The pop music of the last 50 years really has become progressively bereft of musical variety. So says this Spanish analysis of gobs of pop songs .
So Martha Bayles is right. Geoffrey O’Brien’s nightmare last chapter of Sonata for Jukebox is right. And me too, I think. See my Rock Songbook #52 , especially the part that says:
“A1: The pop-song form has definite limits.
A2: Modern intellectual classes, getting caught-up in 20th-century historicist hope, impressed by remarkable breakthroughs in Afro-American music and recording/amplification technology, and charged by the initial novelty of certain mid-60s musical experiments, lost sight of this, and placed a great deal of expectation on rocks advancement of the pop form.
A3: Continual efforts to break out into something new reaped diminishing returns, and resulted in ever more finely-wrought recyle-ment and mixture of the existing possibilities.”