Who would be brave enough to attempt a definition of pop? Research shows that many have tried—both respectfully and sarcastically—but most fall at one of two fences. The first is ‘the circular argument’. It runs like this: pop music came from blues and R&B roots, embraced popular song forms, and now includes anything at all that people respond to en masse. Pop music is thus defined by being popular.
The second requires a book—or even a series—covering technological developments (transistor radios, 45 rpm singles), social and economic change (the emergence of the teenagers as a marketing target), and even the contraceptive pill (thus completing the unholy trinity of sex and drugs and rock ’n’ roll). Phew!
So here is our definition.
Pop is music that hits you somewhere. Maybe your heart (lyrics about the ups and downs of lurve dominate), maybe your hips (a beat that demands you move), your lips (a song that makes you smile as you sing along) or your ears (a hook that zaps those aural synapses forever).
That’s it. About fifty words. But one thing’s for sure: the pop music of your generation is so much better than anyone else’s.
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