Tuesday, 6 December 2016

ARTICLE: Is the CHORUS dead?

I know for the most part, people who consider themselves music connoisseurs do NOT listen to radio and do not indulge in pop music (even though they're lying and do have those few catchy pop songs they enjoy!) but I've been noticing an alarming thing happen in pop music recently.

I am one of those who consider themselves music connoisseurs, but the problem is that music is subjective. Very subjective. And as much as mass media will have you believe. There is actually no best type of music or artist because everyone perceives differently. I believe that EVERYONE has slightly different music tastes. And if you had to list their 100 most played songs over their lifetime, EVERYONE would have vastly varied and different top 100 lists to everyone else. Music is just that powerful and each person experiences it differently.

All that being said, the thing I've noticed is that the chorus, in music, popular music that is, is dying and in many popular genres, is totally dead. I am a muso as well, and have written, produced, performed many songs in different genres, from pop to R & B, to rock, to house, bla bla bla, 90% of them have choruses, and while I've played with many different song structures, they almost always have a hook in their somewhere that is a definable chorus bit.

Intro, Verse, Chorus, Verse, Chorus, Bridge, Chorus refrain, Outro. That is a basic structure. One could argue that this differs from many songs, but this is a staple that used to be followed. I like choruses, they give you something to remember the song by, and they usually HOOK you in, either that or the bridge or a instrument solo where the bridge would be. But nowadays, it seems, it follows a very weird structure, something like intro, Verse, Synth 'chorus', Verse, random ramblings, Synth 'chorus' ad nauseum to end the song.

Haha, so when I say the chorus is 'dead' I mean vocal chorus. Because it has been replaced by a mindless, lazy, synthesised excuse of a chorus on so many tracks. Look at most of your 'pop' 'hits' and they all have this vacuous synthy chorus that is loud and pumpy, and sometimes mellow and chilled, but has no intellectual value and usually mashes up a phrase or word into non-descript splits to fill out a very lazily-structured synth 'chorus'. I actually don't mind if the chorus is replaced by instruments, like in trance/dance/electro, but in pop music these days they are lazy, kindergarten-sounding affairs with no real musical value or intellectual lyrical value.

Now I know I'm expecting much; pop music is supposed to be mindless drivel for the masses, right? But yikes, it's getting really bad now. For music to be on radio, it must be boring, mediocre and almost mindless. Originality is frowned upon, and creativity is not rewarded. It's a backwards system, but that's how it goes. Thank goodness for alternate platforms like YouTube and SoundCloud, where, although mediocre poppy crap still become popular, there are many more musical acts that shine and come to the fore without ever being on radio. And this is awesome.

One of my band's songs was labelled 'too musical for radio', which just lets you know how crapped up the music radio industry is. But this article is not about my music or my bands music, it's just about what goes for 'talent' and 'music' these days. It's actually just noise and not music. I don't mind noise every now and then, in fact, it's nice to listen to sometimes, but then label it as such. Don't front it as 'music' when it is not. Even synths can be musical.

Do yourself a favour and listen to big SA radio station's 'countdown' of songs on weekends. And wait for the 'chorus'...you'll be greeted by a boring A-B-C Montessori Barney The Dinosaur synth line as a chorus like 90% of the time. Catchy? Maybe. Musical? Not a fuck!

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