American Popular Music and Its Styles

Subject: Art
Pages: 2
Words: 537
Reading time:
2 min
Study level: College

Outlaw Country Music

The country music genre has changed over time, moving towards a more intellectual and freewheeling direction. One of the most influential progressive country artists was Willie Nelson, who took an unconventional music approach. The artist began to gain popularity in the 70s of the 20th century, organizing the first open-air festivals. Another outstanding artist of this genre – Waylon Jennings-was considered a rebel. He refused to adhere to the popular singer’s traditional understanding and, throughout his career, stuck to his principles. Thus, Outlaw Country artists went against all the rules, thereby attracting more attention to this genre.

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The reggae genre originated in the Third World, combining the Caribbean folk sound and American blues. The popularity of such music is attributed to the interest of Americans in everything exotic and new. As the representatives of the previous genre, reggae singers were considered rebels who violated music laws. One of the most famous recordings is Bob Marley’s “I Shot the Sheriff, which was undoubtedly provocative and rebellious. Moreover, almost every artist was inherent in Rastafarianism, which attracted the attention of the audience.


The rise of such a musical genre as Salsa is attributed to the early 1970s when rock dominated popular radio stations. This genre, which included passion and rhythm, could often be heard throughout different New York dance clubs. Besides, the emergence of independent Latin-oriented record companies has influenced the popularity of this genre. Salsa artists such as Eddie Palmieri and Willie Colón have undoubtedly attracted a large audience to this type of music, resulting in its success.

Punk & New Wave

Punk rock and new wave originated in the mid-1970s in New York City, starting with such an institution as the garage band. The music of this genre represents chaos, extreme volume, and a spirit of rebellion. Artists such as the Ramones, Sex Pistols, and many others began to conquer the Los Angeles scene and gain popularity throughout the United States. Rebelliousness, anarchism, and the chaotic nature of the music determine its success, as it is inherently linked to those generations’ spirit.


Funk music represents the pursuit of dance, euphoria, and bliss. In the early 70s, the word funk referred to a genre characterized by dance, rhythm, and melody. Being one of the inspirations of this type of music, James Brown concentrated on dance and rhythm. Thus, in the funk genre, the basis is the melody itself rather than the lyrics. Most funk fans are keen on this music precisely because it is not necessary to think about the meaning of the songs but only to enjoy the melody.

Early Hip-Hop

Early hip-hop is associated with rap music, characterized by a cultural connection between the Americas and Africa. If the base is the melody in the case of funk, then hip-hop focuses on the meaning and lyrics of the songs. Through words, artists of this genre expressed their emotions, and experiences and told about critical social problems. Initially, rap was born in the 70s and quickly attracted young people to its audience, who were looking for meaning and messages in the lyrics. Moreover, hip-hop was considered a protest against mainstream music, which was played in every club and at every disco.