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Is it just me, or are 90% of all newer popular guitar songs carbon copies? (Rant)


ASoRelle

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Seems to me that nearly ALL of the new songs you hear on the radio are exact melodic & structural copies of one another. Everything I hear on the radio or jukebox that was written post 2000 seems to have the same verse, chorus, verse, chorus pattern where they strum smoothly distorted chords, break at the end of the first chorus/crescendo, come back in melodic and do it again.

 

They're all sung the same way, usually even in a very similar range, and I don't think I ever hear an actual lead anymore. It's almost always just a melodic run-through of the verse or chorus chords.

 

& the lyrics! The lyrics have really fallen off the quality radar. Much of the time it's a "catch" phrase that is repeated over and over again with very little other content. Sure it's catchy, but it's meaningless.

 

It's seriously driving me insane. I can't believe people buy this crap over and over again when real artists like you guys are out there actually trying to do something creative. All I'm asking for is a little variety from the music industry, is that too much?

 

I don't meant to lump all genre of music into one giant rant, there is some stuff out there that has quality written all over it. I'm just saying, nearly everything new that is played on the radio is piled up into this category of carbon copy crap, imo.

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and you just figured this out now? You have to remember that it's a business. They milk what works, and right now this works. It depends on what you are listening to anyways. I'm actually a fan of artists like Bruno Mars and Cee Lo Green, i think they are good songwriters.

 

and just because they have the same structures, doesn't necessarily mean they are bad songs.

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Seems to me that nearly ALL of the new songs you hear on the radio are exact melodic & structural copies of one another...

 

 

Musician's black humor from the 80's. When someone would crash and burn of overdose etc. we'd deadpan, "less competition". We weren't cold hearted, just used to it and had to make the best of a {censored}ty situation. And the state of sameness in music you mention provokes that same response.

 

Less competition.

 

By that I mean, there is a window of opportunity to take what works from all that crap, the repetition of motives, the predictable dynamic shifts, etc, and to twist them in new ways that are both familiar and fresh to the ear. Capitalize on precedent while innovating.

 

I'm not saying the road to riches awaits. But I am saying, look at what you perceive as a dismal state, not in a defeatist way, but more as an opportunity to do something about it.

 

We don't complain, we take stock and step up!

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Radio's a monopoly in the USA. Playlists are set in stone with little variety. I haven't considered radio to be a significant source of music in over 25 years or more. I only listen to NPR and otherwise ignore radio if I ever encounter it elsewhere in my daily life.

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Musician's black humor from the 80's. When someone would crash and burn of overdose etc. we'd deadpan, "less competition". We weren't cold hearted, just used to it and had to make the best of a {censored}ty situation. And the state of sameness in music you mention provokes that same response.


Less competition.


By that I mean, there is a window of opportunity to take what works from all that crap, the repetition of motives, the predictable dynamic shifts, etc, and to twist them in new ways that are both familiar and fresh to the ear. Capitalize on precedent while innovating.


I'm not saying the road to riches awaits. But I am saying, look at what you perceive as a dismal state, not in a defeatist way, but more as an opportunity to do something about it.


We don't complain, we take stock and
step up!

 

 

great post

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Radio's a monopoly in the USA. Playlists are set in stone with little variety. I haven't considered radio to be a significant source of music in over 25 years or more. I only listen to NPR and otherwise ignore radio if I ever encounter it elsewhere in my daily life.

 

Agreed

 

Between internet based stations like pandora, pod casts, and even some of satellite radio stations there is no need to be pissed off at Clear Channel dominated FM radio.

 

FWIW, If anyone that is responsible for Clear Channel programming is reading this, I'll be recording an album in a nice studio in September and would be glad to contribute a song or two to your monopolized air waves. :D

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Seems to me that nearly ALL of the new songs you hear on the radio are exact melodic & structural copies of one another. Everything I hear on the radio or jukebox that was written post 2000 seems to have the same verse, chorus, verse, chorus pattern where they strum smoothly distorted chords, break at the end of the first chorus/crescendo, come back in melodic and do it again.


They're all sung the same way, usually even in a very similar range, and I don't think I ever hear an actual lead anymore. It's almost always just a melodic run-through of the verse or chorus chords.


& the lyrics! The lyrics have really fallen off the quality radar. Much of the time it's a "catch" phrase that is repeated over and over again with very little other content. Sure it's catchy, but it's meaningless.


It's seriously driving me insane. I can't believe people buy this crap over and over again when real artists like you guys are out there actually trying to do something creative. All I'm asking for is a little variety from the music industry, is that too much?


I don't meant to lump all genre of music into one giant rant, there is some stuff out there that has quality written all over it. I'm just saying, nearly everything new that is played on the radio is piled up into this category of carbon copy crap, imo.

There are two music businesses.

 

One is the music business that makes, promotes, and distributes mainstream product, paying to get it onto influential media outlets, particularly TV and radio, where continued exposure is seen as an a sure fire promotion. "Promote" a record onto the radio -- and that really means buy its way on these days, since the FCC has all but abandoned payola prosecutions in the face of their new understanding that payola is precisely how the music industry works.

 

That industry, of course, is the one that dominates sales. It's found that it doesn't have much luck in dictating tastes to intellectuals and arty types, and most adults over the age of 25 have already stopped searching for 'new' music for the most part and settled into their respective buying grooves, so the industry concentrates on the markets where they can effectively market by shoving the music down people's throats with endless TV and radio exposure and the strangely effective tactic of product co-promo tie-ins: the pop market dominated by tweens, teenage girls, secretary/shopboy types, and, of course, Nashville pop fans -- who are reliable pushbutton consumers.

 

 

Meanwhile, there's the other music business -- basically a huge commercial enterprise set up to convince hobbyist musicians that they can 'make it' if they have the right instruments and rigs, record in the right kinds of studios (with the right gear), and do all the right things, which means following these recipes that have been developing over the last 30 years or so -- basically from the time that specialty publications as well as schools, public and profit, started targeting DIY recordists and musicians as a new, rich market. Since the fodder all had day jobs (or parents with money), there was no actual direct pressure to show results -- and the dream of hitting it big is so drilled into many TV-reared types that a whiff of a possibility is all it takes to keep them dumping enormous amounts of money into this 'shadow' industry that pimps the dreams of stardom for a lot of people who've been led down one seriously overgrown garden path. It's a scam.

 

But people apply themselves to it, follow all the band best practices, clog BB's like this one and GearSlutz with endless questions: How do I get this guitar sound? How do they do that effect? (Not to mention the studio forum perennials: What preamp do I use to sound like "Such-and-such-song"? What mics did they use on "Some-big-hit"? How do I get the crappy drummers who come into my studio who can't play in time or tune their own kits to sound like the drummers on the radio -- do I need to do drum replacement along with putting them on the grid? How do I get the artifacts out of tuned vocals? Why don't these bands ever practice before coming into the studio?)

 

Since there's a whole industry devoted to (making money from) supplying a set of answers to those questions -- fed by all that great day job, allowance, and trust fund money -- the answers have slowly tended to merge in one sort of standard set of templates for 'success.'

 

And, when all the stamper molds in the factory are so precisely machined -- everything that gets stamped out pretty much fits the mold.

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Seems to me that nearly ALL of the new songs you hear on the radio are exact melodic & structural copies of one another. Everything I hear on the radio or jukebox that was written post 2000 seems to have the same verse, chorus, verse, chorus pattern where they strum smoothly distorted chords, break at the end of the first chorus/crescendo, come back in melodic and do it again.


I don't meant to lump all genre of music into one giant rant, there is some stuff out there that has quality written all over it. I'm just saying, nearly everything new that is played on the radio is piled up into this category of carbon copy crap, imo.

 

 

Yeah. Music on the radio sounds like other music on the radio. How about that? Wild.

 

What I find funny is that anyone would have a problem with this - like there is something intrinsically bad about derivative work. It is a nutty and destructive and egotistical view of art in general and popular songs in particular. People like music that they recognize. They like anything they recognize. And this is bad because?

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Yeah. Music on the radio sounds like other music on the radio. How about that? Wild.


What I find funny is that anyone would have a problem with this - like there is something intrinsically bad about derivative work. It is a nutty and destructive and egotistical view of art in general and popular songs in particular. People like music that they recognize. They like anything they recognize. And this is bad because?

 

Old-timers (yo!) probably recall a time when pop radio was awash with a lively mix of music that sounded different from song to song, as well as from week to week. There was a dynamism to the pop music machine in the 50s, 60s, and early 70s -- before the science of demographically targeted marketing divided the industry into little cultural niche markets, all these mini-markets carefully grown and maintained by the pop market architects -- but which would prove, ultimately to be hard to manage and market to as the music maker/consumers in these niche markets developed their own cargo cult cultures -- often based on emulation of genre archetypes 'dropped on the island' of niche consumer market consciousness by the original genre submarket architects.

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...and this is bad because?

 

 

whoa

 

What wrong with retreading? Well, it not the crime of the century. But it's nice for things to evolve and not stagnate.

 

What's New Pussycat sounds pretty different from Incense and Peppermint sounds pretty different from Wedding Bell Blues sounds pretty different from Moon River. With Toots on the chromatic harp please. Sounds pretty different from White Room. Or Heatwave.

 

I get what you're saying but your hard line of deriving inspiration at such a low level ain't flying. The key is not to lift ideas verbatim, but to lift ideas and wrench some individuality out it. Some spark.

 

Like great artists have always done. And still do. And the lesser ones don't.

 

Are you proposing to be a lesser artist?

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Radio's a monopoly in the USA. Playlists are set in stone with little variety. I haven't considered radio to be a significant source of music in over 25 years or more. I only listen to NPR and otherwise ignore radio if I ever encounter it elsewhere in my daily life.

 

 

our local classic rock stations almost exclusively play led zeppelin & acdc. i love zeppelin, but i don't even turn on the radio much anymore because it's so repetitive.

 

& Lee, that was a great post. I'm not trying to be all glass half empty, but the quality of the new music that actually gets promoted really disappoints me. There is good stuff out there, but you've got to dig around for it, it's not presented to the general population. - My point is that what you're suggesting is happening, but being suppressed in media. It's not being given the chance it needs.

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I think it's not so much suppressed as that the shot-callers in the industry have given up trying to nurture new artists outside the pop mainstream simply because they can no longer figure out how to find, craft, and nurture artists with commercial legs in genres that are less responsive to paid promo, so they concentrate on what they know they can buy sales for with heavy promotion and what is essentially paid radio play. (Whatever convenient lies the FCC want to tell themselves to excuse blatant payola.)

 

The industry suits aren't going to waste any more money trying to develop artists in genres that don't offer the guaranteed returns that the teen/secretary/shopboy market offers.

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The industry suits aren't going to waste any more money trying to develop artists in genres that don't offer the guaranteed returns that the teen/secretary/shopboy market offers.

 

 

I had never thought of this, but even classic rock radio is a safer bet because not only does it appeal to large demographic of less musically invested people that were there, but also teens that don't dig current pop. I know as a teen I listened to a great deal of classic rock radio while complaining about pop music and how it sucked. "They just don't make music like they used to.... blah blah blah"

 

 

If you want things to change, the best thing you can do as a consumer, is not support it

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I had never thought of this, but even classic rock radio is a safer bet because not only does it appeal to large demographic of less musically invested people that were there, but also teens that don't dig current pop. I know as a teen I listened to a great deal of classic rock radio while complaining about pop music and how it sucked. "They just don't make music like they used to.... blah blah blah"



If you want things to change, the best thing you can do as a consumer, is not support it

You weren't imagining it. Mainstream pop and rock did suck then. :D

 

 

No slag on teens, secretaries, or shop boys and girls, mind you. ;)

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There is a difference between being good and being original. People that believe originality is the definining characteristic good and great popular music don't understand popular music.

 

And if you don't understand what I'm talking about - do some freaking homework on great songwriting and songwriters and we'll talk about it afterwards.

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Also: the reason free-form, album-based 70s radio formants went extinct is because those formats got their ass kicked by top 40 and familiar hits-based radio.

 

Rightfully so: People with lives are not interested in suffering through all 30 anal-gazing minutes of Zappa's "Apostrophe." So when a geek-superior stoner DJ threw on the awful "St. Alfonzo's Pancake Breakfast" - normal people naturally turned the dial from that unfamiliar ear garbage to easily recognizable ear candy like Terry Jacks "Seasons in the Sun."

 

And rightly so. Zappa is the posterchild for wrong-headed originality for orginality's sake. If you think we are better off with Zappa: see my previous post.

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I haven't as so much touched a radio dian in over a decade - and even then it was local public radio, so I'll have to ultimately take everyone's word about the current state of commercial radio. The little that I've heard while out and about or from friends all sounds like one long song.

 

I personally think the 80s were the one of the best decade for music if only for the sheer level of diversity in the charts. What other time in music industry history was there Metal, Hip Hop, film music, hard rock, Latin, Reggae, Synth pop, Jazz, Country, House/techno, non-English language music, and a bunch of other stuff all in the top 40? There's some true gems scattered about below the radar but it would be cool to have a diverse and vibrant mainstream once again, though I doubt that will ever happen.

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No offence Matximus but it seems to me you make the mistake of thinking along the lines of "What Matximus likes" = "What's good" and then a step further into "What Matximus likes" = "What's good for the music biz".

 

You shot yourself in the foot with your choice of Zappa's Apostrophe too. I can't track down the actual figures but it sold enough to get "Gold" status. Seems like there must have been quite a few people back then who liked it don't you think? Maybe there weren't so many more "normal people who turned the dial" to listen to Terry Jacks.

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There is a difference between being good and being original. People that believe originality is the definining characteristic good and great popular music don't understand popular music.


And if you don't understand what I'm talking about - do some freaking homework on great songwriting and songwriters and we'll talk about it afterwards.

 

 

 

So... where's the good in non-original new art? I'm lost here.

 

I've always sort of judged things from their slow unfolding of new ideas. Pop evolution and of course a certain amount of inbreeding. Creative resizing and re-purposing old ideas. Which then is new in its own way. So I go part of the way there with you. But... by its very nature, if it's a new song, it's supposed to be new to some degree. Yeah?

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