Popular culture … a world that makes pure sense…. Or does it?
Two of the biggest names in pop music drop tracks within the span of 13 hours of each other!
Is it rivalry? Is it a battle for pop supremacy?
Queens of pop: though creatively and stylistic different, suspiciously both tracks leaked on the same day! Each track representing something true to their artist - Roar goes for lyrical uplift, Applause hits with sonic heft.
Gaga, in her classic defiance of the norm was last week filmed nude in a bizarre Kickstarter video for the Marina Abramovic Institute. The Lead single from the fourth album Applause is a tad different from Gaga’s previously releases – singing the verses in an almost stiff, half spoken manner, though chorus kicks in and you can feel the energy of the song build.
Perry on the other hand revealed album PRISM on a GOLD PLATTED truck – No small announcement that made its way around the states. Roar the first single from the artist since her divorce from Russell Brand, sending a lyrically empowering tune with a killer hook in the chorus.
A little bit of pop competition never hurt anyone though the Little Monsters and the Katy Cats may have already chosen sides? The pop world just got a little more exciting.
A thought for your Valentines Day…
Maybe it’s just wishful thinking or a flower thing but do you think Bruno Mars
is channeling Aussie legend Mark Holden in his latest video??
OK so he obviously isn’t, but wouldn’t it be great if he was?
Just another Cool Accident I guess?
Now even though Cool Accidents doesn’t often delve into the world of pop, I thought it might be worth our while doing a wrap of the years best pop tunes, I started compiling the list and realised damn! there’s been some BIG tunes over the past 12 months, From inescapable earwormers by Carly Rae Jepsen,Taylor Swift & Bruno Mars to the novelty pop perfection of Psy, not too mention our own Gotye’s worldwide domination with Somebody That I Used To Know*, 2012 has been a great year for pop music & guilty pleasures.
Halfway through my search I stumbled across this video below by DJ Earworm, who has gone and done the hard work for anyone compiling a list of the years best by expertly chopping up 25 of 2012’s hottest tracks into tiny pieces then rearranging them into this 4 minute mashup masterpiece that takes elements of each track and forms, in effect an entirely new song. Wow.
The amazing video above contains elements of the pop hits below:
Gotye and Kimbra - Somebody That I Used To Know * Fun. - Some Nights * Carly Rae Jepsen - Call Me Maybe * Maroon 5 - One More Night * Fun. and Janelle Monáe - We Are Young * Maroon 5 and Wiz Khalifa - Payphone * Ellie Goulding - Lights * Rihanna - Diamonds * Bruno Mars - Locked Out Of Heaven * Ke$Ha - Die Young * Kelly Clarkson - Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You) * Flo Rida - Good Feeling * Nicki Minaj - Starships * The Wanted - Glad You Came * Adele - Set Fire To The Rain * Lumineers - Ho Hey * One Direction - What Makes You Beautiful * Flo Rida and Sia - Wild Ones * Phillip Phillips - Home * Bruno Mars - It Will Rain * Katy Perry - Wide Awake * Alex Clare - Too Close * PSY - Gangnam Style * Taylor Swift - We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together * Flo Rida - Whistle
For all things pop music be sure to check out our sister site the Pop Mob blog.
*OK so we had this first back in 2011, WE WERE AHEAD OF THE CURVE FOR ONCE!
via Rap Genius
If America’s culture is, as the writer Albert Murray once said, “incontestably mulatto,” it’s no wonder that one of its most successful pop stars is the culturally omnivorous Bruno Mars. Mars, who released his new single “Locked Out of Heaven” yesterday, was born in Hawaii to Puerto Rican and Filipino parents and is multi-racial himself, but that’s not even the beginning of the story. Much like the pop of the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, an obvious influence on and precursor to Mars’ own chart-toppers, his music brings together disparate strands of our heritage. For someone so early in his career, Mars has managed not only to have his name on a stunningly large number of smash hit songs, but to do something both timely and classic-sounding in the often-disposable realm of pop.
The modern inventors of that realm were the hit songwriters of the late 1950’s and early 60’s. Mostly working out of two buildings in New York City (the Brill Building and 1650 Broadway), young white songwriters would meld the R&B and blues song forms from so-called “race records”, the Latin rhythms they heard in the uptown streets, and teenage lyrical concerns – many of them were fresh out of high school themselves – into songs like “Under the Boardwalk,” “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow,” “Spanish Harlem,” “Hound Dog,” “The Loco-motion,” and countless more, often sung by young black and Latin artists. That approach would spread its tentacles to Detroit, where Motown would use a similar assembly-line approach (teams of songwriters, arrangers, producers. and musicians handing songs off to singers or groups) to world-changing effect.
A similarly polyglot style would come to shape the music of the artist formerly known as Peter Hernandez. Mars’ work trades heavily on the pop forms perfected by the teams of writers mentioned above. Even his most under-developed early work has pre-choruses, bridges, and all the other hallmarks of pop songcraft. His songs, like those of his predecessors, are concise and effective, containing simple and catchy melodic ideas, and complete with the “ah”’s and “yeah yeah yeah”s that have carried songs along since well before John and Paul.
But, much like the pop of the past mixed up influences from different races and genres, Bruno’s music does as well. His music contains a significant amount of reggae, enough that he actually collaborated with a Marley kid, and his vocal style owes more than a little to modern, melisma-heavy R&B singers.
What makes Mars the most modern, though, and not just an updated version of that dude he used to impersonate, is the fact that he understands and incorporates elements of hip-hop. It’s no accident that his first hits (“Nothin’ On You” and “Billionaire”) were hooks for rap songs. He is able to use a certain type of lyrical swagger, and the reason both “Billionaire” and “Fuck You” (written by Mars and his production and writing partners, The Smeezingtons for Cee-Lo) work so well is that they graft a materialistic, aggressive (notice the prominent cursing in both tunes) attitude onto a gorgeous melody. This incongruity grabs the listener immediately, and is no small part of the fact that both songs were such giant hits.
While Mars is far from the only modern pop singer to sport some rap flavor, it goes deeper with him than most. His whole approach to music is far more hip-hop than its sound might at first indicate. Rap listeners are used to hearing loops – short musical phrases repeated over and over throughout the song. Many of Mars’ best songs simply move this template to the pop world. They use the same chord progression, without variation, through the whole tune – even while keeping pop song structure (verse, chorus, etc.) This is hardly unique to Mars – Katy Perry and Lady Gaga have experimented with these ideas as well. But Mars has arguably done it the best, thanks mostly to stellar arrangements. The songs change enough in instrumentation, dynamics, and structure that they don’t suffer at all for not changing chords. Think of his monster hit “Just The Way You Are,” which somehow managed to make a four-chord progression at a crawlingly slow tempo into a huge single. Or “Marry You,” which never loses its sense of fun despite its harmonic stasis. This is in contrast to the Gagas of the world who use their loops in a form closer to dance music, where changes of all kinds are kept to a bare minimum.
Mars has both his own songwriting and arranging chops to thank for his success with loops, but also hip-hop itself, and the people who listen to it. There is a huge audience that is used to, and in fact expects, music to stay largely static throughout songs. The fact that Mars has been able to use that fact to his advantage rather than as a limitation says a great deal about his songwriting ability and smarts. If he keeps up his current level of output, there may be room for him in the discussion of great pop songwriters, along with Goffin and King, Leiber and Stoller, Smokey Robinson, and Holland-Dozier-Holland. Will we still love him tomorrow? No one knows, of course, but only a fool would bet against him based on what he’s accomplished so far.
-Same Old Shawn for Rap Genius
The good people over at The Guardian have come up with an alphabetical guide to modern day pop, From Afrobeats to Zombie Rock and everywhere in between, It’s a comprehensive list of genres, some of which you’ll know and others that sound like they were made up 5 minutes ago.
You can head on over to the Guardian site for the full A-Z breakdown
and just in case you thought these were made up, they’ve even gone and created an accompanying A-Z Spotify playlist which gives you an audio taste of 25 of the 26 genres (Tumblrwave is just too damn new apparently) Check it out below.