Pop Has Eaten Itself

Top of The Pops

I’m really pleased so see people finally debating the death of the pop charts. With Ed Sheehan having 9 of the top 10 singles and 16 tracks in the top 20, there can no longer any argument about the charts being totally screwed.

Since the introduction of downloads in the mid-2000s and later streaming, the charts has become completely unrecognisable. I don’t say this because I haven’t heard a decent chart tune in at least a decade, I’m not meant to as I’m too old, but because there’s just no variety in the charts and it merely reflects what the record labels are pushing at the moment.

No longer do we get that random ballad bought by Mums, a bunch of lads from a council estate with guitars wishing to send us back to the 60s, tunes that have been white labels for the last 6 months tearing up dance floors and finally getting an official release and no longer do we get the latest heavy metal track.

It’s now all solo artists who do exactly as they’re told by record labels, it’s all safe and boring and there’s a complete lack of tunes. The production is cheap with all the vocals compressed within an inch of their life.

This change happened in the late 00s when Lady Gaga and Katy Perry appeared with their cheap international pop and anything that didn’t sound remotely similar disappeared overnight.

We know the charts are manipulated with record  labels no longer needing to send people into record shops to buy singles, now they just get a warehouse, a bank of computers, some credit cards, scripting tools and a proxy switcher and you’ve got yourself a chart hit. Simples! The variety is still in the album charts so why has the singles chart changed so much? Coz it’s fixed.

But worst than all this, none of the music has any identity. We’re in an era where in politics people are calling about to be British, but in pop everything sounds like a tune you’d hear in some cafe on the seafront in Magaluf circa 1983.

I have no desire to go back to Britpop or the 1960s, but I have no idea what kids in their late teens and early 20s are listening to today. They can’t be listening to Clean Bandit or Ed Sheeran, that is music with nothing to say, no edge and no identity. The charts should reflect the mood and tastes of the nation but it no longer does this, it merely reflects the US Billboard charts which again is fixed.

Today’s pop is music designed for an international market which is great, and whilst this is nothing new (remember Saturday Night and Macarena in the 90s) it should be challenged by other music from the underground and that isn’t happening. It’s time the charts compilers were sacked and someone who knew what they’re doing came in and replaced it, alternatively just scrap the thing and it can go the same way as Top of The Pops.

Pop most definitely has eaten itself.

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