May 1 2018

David Byrne Presents: Pop Music

By Todomundo

Song Artist Purchase
I Fall Apart Post Malone Amazon
Where Are Ü Now (with Justin Bieber) Skrillex and Diplo Amazon
Flesh Without Blood Grimes Amazon
Venus Fly Grimes feat. Janelle Monáe Amazon
Stay With Me feat. Mary J. Blige Sam Smith Amazon
If We're In Love Róisín Murphy Amazon
Just Like We Never Said Goodbye Sophie
Born Again Teen Lucius Amazon
Hands To Myself Selena Gomez Amazon
Sorry Justin Beiber Amazon
Hotline Bling Drake Amazon
Chandelier Sia Amazon
Kamikaze Amazon
The Mother We Share Chvrches Amazon
Take Me to Church Hozier Amazon
How I Roll Britney Spears Amazon
Here Comes Your Man Pixies Amazon
Party Monster The Weeknd Amazon
Girls Like (feat. Zara Larsson) Tinie Tempah Amazon
Call Me Maybe Carly Rae Jepsen Amazon
Classic Man Jidenna feat. Roman GianArthur Amazon
Bad At Love Halsey Amazon
Havana Camila Cabello feat. Young Thug Amazon
Redbone Childish Gambino Amazon
TShirt Migos Amazon
Bad Liar Selena Gomez Amazon
Can't Feel My Face The Weeknd Amazon
Blessings Chance The Rapper
FourFiveSeconds Rihanna & Kanye West & Paul McCartney Amazon
Lemonade Sophie Amazon
Electric Feel MGMT Amazon

In my world, certain people look down their noses at pop music. I believe they consider it inauthentic, pandering, manufactured and lacking any intention other than being a “hit”. Much of that is true, but of course there are many exceptions—great songs that speak to their times and also become hits.

Many of the songs here were made by committee. There are often multiple writers, producers and mixers who collaborate to shape the final product. They’re very complicated collaborations. Does the singer, the artist, have a hand in it too? I’m not privy to this process. John Seabrook’s recent book, The Song Machine, gives more details, but I believe the artist and their managers do get to vet what is pitched to them. But they for sure get leaned on by the record and production companies that are part of the creative process. The artist and their reps have an idea of what seems right for themselves at that moment—it might be something fun, something provocative or something that signals a change in direction. The choice of song and producer tells a story.

But are pop songs any good? Most of the songs on this playlist are total earworms for me. They’re not all current—I’ve been accumulating them for some time, but I sense they do have something in common. Though the sounds and styles vary, I’d say that one has to admire the skill and craft involved in the creation of these hooks, the incremental dribbling out of little surprises and the production that holds your attention.

I subscribe to most of those aims and values as well, but I’m saddled with trying to keep my eccentricities while still having catchy choruses and an accessible sound. I listen and learn from these songs and their production, while still perversely holding onto the idea that I can also do it my own way. I love collaborating, but I’m too much of a control freak to ever completely let go of the reigns. But I can still sit back, enjoy and sing along.

Artwork by Gary Grayson

May 1 2018

David Byrne Presents: Pop Music

By Todomundo

Song Artist Purchase
I Fall Apart Post Malone Amazon
Where Are Ü Now (with Justin Bieber) Skrillex and Diplo Amazon
Flesh Without Blood Grimes Amazon
Venus Fly Grimes feat. Janelle Monáe Amazon
Stay With Me feat. Mary J. Blige Sam Smith Amazon
If We're In Love Róisín Murphy Amazon
Just Like We Never Said Goodbye Sophie
Born Again Teen Lucius Amazon
Hands To Myself Selena Gomez Amazon
Sorry Justin Beiber Amazon
Hotline Bling Drake Amazon
Chandelier Sia Amazon
Kamikaze Amazon
The Mother We Share Chvrches Amazon
Take Me to Church Hozier Amazon
How I Roll Britney Spears Amazon
Here Comes Your Man Pixies Amazon
Party Monster The Weeknd Amazon
Girls Like (feat. Zara Larsson) Tinie Tempah Amazon
Call Me Maybe Carly Rae Jepsen Amazon
Classic Man Jidenna feat. Roman GianArthur Amazon
Bad At Love Halsey Amazon
Havana Camila Cabello feat. Young Thug Amazon
Redbone Childish Gambino Amazon
TShirt Migos Amazon
Bad Liar Selena Gomez Amazon
Can't Feel My Face The Weeknd Amazon
Blessings Chance The Rapper
FourFiveSeconds Rihanna & Kanye West & Paul McCartney Amazon
Lemonade Sophie Amazon
Electric Feel MGMT Amazon

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