Today’s mainstream music often gets a lot of flak for its repetitiveness. Pop artists such as Billie Eilish, Ariana Grande and Lizzo dominate radio stations and streaming services. Today’s pop music is decried for sounding extremely similar; out of the eight nominees for Best Album at the 2020 Grammys, four are pop albums. While many mainstream pop songs of today sound similar, with an electronic beat and soft female vocals, this is not due to the lack of originality of the artists. Instead, this repetition is a result of the songwriting process of the modern music industry.
However, I bet you didn’t know one thing: all these songs, as well as many more top 100 hits, were written by one man named Max Martin. Martin’s impressive hit single repertoire includes classics such as Britney Spears’s “Hit Me Baby One More Time” and NSYNC’s “It’s Gonna Be Me.” Additionally, prolific producer Dr. Luke has written songs such as “Primadonna” by Marina and “Party in the USA.” The main thing that we can take away from this is that ultimately, pop music sounds similar because most of it is written by the same few producers. Naturally, if one person writes dozens of pop songs, those songs will sound similar.
These producers collaborate frequently, compounding the problem. Additionally, mainstream music utilizes the same instruments and sounds often, resulting in a monotonous tone. This combination of the same few producers and the same few instruments forming almost all of modern pop music leads to the unfortunate outcome that almost all mainstream music sounds the same. While there are some innovative new sounds coming out of the music industry, modern pop music is largely the same across the board. This extreme monotony has led to the modern music industry gaining the negative reputation it has today.
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