Rock fans: what is your definition of Pop music?

Happy Wednesday, everyone! :)

What is your definition of Pop music? And could any of the Rock artists that you listen to be described with that term at any point in their careers?


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24 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Mornin Everybody! Happy New Years (a little late)!

    For me there are two definitions. The functional one, the one that frustrates me with all the talk of a rock/pop split is simply what is popular at the moment. Pop music includes groups like Nickleback and Justin Timberlake. It describes more of what is on the charts than any description of what is happening musically. Like pop culture, it's simply what is "in" right now. I realize that people, at least rock fans, now look to modern R&B to call it pop, but that is not necessarily the case. For instance, the Beatles and Stones, a couple of the most celebrated rock bands in rock's history, were uber pop bands in their day.

    The second definition is a bit more descriptive, but I look to it in a rock sense. Simply to say that the music is "poppy." For the same logic that they call Green Day pop punk. The early Beatles encapsulates this about as well as anything I can think of. Those old bubble gum tunes they were doing up through (and still present, but started moving away from it after) Help. Early Blur and Oasis are a couple more good examples as well. Kind of like when a band says "we just wrote a pop tune" but not necessarily saying that it was a very successful hit. It has a simple and catchy vibe to it that is "friendly." (edit for this section only) Something that came to mind in regards to rock and pop separation, I would say that the most prolific pop song writer in modern music (there could have quite possibly been some bard in days of yor that has him beat, so you can't say definitively) would be Paul McCartney. I also think the Beatles is where the second definition of a pop tune split from pop music.

    As far as stuff I listen to, there's the Beatles and I suppose my Justin Timberlake secret is out. I was a big Nirvana fan (Pearl Jam too for a bit and they apply to the following concept to a significantly lesser extent). I could probably write a really boring 10-15 page essay on how Nirvana created all of these problems and ruined the public perception of alternative music and punk rock forever by being an anti-pop pop band. They were supposed to, by their vibe and mentality, be an underground group and it just exploded. That is why I find Kurt Cobain to be a particularly sympathetic character, historically. They were never supposed to be what they were. There are more, but I rambled a lot and I'll just call it here.

    Anyways, that's my incredibly scattered two cents.


    I've seen a lot of "pop music takes no skill" posts and I couldn't disagree more. ALL music (at least everything that gets seriously published) takes skill to create. In a lot of the modern R&B cases the emphasis is more on the producer to be talented (with the singer only needing to be able to sing). And in a lot of cases the pop rock bands may not be the be all end all musicians, and the music may be simpler, but in the song writing you have to write music that not only appeals to a giant demographic but that can rise to the top of it. Somebody on those projects is immensly talented. Even in the case of a band like the Monkees, say what you will about Peter Tork and Davey Jones (who were actors that got a crash course in music and got by) their songwriting team was very impressive.

    In a nutshell, you can say it's bad for the art to create music simply for profit and you can say that they aren't the MOST talented musicians, but far too often music fans mistake not liking music (especially when it is kind of cookie cutter and very successful) for it taking no talent to create. I put a lot of stock in the theory that MTV and a lot of radio is an effort to tell people what to like, but at least someone attached to you has to be at a certain level of talent in songwriting and production to get there. Otherwise we would all be trying to be songwriters and getting fat on residual checks.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Popular music, or "pop" for short, is when your image, sound and everything you do as an artist meets these really homogenized standards that must not be exceeded as to gain maximum playability of the material the promoters present.

    Man, it was hard to refrain from using the words "prostitute" or "hooker".

    Some rock artists are pop artists to an extent. I venture into the Journey, Styx, REO Speedwagon and Foreigner arenas. Some pop artists, like New Kids On The Block and B2K, can never be taken seriously as artists due to their promotionalism. Imagine Justin Timberlake in a power stance. YECCH.

    The day Tool or System Of a Down sells out as pop, I'm going straight country.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Happy Wednesday and New Year, Sookie.

    The term "Pop Music" is supposed to describe music that is popular, no matter what style it is. You could have described Iron Maiden as pop when "Bring Your Daughter To The Slaughter" reached the No 1 spot in the UK.

    But in this day and age, "Pop Music" usually means music written with the sole purpose of making money, regardless of whether or not the composer actually likes his, or her, finished composition.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Technically, pop music is music that is popular.

    However, I think in general it's that Britney Spears type of music, those layers upon layers of sugary vocals, added sounds over electronic instruments (keyboards, etc.).

    To me, it is also music that is made for no true reason other than money. All music is made for money, the people who say it isn't are either lying or ignorant. All artists want to make a profit on their music - but that doesn't mean that some artists don't work way harder than others and genuinely love their music and love what they do. Some are just manufactured to be money machines, never mind what the music sounds like.

    Pop music is music that takes no skill - simple vocal lines and stupid lyrics with a couple of chords in the background (like the classic chord pattern, anyone can write a "song"). I also think it's oftentimes when the artist can't be bothered to contribute anything to their music.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Happy Wednesday evening, Sookie :)

    I think Jake got the best definition of what Pop is.

    For me, it's all that rubbish they play on the radio, which claims to be Rock, but isn't any sort of Rock I recognise.

    There was a point in the 80's when Fleetwood Mac were refered to as Pop, or Pop-Rock {the 'Tango in the Night' era}, but by actual genre definition thay are always Rock.

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  • 1 decade ago

    To me, Pop Music is either top 40 or a more "studio" sounding soft rock.

    In which case, these are the last two bands I listened to that fit the description:

    Simply Red and Fine Young Cannibals.

    And I'm not saying this like I haven't listened to pop in years, Somethin' Got Me Started yesterday and it was a Good Thing!

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  • Rckets
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    Imagine a giant land fill loaded of lip syncing divas, boy bands and Avril wannabees and there's your definition. Essentially, it's the music that appeals to the lowest common denominator of fan. It isn't dangerous, challenging, or innovative in any way, shape or form. It's specifically made for popular consumption, in other words, to rack up sales units. This also means it can consist of artists that we historically considered to be rock, such as the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

    <yawn> Happy Wednesday!

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Good Wednesday Afternoon Sookie!

    I'd go with anything that's made into a "radio edit"

    ~Or ~

    Anything arranged with marketing in mind, such as songs geared specifically for a certain age demographic

    (i.e. Avril Lavigne caters specifically to 13-17 age group)

    the girl is 24 and she still sings about kid dilemma issues


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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I think this definition taken from describes what I think.

    Popular music. A collective genre, also referred to as Pop, Chart Music, Top 40, or Hits, it primarily focuses on wide circulation, sales and the marketability of the "artists" than on creative or artistic content. Pop can range from Dance, R&B, Rap, Country and Rock, but is generally the most "diluted" form of any genre it emulates. Pop songs generally have a 3-minute, hook/verse structure (although many ballads have made it to the charts) written for immediate likability, often written by corporate record label executives, and "pushed" by a front-person or people, commonly referred to as the artist or artists.

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  • 1 decade ago

    happy wednesday and intresting question

    hmmm pop music is usually music that the record company decides to market regardless of the bands preference, mtv and radio friendly music that basically sounds the same. if you look at bands like atreyu, avenged sevenfold... before they went mainstream they had a unique sound, lyrics that you could tell were writen by them purly for the sake of performing them, now look at these bands, their music style has completly changed, lyrics have been watered down to "radio friendly." Mainstream kills good music, saying that i listen to mainstream as well as underground, and as much i hate to say it, everything mainstream can be classsed as "pop" =[

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