What Makes It Pop?: an Analysis of Selected Pop Songs
Date of Graduation
Master of Music
As pop music analysis gains credibility within the field of musicology, there is a growing interest in that which makes a song "popular." In this study, ten songs were selected from Billboard's top 100 songs of the year for the five-year period from 1998-2002. The five #1 songs from each year and five lower-ranking songs were selected and analyzed using procedures developed by Randall G. Pembrook and Peter Mercer-Taylor. Comparative analysis was then applied to determine if similarities existed within the top songs, within the bottom songs, and between the two categories. Some extra-musical factors, such as an artist's image and current events, were studied to determine how they shaped a song's popularity. This study is designed primarily to investigate musical elements that aid in creating "popular" songs. The overall emphasis of this study is to analyze the "pop" of pop music. Most results and conclusions supported common elements among the top five songs. No broad statements, however, could be logically concluded to encompass all ten songs.
pop, music, analysis, Billboard, popularity
© Matthew A. Cobb
Cobb, Matthew A., "What Makes It Pop?: an Analysis of Selected Pop Songs" (2004). MSU Graduate Theses. 2662.