THAT (that) wrote,

Pop Bunnifesto

A friend of mine who makes pop music sent me some tracks to listen to. He wanted me to respond in working mode. What would I do if they were my tracks? It got me thinking a bit about pop music.


Pop music has a lot of repetition but usually it's a theme repeated in quickly shifting arrangements. Everybody is doing the quick scan these days. If you repeat the same thing more than a couple of times without festooning it with quickly-shifting, colorful, auditory-bunting, most listeners will go, "got it, that's what that does" and click onto the next thing. In other words, the compositional elements--rhythms, melodies, words--repeat a lot but the textures, sounds, voicings and production tricks change every few seconds.

Think of a TV commercial for a product, say a bottle of detergent. The plastic bottle will probably appear against a constantly changing background, pulsing and colorful. That plastic bottle with the recognizable logo is the focal point. In a song, that would be the vocal or melodic hook. The constantly moving background serves to keep the viewer's interest while forcing him or her to anchor around the constant element. The Ever-ready bunny matches through a constantly shifting landscape. If the bunny marched through a repeating landscape, people would quickly stop watching.

And we all want people to watch our bunnies.
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