Don’t be deceived, children—”pop metal” shouldn’t evince audible visions of Fred Durst in JNCOs. The title doesn’t refer to nu-metal but to a certain aesthetic of songwriting. By “pop metal”—or “pop” anything—I mean a song in a specific genre that can easily be translated into a standard pop song…one that can easily be translated into other genres. It doesn’t have much to do with a standard verse-chorus-verse format, but basic modern songwriting, from melody and rhythm to more subjective aspects like dynamics, “feel,” the place where it detaches from, or effectively connects to, genre convention, etc.
I picked this song because I feel it can be stripped down to an acoustic song and still retain its appeal, not an easy feat for some metal subgenres. That it can be reduced to a minimalist instrumentation, or “music base zero,” is a excellent clue that it can be then pivoted to other genres.
1 – Good rise-and-fall dynamics, melody
2 – The rougher screaming parts, which don’t translate well, or at all, into pop, can be replaced
3 – Rock song deviation: it doesn’t end on a bang but a whimper. Usually rock songs end
4 – The dueling guitar solos at the end aren’t don’t overshadow the structure; the solos aren’t the focus
5 – Decent lyrics, open to interpretation