The Moody Evolution of Pop Music

Ever since the 50’s it seems that the music that dominates charts changes character every decade or so. The rock n’ roll of the 60’s, the acid rock of the 70’s, the glam vibe of the 80’s, the grunge and punk of the 90’s and then the more upbeat EDM vibe from the 2000’s.

Now we are in the early 2020’s and another shift has been experienced, especially in the pop department. The music has become more moody and mellow and, in many aspects, also minimalistic. What has prompted this change and which artists are spearheading this movement? Let us take a closer look.

Billie Eilish – Dark & Minimalistic Pop

It is hard for anyone to not have heard about Billie Eilish ever since her release of the song “Bad Guy”. With her breathy and quiet vocals and simplistic instrumental orchestrations her music can only be described as eerily catchy and darker than you would expect from popular pop.

Her lyrics deal with the more melancholic aspects of life, rarely touching on themes of hope and love, unless presented with an edgy twist. Eilish is definitely a fresh breath of air into the pop scene, but one that just a few years ago would have seemed unlikely.

Lorde – The Movement’s Precursor

This development can be traced all the way back to the mid 2010’s when the artist, Lorde, released the Single “Royals” from the album “Pure Heroine”. The album in general hosted many tracks that clashed with the general themes of contemporary pop and criticized them through and through.

The album still received massive success and propelled Lorde to fame, showing that there was a place for a darker, more artistic and profound sound in pop music. It was a sign of the things to come.

Mumble Rap – Furthering Minimalism

Rap as a genre is in itself minimalistic in the first place. The instrumental sections typically follow one melody and one beat throughout the song while the rapper dishes out profound and rhythmic lyrical lines.

Mumble rap takes this even further, but whether that is good or bad is a very subjective question. Mumble rap has the characteristics you would expect. Clear rapping is replaced by autotuned and very mumbling rap that is, more often than not, rather unintelligible. Despite this fact, these songs are often as fun as an online casino to listen to.

A Good Change?

It is always hard to accurately describe a change as good or band when we are still in the very beginning of it. We probably have not experienced the full scope of it yet. However, we can say some general comments about it here and now and where it might progress in the future.

The change has been an interesting twist for popular music to go through, that is for sure. It has breathed new life into the genre and helped show that it could be more than it was. In the future we will likely see this taken further, but how much further is possible? Only time will tell.

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