I put the music channel on as a background to write a completely different blog post, but a couple of songs later I’ve changed my mind. Call me a cynic, but all the songs seem carbon copies of each other. I don’t mean that in the same way that Katy Perry’s Teenage Dreams and California Girls have the same chorus beat (try singing one over the chorus of the other and you’ll find it fits perfectly.) It’s a lot more widespread than that.
It’s the findamental way songs seem to be structured. Pretty, scantily-clad young female singing chorus; man, often dressed in an oversized coat, or at least with more on than his female counterpart, and normally with sunglasses, rapping the verses. Of course, that’s not a rigid format. Sometimes there’s a male singer instead of the female.
How has it come to be that every song seems to be identical to the one before it? It must be a popular format, else it wouldn’t be constantly repeated, but it seems like there’s very little diversity in music these days. The only two songs in the past hour to have bucked the trend were McFly (playing their own instruments like one of the old-school bands that used to exist back in the 90s) and Scissor Sisters (cheesy electro-pop that, again, mirrors the 90s.)
The singer/rap formula isn’t new. Justin Timberlake’s Cry Me A River is an early example, albeit with much less rap intrusion than it would have if it was released today. From watching the video, there is a man who contributes four lines to the song in a sort of rap format. Listening to the song, I wasn’t actually able to tell it wasn’t Justin using a different voice, but the video makes it obvious.
It seems that making a pure song isn’t possible these days. Even songs which have perfectly good vocals have rap over the top of them, ruining them. Call me a cynic, but rap and pop are two distinct genres, and blurring them has somehow become popular in a way that I can’t comprehend. Maybe it was because bands from the 1990s and early 2000s, such as S Club 7, Backstreet Boys and the Spice Girls lost their coolness and people were afraid to make pop music for fear of comparison. Maybe it was the American influence on British music that brought rap into the mainstream. Maybe an amalgamation of the two produced the hybrid rap-pop music we hear today.
Whatever the cause, there seems no chance of it going anywhere fast, with previously popular singers such as Enrique Iglesias resorting to including a rapper on his latest song. X Factor winner Alexandra Burke doesn’t seem to have released a single without anyone else’s support on it since her debut Hallelujah was gifted the Christmas Number One spot a couple of years ago. So for those of us who don’t like this new song structure, it’s time to dig out those old CDs and get blaring S Club 7 at top volume. All together now…Reach!