It’s been a wild few weeks for pop fans. First, there was the announcement of Taylor Swift’s new album, which was released on October 24, and the song “Look What You Made Me Do” became the first single to top the Billboard Top 100 in over a year. Then, a few days later, Harry Styles announced he was teaming up with Taylor Swift on her new album. The collaborations between the two were met with positive reviews, and fans can now look forward to a collabrative album in 2022. All of this adds up to one thing: we’re in the midst of one of the most exciting times in pop music history!

Whether you agree or disagree with that statement, one thing is for sure: we can’t get enough of it. Pop music has been through so much in the past year. From the pandemic to the rise of TikTok to the changing of the guard in the music industry, it’s safe to say 2020 was a year of seismic shifts. These shifts have led to new artists rising to prominence and established artists experiencing a comeback. While some might argue that this is simply a result of the pandemic, it’s more than that. The year 2020 will be remembered as the year of the singer.

But why is singer such a prominent theme right now? We’re not suggesting that all of these changes are positive ones. They’re not. But at the same time, it’s important to acknowledge how much they’ve benefited us, the fans. We’re finally at a point where a musician’s voice can be an instrument of change rather than just entertainment. So while we might not want to go back to the way things were, at least we can take pride in what’s happened in the last year, and look forward to more of the same in the coming months.

New Generation Of Artists

Last year was the year of the singer-songwriter. From Awkward’s Sofia Vergara to Camille’s Camille Guaty, the year 2020 saw established and upcoming artists alike trading on their talent to write and sing about the themes of the day. Whether it was love or loss, loneliness or depression, the songs spoke to us, the fans, and many responded by heading to their nearest music shop to purchase CDs or vinyls. Even the streaming services saw an uptick in subscribers, with many discovering new, independent artists they would later stream or buy a record or album of.

This trend continues in 2021. While we might see a return to more traditional structures and songwriting, with fewer artists taking the step into the unknown, we will still see many new voices and sounds reach our ears and inspire us.

A Rise In Pop Vocal And Dance Albums

One of the more prominent changes that we’ve seen in the last year is the return of the pop vocal album. Many fans had given up on the idea of hearing a pure pop album years ago, with the genre dominated by EDM artists and their increasingly experimental sounds. While some might say that the pure pop album was a marketing tool used by the major record labels to cash in on the success of Taylor Swift and her peers, it appears that the diehard fans have been clamoring for the return of the pop vocal album ever since. And boy, have they gotten it!

Albums like Maroon 5’s Midnight Marauders, Backstreet Boys’ Xtravaganza, and Shawn Mendes’ self-titled album all saw the release of pop vocal albums in the past eight months, solidifying the genre’s comeback.

But while the pop vocal album is back, it’s not the same as it was in the past. One of the major differences is that today’s pop vocal albums are more dance-friendly than your average R&B or pop album. This makes sense, as these are the kinds of songs that would naturally translate to a dancing audience. And let’s face facts: we’re always on our phones when we’re out and about, so it’s the perfect fit!

Now, while some might see this as a negative change, the truth is that it’s a positive one. Many of today’s artists are embracing the new sound and style, and it’s exciting to see!

So while we might not want to go back to the way things were when you had to choose between an R&B and a pop album, at least we can embrace the changes and look forward to even more exciting times in pop music.