Disco Groove genre that became famouse of this era wich became famous through movies such as Dirt Dancing. The hairy chest, tall shoes, flaring trousers and white teeth has become stereotypical today but back then as with Lady Ga Ga's extreme costumes it was unique and therefore appealed to audiences. Here the male identity is reinvented from the suit waring money maker to the free party goer once again it is appealing to young teenagers primarily from 11 - 34. The use of bare chested men in modern fashions may also appeal to the female gaze.

In this era another stereotype convention is once again broken whereby we see a black man portrayed as powerfull. Michael Jackson is bringing in the grouped dancing of a Dance Pop video and appealing to to the masses by including simple well recognizable dance moves which can be copied and therefore sells the song more. However the film is also portraying a female victim as shown by her use of a skirt and use of sreaming both to apeal to the male gaze and because it is using the binary oposites contrasting the sexism of the past with the lack of racial divides in the future to signify to the audience how attitudes should change. On the other hand whilst Michael is a powerfull character you could argue that he has to dress up as a zombie in order to sell the records and therefore cannot just be himself. His reputation as a bleached skinned nip/tuckaholic shows just how far he went to get his voice about race heard.  The individuality of the artist is what sells their brand and therefore the songs. Once again this song apeals to a wide audience including dance culture, males with the use of horror and females with the use of the male protaganist and romance aged 11-34 and both black and white in race. The video is fairly high budget $1,100,000 because it is similar to a horror film.

Lady Ga Ga's bizzare indivduality is used as an intertextual reference and new take on Madonna here we see post feminism whereby Madonna is acting as her own woman and apearing to be in controll of the males around her in the video. However a feminist may say that Madonna still has to dress in dresses to apeal to the male gaze and sell her song. The song itself is a Techno Dance Pop song about the materialism of post modernism hence it is very camp, colourfull and dancey. It would therefore appeal to gay culture, tweenagers and males between 15-34. Whilst Madonna is dresssed to apeal to the male gaze the use of coat on the Human legue song woman signifies she is cold. However the coat also denotes masculin dominance it beign a very masculin looking coat hiding the womans nakedness and vulnerability to the cold. We also see the metrosexuality of the New Romantic lead singer Glenn Gregory as he is wearing makeup and an earing. We also see it in  Jon Bon Jovi with the large hair, it is all to appeal sexually to their audience and create a brand to sell more of the song's. This metrosexuality has moved on somewhat from the flares and white teeth of the previous decade as attitudes to gender identity and sexuality become more relaxed. The question brought up is whether metrosexuality and female sexual suggestivity is and inevitable side effect of feminism, equality and individuality or whether the videos are critiqueing and conflicting with the patriachy and menaisance of modern society.            

In the S Club Seven video we see an unusaul mix of 20-30 year old men and woman who would normally not hang around each other at that age an opostional reading of this is that either the men were gay the women were lesbian or they are trying to pull each other. It is used to appeal to the tweenage audience and they are replicating a friendship group at this age to signify that they are friends. Therefore because they are appealing to a much younger audience the use of male gaze and sexual signifiers is somewhat toned down though in the skimpy crop tops it does still exist. A large role in the music industry in this era is Disco Pop and Dance Pop the videos tend to be very colourfull and the notion of looking becomes prominant. Whilst the Spice girls video apears to contain one continuouse shot there are subtle edits in it once again we are left with the polysemic signifies of whether the Spice Girls are dominating the scene and have individual names by there own choice or whether they are dressed and set to appeal to the male gaze and merely have roles below men rather than names (Sporty, Baby,Ginger).

Here the notion of looking is once again shown with the use of animation in the Busted video. The rebeliousness and contriversiatlity of the band apeals to younger audiences as with Avril Lavigne. The dominance of this decade is the notion of celebrity with Pop Rock being the genre of two of the bands whilst Leona Lewis sung a Ballad. Noam Chomsky's propaganda model comes into mind whereby Leano cannot express any radical ideas for fear of being rejected by Simon Cowell and the record companies but must merely comply with the dominant ideologies rather than creating her own indominant ideologies therefore the higher owners of the music industries can express and influence there ideologies more so than the artists can, creating a communistic society. Of course even the most dominant  owner's of the media mustn't express ideologies that will be rejected by the consumer so the media becomes the sale of ideologies from these dominant oweners through the artists that apeals to the consumer. One may argue that Leono Lewis is just the product of post modernism and a patriachy whereby men such as Simon Cowell own the record companies and woman's sexuality such as Leona Lewis is the product for the sales. There is little doubt that her image is a intertextual reference to Beyonce and other similar artists in order to sell the song. However radical changes in the music industry such as Lady Ga Ga 's image apear to appeal more, though with the music industry forever ageing the difference between artists becomes less and less aparent hence Lady Ga Ga  is a more bizarre intertextual reference to Madonna.     

The Lady Ga Ga video is a hybrid genre of Electro Pop, Dance, Techno, Trance, Dub Step, House music as Techno Club Pop is very prominant of today. It appeals to female tweenagers by showing the protaganist in lots of costumes and make up and by beilng rebellios and contriversial this also apeals to the male gaze of males between 15-34 and gay culture by being camp. In one scene she is naked this could be in a feminist view exploitation as we see her being forced to drink a drink while in a post feminist view she is mearly choosing to get naked and is exploiting her self to all the men we see in the video as a means of self expression. The begining pose and Sci Fi looking silver room is an intertextual reference to Clockwork Orange. The closeups of her with large eyes looking doll like would further signify she is critiqueing womans role within society. The close up of her with no make up in tears signifies that behind her makup she has an identity and is a real person to attract post modernists. The fringe hair and bizzarre costumes are part of her brand image to sell the song. Then notion of looking is shown by the use of her looking at the audience to connect with them and then looking at the men on the screen to either signify her dominance or her indominance as she crawls beneath them. He gender identity is somewhat polysemic as signified by her name. This is a concept and performance based video.   

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