The Death of Pop Music

Faizaan Amanat, Staff Writer

  A decade is most fondly remembered by its music. The 80’s gave us “Billie Jean” (Michael Jackson), the 90’s gave us “Smells Like Teen Spirit” (Nirvana), and the 00’s gave us “Crazy in Love” (Beyonce/Jay-Z). For the most part, the early 2010s were a solid decade for music, with each year’s biggest songs being more than memorable. “Bad Romance” (Lady Gaga), “Rolling in the Deep” (Adele), “Call Me Maybe” (Carly Rae Jepsen), “Uptown Funk” (Mark Ronson/Bruno Mars), and “Despacito” (Luis Fonsi/Daddy Yankee/Justin Bieber) are all songs that will last throughout the years.
  The same can’t exactly be said for 2018’s biggest song, “God’s Plan” by Drake. While Drake is a fantastic artist who has released phenomenal music, “God’s Plan” isn’t exactly his crowning achievement…..or even that good.

  The song is monotone with no real emotion—it’s technically a rap/pop song, but it has the worst qualities of both. There’s a flat delivery in the song that can’t pass for a pop song. The production is too clean to have any hip-hop grit or feel, making it a painfully average song at best.
  As the year progressed, music went from average to bad, bad to terrible, and then terrible to deafening. Because of on demand streaming and SoundCloud, songs that normally would never see the charts, became top 10 hits. The biggest songs of the year have been downbeat and depressing, making joy a thing of the past. People often listen to music for escapism—with joyless music, there’s no way to escape our reality.
  Pop music may seem “lame” to most, but its impacts go far beyond the radio. The death of pop music in 2018 is an indictment on what we have become as a society. Music is made to be enjoyed. If you look at Billboard’s 100 biggest songs of all time, songs like “The Twist” (Chubby Checker), “I Gotta Feeling” (The Black Eyed Peas), and “Smooth” (Santana/Rob Thomas) crack the top 10. 2018’s genre has unquestionably been rap. While songs like “I Love It” (Lil Pump/Kanye) and “Yes Indeed” (Lil Baby/Drake) are still terrible, they’re not the most abhorrent songs this year, that award goes to emorap.
  2018’s biggest emo-rap songs have been “Lucid Dreams” (Juice Wrld), “Better Now” (Post Malone), and “SAD!” (XXXTentacion). Emo-rap has the feel and tone of a mid 2000’s emo-rock song, and the trap production of a modern rap song. When put together, it comes across as an ugly mess. Most all emo-rap songs are about breakups or heartbreak, but the messages within rap songs—which has been criticized for being sexist—still lingers. In “SAD!,” the chorus is “Suicide if you ever let go,” essentially guilt-tripping the girl if she ever leaves. “Lucid Dreams” has the lyric “You were my everything/Thoughts of a wedding ring/Now I’m just better off dead,” sounding more like a middle schooler who just got dumped than an adult relationship. In “Better Now,” Post Malone says that he “Woulda gave you anything.” Then, two lines later says, “Everything came second to the Benzo.” Benzo referring to Benzodiazepine, a type of painkiller. Post contradicts himself regarding his purpose for being sad. He’s crying about this girl, but explicitly says that she is second to drugs. All of these lyrics are asinine
and manipulative; they deserved to be dumped. Even if we were to disregard the lyrics, the songs just sound so boring. Songs like “Numb” (Linkin Park), “Welcome to the Black Parade” (My Chemical Romance), and “Sugar, We’re Goin Down” (Fall Out Boy) perfectly encapsulate the emo rage and teenage angst. Popular emo-rap songs in 2018 are monotone in their approach, relying on the beat to carry the song. One to three minutes of mumbling with ambient sounds isn’t music, it’s a glorified version of teenagers on Musically. There’s nothing to grasp on to when everything is so downbeat—nothing sounds exciting or memorable. All of the music ends up sounding the same; Emo rap can’t last multiple songs or sustained success. The late 2000’s to early 2010’s had the club boom, which made everyone want to party. Although the party did get annoying, the novelty could warrant multiple songs, mainly because they were fun and upbeat. Having an upbeat and uplifting vibe can last many artists and singles, being downbeat can’t. Artists such as The Smiths, Pink Floyd, and
  Radiohead were all downbeat, but they had a unique flair and were all different from the norm. But for the most part, modern rap artists aren’t on the same level of those bands. They may be different, but they’re not interesting. If you’re going to be different from the norm, put actual effort into the lyrics and sound.
  Indie songs like “We Are Young” (Fun.) or “Pompeii” (Bastille) were novelty songs when they came out, but aren’t long-lasting, similar to 2018. When you try to be different or depart from the pop genre, just for the sake of it, then there’s no point; these songs are unlikely to be successful.