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Pop music will diversify, rework itself in 2024

Pop music has long dominated the world, becoming a focal point for artists like Dua Lipa and Olivia Rodrigo to set new trends. From a wave of 1970s disco-inspired music to 2000s grunge-rock influences, many pop fans wonder what sonic direction the genre will fade into next.

"I have a song stuck in my head!"

Epidemic Sound predicts that pop artists will continue to use catchy hooks in their choruses for social media. We saw this last year with repetitive choruses like Miley Cyrus' "Flowers" and Olivia Rodrigo's "bad idea right?"The concept allowed both artists to gain major traction on TikTok and Instagram, and both songs hit No.1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2023. That has become a pattern and intentional choice by artists to make their songs last longer in the public's consciousness.

Back to basics

Pop music is also evolving into a state of minimalism. This year, many artists are integrating acoustic sounds into their discographies. A prime example of that is Noah Kahan, who has become an overnight sensation for his pop-folk songs like "Northern Attitude" and "Stick Season." By just using a few simple chords and a guitar, Kahan has proved meaningful lyricism paired with this stripped-down production technique can effectively grab listeners' attention.

Other artists, like Charli XCX, have also hinted at releasing more minimalist music in 2024. The singer tweeted her predictions about pop music, stating that songs will "be way more minimal sounding – like 3 or 4 sounds per song plus vocal."

Maggie Rogers and Kacey Musgraves have also recently taken this approach with their new releases. Rogers's newest song, "Don't Forget Me," sounds completely different from her last alternative pop record, 2022's "Surrender," which utilized flashy synths and heavy vocal riffs. Instead, Rogers now relies on her signature soprano and a few backing guitars to sing about not meeting societal expectations.

Returning to the roots

Meanwhile, Musgraves reverted to her country roots after weakly attempting to shift to pop with 2021's "star-crossed" on "Deeper Well."The track sounds similar to the production used by Kahan and country-folk artists Zach Bryan and Briston Maroney. Its straightforward lyrics about aging and moving on from toxic energy are much more digestible for listeners.

Many 2024 pop releases will also highlight the genre's origins. Beyoncé's country album, "Act II", and the release of its first two singles, "TEXAS' HOLD EM" and "16 CARRIAGES," are perfect examples of this phenomenon.

Many have shied away from country music because of its stereotypes, but Beyoncé is reclaiming it, as much of its history and significance is thanks to pioneering Black musicians. A similar reemergence has occurred in recent years with TikTok and pop culture repopularizing songs like "Murder on the Dance Floor" and "Running Up That Hill (Make a Deal with God)".

It would be no surprise if pop music continued to evolve into a new era of integration, especially with genres that are often misrepresented and stolen from the artists who helped establish them. Pop music will soon see a wave of diversity and experimentation, and artists have the potential to steer attention away from the genre's predominantly white landscape.

Imitation is flattery

A final prediction of what pop music might sound like through 2024 is imitation. The music industry is seeing more of this, with cover songs and albums being reinterpreted. Simultaneously, new artists are pulling vocal styles and sounds from mainstream artists of the last two decades.

One prime example is The Last Dinner Party, a band whose sound completely rips off that of Florence & The Machine and MARINA. While this is not necessarily bad, it lacks authenticity, which pop music will most likely struggle with this year.

However, covers like Paramore's rendition of the Talking Heads' "Burning Down the House" have been colorful reimagining of memorable tracks from the 1980s. Imitation can only be respected when credit is given and the original artist is honored.

Overall, pop music is rapidly changing as we speak, like all music does. 2024 will be an exciting time for artists to reclaim and rework their current sonic styles, which will likely strengthen and diversify the genre more than in previous years.


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