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Why is Depressed Music considered “Artistic” and Fun Pop “Generic”?

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    PopGuy
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    Let’s discuss.

    Congratulations to Grammy Winners: Jazmine Sullivan, Doja Cat, SZA and Olivia Rodrigo!

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    Monsoon 🌊
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    Dua Lipa has been heralded on GD all year for her “fun Pop” album. I guess it depends on the artist and how the quality of their previous music is perceived.

    👑Cicely Tyson (1924-2021)
    👑Mary Wilson (1944-2021)

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    PopGuy
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    Dua Lipa has been heralded on GD all year for her “fun Pop” album. I guess it depends on the artist and how the quality of their previous music is perceived.

    upon its release FN was also slammed by a lot of people on here claiming that it’s just a generic pop album.

    Congratulations to Grammy Winners: Jazmine Sullivan, Doja Cat, SZA and Olivia Rodrigo!

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    Monsoon 🌊
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    upon its release FN was also slammed by a lot of people on here claiming that it’s just a generic pop album.

    I guess you could say the reaction was 50/50. But many were using Metacritic scores to justify their opinions on why Future Nostalgia was great.

    A lot of times, some GD users consider anything “artistic” if critics approve its quality. I think more people should use their own judgement to determine what’s good and what isn’t.

    👑Cicely Tyson (1924-2021)
    👑Mary Wilson (1944-2021)

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    ELIAS✨
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    Future Nostalgia is a fun pop album, there’s no concept or overall think peace to the album. Although, Fun pop albums isn’t a bad thing and it contains artistry. Just listen to the strings on Love Again or the synth-pop with Cool. In pop records I’m typically looking for great lyrics, catchy choruses, and great production that ties the whole record together. My issue with Future Nostalgia is the last two tracks which have average to cringy lyrics and don’t tie into the “nostalgia”aesthetic of the album that well.

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    Boz
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    Sadness is a way more complicated emotion to understand and represent than happiness. Due to that, usually music that tends to be more mellow or sad is harder to write and definitely harder to record; you kinda need to find a ballance between “sounding sad” and still sounding compelling (most people don’t sound very cute when they’re sad lol).

    Another reason could be the musical complexity. Our brain associates major chords with happiness, which is associated with feeling “light” or things being “easy”. We don’t feel “easy” when we’re sad. Therefore, “happy songs”, which are usually based on the “pop song chords” (4 chords, major progressions, usually a variation of I-V-vi-IV) are easier for our brain to understand and to process. Most pop songs follow the 4 chord progression, including but not limited to: Try by P!nk, Grenade bh Bruno Mars, Delicate by Taylor Swift, Blinding Lights by The Weeknd (though it’s a little more varied in that case)… Even sad songs like Someone You Loved by Lewis Capaldi.

    More “sad songs” usually are based on minor chords. Not only are these seen as “darker” type of chords, but given they’re also usually more complex for our brain to understand. They’re also perceived as more intimate and beautiful.

    A study from a group of scientists analyzing the effects of chords on the human brain concluded this:

    Minor consonant chords perceived as beautiful strongly activated the right striatum, which has been assumed to play an important role in reward and emotion processing, whereas major consonant chords perceived as beautiful induced significant activity in the left middle temporal gyrus, which is believed to be related to coherent and orderly information processing. These results suggest that major and minor keys, both of which are perceived as beautiful, are processed differently in the brain.

    (Suzuki, M; Okamura, N; Kawachi, Y; Tashiro, M; Arao, H; Hoshishiba, T; Gyoba, J; Yanai, K – Discrete cortical regions associated with the musical beauty of major and minor chords).

    Give this, sad songs have a discreet advantage over happy songs; they are processed in a brain area that works directly with emotion, whereas happy songs are not.

    I also think, in general, most people assume something is “deeper” because it is sad. Partly due to what I mentioned previously about the pre-conceived notion that writing a happy song is easy, but also because, at least until recently, sad songs weren’t radio friendly. Sure you get your Adele’s every here and there, but the ealry 2010s were heavily dominated by people like Katy Perry, Nicki Minaj, Lady Gaga, and Kesha, all who made very upbeat songs. Therefore the artists who made more sad songs were usually associated with more “indie” music, or with not being trend chasers. That said, that has changed in the past 5 or 6 years; more “upbeat” songs are using minor chord progressions. A few examples include 7 Rings by Ariana Grande, Bad & Boujee by Migos, and Bad Guy by Billie Eilish. (I personally think Lorde’s “Royals” was the song that started this moody, percussion-over-melody trend, but The Weeknd’s “The Hills” would also be considered an important turning point, since most people will probably point out the rise of trap music as the main factor).

    There’s a lot more to study on songs and how we perceive them, but that’s just some notes on it.

    PS: The whole article is online if you want to read!

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    Atypical
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    This is the musical equivalent of dramatic films/television/theater being considered more prestige and important than the long-standing comedic bias present with critics and awards shows, no more, no less.

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    Monet Tejada
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    Critics certainly don’t prefer “depressed music.”

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    Sir Shaw
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    Like most things in life. Sexism & misogyny.

    Look at Taylor Swift’s the first she makes a mellow, dramatic alt record (a genre that’s typically presents with heteronormative masculinity) and it’s hailed as her best album, all time great, revolutionary. Whilst 1989 (after 7 years) is still degraded as light, fluffy pop made for kids, gays & teen girls.

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    Boz
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    Critics certainly don’t prefer “depressed music.”

    Debateable. Critics certainly trend towards more lowkey/”sad” music.

    Just this past 2 years: the most acclaimed albums are Punisher by Phoebe Bridgers, Gaslighter by The Chicks (in which most songs are certainly more sad than happy), Norman Fucking Rockwell! by Lana del Rey, When We All Fall Asleep… by Billie Eilish, Folklore by Taylor Swift, even something like Thank U Next is very more “sad” conceptually as opposed to more upbeat music like Lizzo or the Jonas Brothers.

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    John Smith
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    When I’m sad I like to listen to depressing music. But if I’m stressed, music doesn’t help. Then I turn to online therapy for help. Here facebook calmerry therapy you can get online help from qualified psychologists. I like that you can do it from the comfort of your own home.

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    ProfessorChaos
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    It has to do with institutions that first established critics. It’s a systemic creation from decades ago, based on class, race & gender that set the standard for what is considered “acclaimed.” The opinion of affluent writers from intentionally selective markets (NY, LA, UK), whom were selected based on the preference of the editors & advertisers. It’s a form of gatekeeping based off standards from publications like Rolling Stone & Billboard in the 1960s. So look at the makeup of the kind of critics hired back then, and you have your answer.

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    ProfessorChaos
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    It also has to do with the notion something uptempo & commercially acceptable/marketable lacks “depth.” The flaw in this is it establishes that happiness is an invalid emotion, or that simplistic lyrics over major chords are considered inferior to something in a minor key with nuance & metaphor. Again, the scale of “good” vs “bad” in quality is a standard rooted in race, class & gender bias in media.

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