Now I know this is probably a topic best saved for the Popjustice Forums, but I also know a fair few of you older and wiser folks on here like your pop. I always have done, but it's this decade which has REALLY made me love it.
And that's because I reckon it's pretty much been the most interesting and changing genre of music this decade.
When you look back on the 90s, it was an inventive time for most musical trends but pop was the one that really suffered. It was predictable, saccharine-sweet, ballad-heavy fare that relied on the odd European or American import to make it vaguely interesting.
But in the 00s something interesting happened. The genre nearly died due to its continued laziness and we not only got some decent pop songs but also some wholly great pop albums.
True, much of the success stories grew from shoddy starts. Girls Aloud were never really expected to last beyond album number one due to the show format they came together through, but whilst the boys tried to win hearts by relying on the power ballads, the girls had nothing to lose so hit us with heavy nods to 'My Sharona' and modern songwriting talent like Xenomania. They then went on to create 4 genuinely good / great records.
Timberlake threw off the shackles of NSync and grew into the best solo male performer since Jacko, with album number 2 in particular sitting comfortably alongside the years best records. Britney had a breakdown due to her fame but came back with 2 albums of bona fide electro pop genius, though admittedly with her that's often due to the team around her. Rihanna found a 'personality' and forged two very decent records littered with hits and personal honesty. Winehouse fleetingly resurrected that lost sound of the 60s. And then there were great songs by Beyonce, Stevens, Sam Sparro, Scissor Sisters, Robbie, Kylie, Sugababes, Keri Hilson...
Hell, even 'credible' stars saw that things were more interesting in the mainstream. Annie, Richard X, Dizzee Rascal, Jay-Z, Jarvis Cocker, Damon Albarn, Gwen Stefani, Timberland all jumped their current ships to get some chart hits out there and merge indie and R&B with motown and hip hop.
And I genuinely feel that all this happened because pop had got lazy, relying on boys singing love songs across 3 CD formats and 2 songs selling an album. It had to change, and it mutated into something that merged every influence around.
Ironically right now, the X Factor winners still sell records in pretty much the same mass-produced way they did 13 years ago, but the team behind them know they'll be redundant within 6 months if there isn't an even better 3rd or 4th single. And that's all down to how good and inventive this decade has been for those that took the risks.
That's my view anyhow. I know it'll get some dull ass 19 year old jumping in soon with a view that 'its not proper music' but hey...
Thoughts? Or favourites from the period?
Here's a playlist we started work on a while back:
- Relevant artist taggings: