Asked • 06/19/19

What are the methods used while writing pop music that make it so recognizably pop?

I used to think that it's the four chord structure. But in reality many genres have four chord songs (e.g. Rock and Country) and pop isn't always limited to four chords (e.g. 2U). I used to think it's the trite romantic lyrics or the cliched sexual innuendo but I find that in many other genres as well (e.g.r&b and more recently, country). I used to think it's the huge choruses with heavily layered vocals, but many of the most popular pop songs have subdued choruses (e.g. Ariana Grande problem) and oftentime pop songs skip on the whole vocal layering thing (e.g. Julia Michael's issues). I then thought it had to do with the theory behind the songwriting, but I find that most songs that hit the radio contain simple repetitive motifs and hooks, not just pop (e.g country, rock, folk, pretty much every mass consumed genre and then some). Which leads to me to ask; what exactly defines pop and what are the methods used to achieve it?

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