Originally created 02/04/03

Pop music still has wide appeal

For years, pop artists such as 'NSYNC, Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears have dominated the music charts.

But bubble-gum pop has reached its pinnacle and begun to decline.

Justin Timberlake has taken a break from 'NSYNC. Beyonce Knowles (Destiny's Child) is out on her own, and Christina Aguilera has parted so sharply with her previous image that most people have no idea how to classify her.

Has pop buckled under the intense criticism it faced by avid listeners defending certain genres or types of music? Have the musical tastes of listeners simply evolved to require something more than mass-marketed music?

Seemingly, pop artists have just begun to become more genre-specific, as have listeners. People naturally like categories: up or down, cold or hot, country music or R&B. Artists are abandoning a genre that could not really be classified.

Mr. Timberlake has proved to be a successful R&B artist, and Jennifer Lopez has embraced R&B and hip-hop, collaborating with such artists as LL Cool J, Ja Rule and Jadakiss.

While bubble-gum pop seems to be fizzling out, mainstream music continues to thrive.

People are connected in so many ways, such as the radio, television and the Internet, that music with wide appeal will always be big. Still, simply the separation of music from a giant category, known as "what everyone likes," into smaller genres like R&B and punk rock could have positive impacts on music and musicians alike by increasing originality as performers explore a certain type of music and tailor it to create their own style.

Teen board member Patrick Johnson, 16, is a junior at Augusta Preparatory Day School.


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