Pop music has long served as object of study for social scientists and linguists alike. The idea of mass society, mass culture and their influence on the general public is viewed by many as frightening, due to the immense power that it holds on the general public. (Hirsch, 1971: 2) Therefore, due to its large reach, it is impossible to ignore the influence that pop music has on our day-to-day lives. The pop genre, as we know it, emerged during 1950s and it distinguishes itself through its traits. It does not function as an ordinary genre, since it does not have easily detectable features that separate it from other genres. In reality, it includes all music that is popular, and many music styles have been famous over decades, from stadium rock, to disco, hip-hop, dance etc. Song lyrics, varying on context, are very similar, almost indiscernible from poetry, considering that the main thing that separates the two is the association with sound that lyrics have, compared to regular poetry verses. The objective of this study is to analyze the stratification of meaning in the lyrics of a few selected modern pop songs, starting with one of the most notable decades of the genre – which is the 1980s – and ending with selections of contemporary pop songs. This examination has the purpose of identifying certain patterns in the construction of pop song lyrics. This study will research the use of language and the linguistic blueprint on which pop songs are built on a lyrical level. The selected songs were purposely picked in such a manner that they are different of each other in terms of style and commercial success. Even though they are not capable of sketching a full representation of the landscape of pop over the explored decades, they should be able to outline specific particularities or clichés in the process of song writing that have evolved or devolved over time. The layers in which this study is achieved are represented by the confluence realized between a multitude of different domains, particularly stylistics, phonetics, rhetoric and semantics.
Silviu-Paul Babiuc holds a BA in English and Romanian Language and Literature (2022). His final paper dwells on the particularities of pop music lyrics, as well as on their influence on the general public.