Popular Music Dominated By Synthesizers & Sex, Says New Study

Lady Gaga with a Keytar

A new report says that popular music is dominated by synthesizers & sex.

According to industry analysts Hit Songs Decontructed,

  • 79% of top 10 pop hits used a synthesizer as the song’s primary instrument.
  • 88% of Top 10 songs used ‘electric-based instrumentation’.
  • “Hooking up” is the most popular topic so far in 2011 in 38% of hit songs.
  • This is followed by “inspirational” songs, which have account for 25% of the Top 10 in the second quarter of 2011, “partying/clubbing” (21%) and “love/relationships” at 17%.

What do you think about this trend? Is it time for more synth songs about alienation and driving in cars?

via HollywoodReporter

Image: Naomi Lir

23 thoughts on “Popular Music Dominated By Synthesizers & Sex, Says New Study

  1. We need more songs featuring piano as the primary instrument in which the topics are about having rhythm, Summertime, and those important little things that just cant be taken away from a person.

  2. I think it’s simple – get the party-hardy sluts, the jersey-shore-wannabes and the thugs out of music, and you’ll see more diversity in mainstream songs.

  3. you know what this means right? In a few years everybody will be sick of synths and they will demand more raw sounding music.

  4. “Popular” music really means “teenagers,” which in turn means limited listening experience and a limited desire or ability to interpret anything that isn’t Lady Gaga. Synthesizers have virtually no limits, but we usually hear them only in narrow or invisible roles. You get older, you have a day job (if you are lucky), maybe you have a family and POOF, you no longer have time to immerse yourself in music. Letting children decide much of anything is foolish and it is classically American to let the dumbest kid in the class dictate the shape of it. We even had a 2-term President who was an utter fool. Personally, I care nothing for the hits. I look for people who have something to SAY in their MUSIC, not bad lyrics that all amount to “Let’s F**K.” I love synths, but rap and teen drivel give them a bad name they don’t deserve.

    1. Although I understand what you mean, synthesizers and hip-hop that isn’t your average American I-got-money-weed-n-hoez mainstreamed I’m-14-and think-I-party-because-I-heard-a-Wiz Khalifa-song nonsense, hiphop presents an exceptionally creative medium for experimental music. Search along the lines of Pretty Lights, DJ Krush, Nujabes, Emancipator and a few others, and you’ll be able to see the potential that is hidden under the garbage.

  5. You’re forgetting the history of rock and roll Fungo. If it wern’t for teen oriented music, blues probably wouldn’t have made it to white audiences, which led to rock, etc etc. I don’t mind listening to some older oriented music, but let’s face it, a lot of it is terrible and boring, just like a lot of teen music is terrible and noise.

  6. When people sang “Good Rockin’ Tonight” in the 50s do you think they were talking about dancing?

    It’s always about hooking up.

    1. We have stopped teach Americans music. We had a kids today that don;t understand what good music is. I can’t say anything nice about this because its the truth. I am working to become a producer and have realized that most synth plays makes musicians look like nerds. Most synth players toady use some computer program and a keyboard and make one bar loops and sell as music. People pay to see the music played live only to find out that it’s just a computer and some mixer and he/she calls it a “live” performance. Oh and get this, the producer hires a singer to hide the fact he knows nothing about music. Listen to the instrumental version of any song from the last year and see my point. The fact that sex is in most songs is a crime, because music should not be used to kill morals, it should be use to inspirer other musicians. If I could rewrite the history of music in the last decade, I would allow the use of DAWS, but you would have to pass a music theory class to have one. Let’s see how many people would rethink about being a hip hop producers.

      1. I sorry if I sound harsh. People need to know how their music is made. I love soft synths but I use the companies would think about the live player in mind. I would love to be able to play a gig with a software synth on my keyboard without having to carry my computer.

  7. The majority of the human population no matter the age group has always gravitated to the lowest common denominator. This isn’t going to change at any point in the foreseeable future, because most people are lazy slobs, and would rather be led by a ring in their nose like oxen rather than think for themselves and take their own path. Very depressing to say the least.

  8. I don’t care what the lyrics say as long as I enjoy the overall sound. But the stuff that comes out today is sometimes much inferior to the stuff from the 80s. I guess it’s that today less experimentation goes in the mainstream and they just had better presets then. 😉

  9. Actually, I’ve been pretty content with pop lately. I can leave it on the pop station and hear synths and 808s all day. That is I like it better than when Nu Metal and that “modern rock” stuff was all over the pop station. I don’t LOVE it, but it’s at least tolerable ATM.

  10. Did someone really have to spend time and money on a study to figure this out? Were they expecting pop music to be filed with polka songs in 6/8 that focus on quantum singularities and database maintenance?

  11. Think back a few years. Remember when the cool thing for everyone was to get cheap guitars, have a garage band where you print out tabs to whatever you were feeling into at that moment and think you were the man? Back when you wanted to have a punk rock band like MxPx, or maybe a little further back to REM, or just make covers of every over-used ACDC and Black Sabbath song imaginable? N one really knew anything about actual chord theory, tempo, any real musical rigors. You just knew how it sounded like on the albums.

    With that little image you had in your head, is the craze so much different from today? I’m in highschool, and I can think of about 15 different people who are all buying microKorgs and Kaoss pads and wanting to be the next tiesto. EDM exploded over the past decade. There’s no denying that. Really all it did was just let it’s mark seep into the Top 40 list. The most featured songs are the 125bpm i’m-the-solo-autotuned-out-“artist”-who-sings-lyrics-wrote-in-an-hour-with-some-generic-producer’s-work “party all night” “bangers”. It’s just combining dumbed-down EDM with stuff girls in puberty can sing in the shower. As stated before by etaws, people are usually only interested in the lowest common denomenator.

    But in the end, just realize, that’s where the music went, and that’s just where teens are gonna jump in it. It just went from garage bands to bedroom desktop djs with the free version on FL and some cheap hardware.

    And on a few sidenotes to end this, I agree the amount of creative musical use of synths in the past three years in mainstream music has been rather lackluster, but then again, when has mainstream music ever been actually musically creative?

    However, letting the Top 40 List determine the fate of all music is ridiculous.

  12. Excellent, no songs about cosmology, humanism, nuclear hamsters, pencil cases or bumble bees. Totally have a chance of being original next year. Maybe I’ll even come up with a sound that’ll get a cool onomatopoeic genre name…

    Joking aside, the only thing want to know is do they have studies for other years? Surely these results hold true for about the last 20 years or so.

  13. I think the key difference is that musicians of the past “wanted” to be good and get better, but musicians of today large just believe they “are” good, and there isn’t any push to explore and grow. For instance, all the bad guitar players int he 80s were still trying to come up with something new to do on their instruments. Most of today’s keyboard players are just trying to buy the same synth and patch collection as the famous people have.

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