Pop vs Rock

Written for Collapse Board

Before they switched off Pandora in the UK, I found its deliberately anti-genre stance interesting because it would place frivolous ‘pop’ songs next to ‘credible’ artists. It’s probably stretching it to call any of these ‘rock’, but they’re of the type admired by people who don’t generally buy records by Beyonce, etc.

Stripped of the genre tag, note for note, there’s really not much difference between the songs. Wallace Wylie pointed out what’s wrong with the package of pop. If you take that away, you’ve got some great music that the middle-aged chin-strokers would probably like if they just started thinking of it as music. For example: 

Sophie Ellis-Bextor – Magic


Depeche Mode – World In My Eyes

You could probably have stuck Magic on Violator and nobody would have noticed the difference, beyond thinking Dave Gahan’s voice was a little higher pitched than usual.


Lady Gaga – Bad Romance


Europe – The Final Countdown

Do you think she actually sat down and thought, “I’ll write a song that sounds like Europe”?


Girls Aloud – Something Kinda Oooh


Front 242 – Headhunter

That the Girls Aloud track was pure EBM probably went unnoticed because no bugger has listened to EBM since about 1989 anyway.


Lindsay Lohan – To Know Your Name


Nine Inch Nails – Closer [NSFW]

Do you think that someone on LiLo’s team was a Reznor fan? Or were they just confident that nobody would be paying attention? Pandora picked this up for me based on the actual sounds in the actual song. I would never have heard it otherwise because, well, it’s Lindsay Lohan.


Sugababes – Round Round


Danielle Dax – Big Hollow Man

I still don’t know why Danielle Dax wasn’t a huge pop star to start with, so that probably undermines my point.

You get the idea. It’s like that ‘My Sweet Lord’ thingy that ET was banging on about the other week. Genre names can be useful to introduce you to songs you might not otherwise hear, but when you find yourself avoiding songs based on a genre tag even when they sound like other songs that you like, well, that’s just bloody stupid.


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