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Pop Grows Up [Opinion]

Posted by ThatsMyJamRadio on May 16, 2010

Artists within the pop music spectrum tend to fall in one of two places. There is the teen-oriented side, which caters its bubble gum sound to the latest trends, upbeat rhythms and edgy fashion. The other is the safer genre dubbed adult contemporary, which focuses on easy-listening melodies and lyrics that rarely offend the masses.

The pattern used to be that if you were in the teen-oriented bracket, you faded into obscurity once you got to be “too old” and presumably looked foolish trying to dance, or you transitioned into the lighter adult contemporary material. Some artists were able to thrive in both worlds by releasing material that catered to both audiences.

Over the first decade of the 2000s, a new crop has evolved both ideas. Not only have these grown-up pop stars extended age restrictions and audiences, but they are also catering to older demographics that are still eager for new material from the former heartthrobs and teen queens.

These nine acts carry on the tradition set by predecessors such as Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, Madonna and Prince.


Jessica Simpson
Propelled by her powerhouse vocal performance on “I Wanna Love You Forever” and catchy numbers such as “A Public Affair,” Simpson matured quickly with her marriage to Nick Lachey, which was chronicled on the MTV reality show, Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica.


Gwen Stefani

The No Doubt frontwoman appealed to teens and adults with diverse songs that included “Don’t Speak” and “Spiderwebs.” A new generation caught on to the craze with her chart-topping hit “Hollaback Girl.”


Justin Timberlake
After his massive success as one of the lead singers of NSYNC, Timberlake carved his solo niche by teaming up with Timbaland for such tunes as the post-breakup-with-Britney Spears track “Cry Me a River” and the floor-filling “SexyBack.”


Pussycat Dolls

The burlesque act turned pop stars featured a sexy mix of dance routines and vocals from lead singer Nicole Scherzinger. “Don’t Cha” and “When I Grow Up” catered to the streets, while “Stickwitu” and “Hush Hush” had crossover appeal.


Christina Aguilera
After finding a “Genie in a Bottle,” Aguilera rose to fame with touching ballads à la “I Turn to You,” club bangers such as “Dirrty” and old-school tributes, specifically “Candyman.”


Daniel Bedingfield

A purveyor of pure pop, Bedingfield seduced listeners with the club anthem “Gotta Get Thru This” and edgy “James Dean (I Wanna Know),” but fans stuck around for the touching “If You’re Not the One,” which reflects his talent as a songwriter.


Fergie

Though her former band Wild Orchid surely had crossover appeal to both pop sets, Fergie’s hip-hop-flavored “Fergalicious” and “London Bridge” paved the way for more tender fare, such as “Big Girls Don’t Cry.”


Jennifer Lopez

Jenny from the Block’s jam-packed On the 6 gave pop huge hits with “If You Had My Love” and “Waiting for Tonight,” but J.Lo continued to churn out success, including multiple hits with Ja Rule, the grown and sexy “Get Right” and Spanish-language ballad “No Me Ames,” recorded with then-future husband, Marc Anthony.


New Kids on the Block

The ultimate “Pop Grows Up” story, NKOTB reunited after nearly 15 years with The Block. Their sound matured from “Step By Step” and “You’ve Got It (The Right Stuff)” to material embraced by Jordan Knight and Joey McIntyre’s solo efforts: the Lady GaGa duet “Big Girl Now” and the Ne-Yo collaboration “Single,” respectively.

One Response to “Pop Grows Up [Opinion]”

  1. […] though we recognize and respect the fact that Christina has grown up, “Sex for Breakfast” is a serious foray into the sensual […]

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