Pop music provides the soundtrack to our lives. It’s heard on the radio and on television; it plays at clothing stores as we shop and in restaurants while we eat. It’s captivating; it’s energetic; and — while we may not all love every hit song — it has a very wide appeal.
As implied by its name, pop music is the genre of music that produces the most popular — hit — songs. These songs tend to have catchy melodies, memorable lyrics, and energetic rhythms, often suited for dancing. And while pop music often focuses on single songs — reaching the No. 1 position on the Billboard Hot 100 is a sure sign of a hit — artists have consistently released pop music albums throughout recent history.
24/7 Wall St. has identified the 100 best pop albums of all time based on an album’s performance on the Billboard 200 chart, which ranks the weekly 200 most popular albums across all genres, and the album’s lifetime sales as reported by the Recording Industry Association of America.
The sounds of pop music have changed drastically over the years. Technology and creative innovation moved the genre away from its roots in early rock and roll to the dance music of Madonna and Michael Jackson. Today, artists such as Ed Sheeran, one of the 50 best selling Grammy winners, Twenty One Pilots, and Beyoncé carry the torch.
While not all popular songs are “pop,” the genre has been influenced by all other genres. Sometimes the joining of genres is front and center: Shania Twain, one of the most popular country musicians, has released numerous crossover albums that sound as natural on country radio as they do on pop stations. More recently, rapper and R&B Canadian artist Drake has found success in his meshing of genres, releasing albums packed to the brim with pop hits.