Select Page

Is The UK Top 40 Reflective of Music Tastes Today?

Scrolling down through the Radio 1 Official Chart, I’m met with a top 40 littered with the usual mixture of manufactured dance music, catchy pop, two movie soundtracks, and unfortunately too many songs that feature Pitbull; is that what Britain’s music tastes amounts to? David Guetta, Will.I.Am, and a song about selfies? For the most part, the top 40 stems from what’s played on the radio; a catchy chorus and a few thousand iTunes downloads later and a song is in the charts. No matter how terrible a song is, if it’s infectiously catchy, someone will download it. In the last two years we’ve had Korean import Gangnam Style and Robin Thicke’s middle aged misogyny in the form of Blurred Lines, it all seems a little…’tasteless’, does that really reflect our music tastes?

In terms of quality, the British music scene is thriving: the Brit-Pop revival of last year in Birmingham with bands like Peace and Swim Deep brought a new style of music to the fringes of the mainstream. Whilst a series of young artists including London’s Wolf Alice, Wales’ Catfish & The Bottlemen, Liverpool’s Circa Waves, and electro-soul Ben Khan emerging in the last year and being welcomed onto the airwaves by Radio 1 is surely a good sign for the future. The only question to ask is why we are not seeing these names in the charts, are they inaccessible, or does pop music today need to meet a certain criteria to appeal to the masses?

This isn’t an attack on the top 40, not everything in the charts is awful; BBC’s sound of 2013 sisters Haim have had chart success, with the girls currently in the top 40 with their new single, alternative pop band The 1975’s emergence last year saw them claim a number one album, and then everybody can find solace in the feel-good vibes of Pharrell. When the chart is purely decided on sales and the decision lies in the hands in the masses is it fair to use the chart to define taste? With entire subcultures formed around genres, surely those with an actual in music would provide a more accurate reflection. A multitude of music magazines are available and any teenager with a passion can start a music blog; the active listener, those who invest both time as well as money into music, should define taste. Those willing to pay hundreds to clamber through a muddy field in their wellies to hear their favourite song, or stand in a dark venue drenched in sweat and spilt beer to see their favourite band play for £15 are the ones who reflect music ‘taste’. In a world where anywhere between 4 and 10 trillion songs are downloaded illegally each year, the question is not whether the UK Top 40 is a reflection of tastes today, the question is whether the UK Top 40 is still relevant today.

About The Author

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent Tweets

  • Today is ! Head down to see some great student bands!
  • Update for those graduating: Additional graduation tickets will be available for purchase from 10am on Wednesday 1st June
  • ENTERTAINMENT | Jack Hsuan reviews PC game !…
  • Lecturer strikes start today. Read why here…
  • Update: Exams which are set to take place at the same time as the lecturer strikes will go ahead as normal.…


Latest Issue

Latest Issue

Recent Posts