(Find out who will be nominated for the 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards live on "The GRAMMY Nominations Concert Live!! — Countdown To Music's Biggest Night" on Nov. 30 from 10–11 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.)
One of the first memories I have of pop music is seeing Michael Jackson's "Beat It" video back in the '80s. I must have been a toddler at the time and I really had no idea what the song was about or understanding of Jackson's legacy, but I was instantly mesmerized by the energy of the performance — the dancing, the moves and the fiery passion in Jackson's eyes. From that moment on, I've been obsessed with pop music.
A few years later, I used to record Top 40 radio shows on my cassette player and create weekly mixtapes. I had a love for finding great new music and sharing that with friends by playing the mixtapes after school. That perspective still is what drives me as a blogger and writer today. I love sharing great new pop with people and telling artists' stories on my blog.
Since those early mixtape days, pop music has changed quite a bit, but its main ingredients remain: powerful melodies and a heartfelt sentiment that people everywhere instantly can relate to. That's what great, timeless pop is all about. Sometimes it comes along with attractive packaging or provoking imagery to complement the music, but in the end the songs are what truly matter.
The fact that great pop music is rooted in melody and heartfelt sentiment doesn't mean the genre doesn't evolve and change. In fact, pop is a musical chameleon that morphs and bends itself to fit popular taste and the way fans experience music.
One trend that influences popular music is the way people consume music. And this is more evident now than ever. With the surge of mobile devices, music fans like to mix and mash music on their devices regardless of genre, album or artist. If it fits their taste or mood, they want to be able to playlist it.
This trend has helped to blur the lines between genres, but pop is the cement that connects them all. A good example underscoring this point is how pop has taken cues from hip-hop and dance music, which is becoming a real force in the United States.
The morphing nature of pop is solidified by the "Playlist Generation" and has been recently illustrated by Rihanna's collaboration with Calvin Harris on "We Found Love," Afrojack's work with Ne-Yo and Pitbull on "Give Me Everything," David Guetta's partnership with Usher on "Without You," and LMFAO's "Party Rock Anthem," the latter showing a pop essence with a massive dance aesthetic.
The Recording Academy has always recognized the changing landscape of pop and has previously awarded music's top prize to groundbreakers such as Nelly Furtado, Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake, and Adele in the Pop Field.
Keeping the spirit of pop in mind while understanding the genre-blurring effect of the "Playlist Generation," newcomers that may break out at the 54th GRAMMY Awards include artists such as Rihanna, David Guetta, Foster The People, Robyn, Katy Perry, Bruno Mars, Adele and Usher.
Time will tell who will be nominated for music's top prize this year.