It's taken me a while, but I'm finally getting back to you... my apologies for the delay; I hope you read this.
~ Not necessarily simpler, but an idea that after expressed, seemed so easy that it was right there in front of all of us, which is not the same meaning as merely "simple music."
Yeah... you did a better job of saying it, but the above is what I was getting at. Ideas that are so simple that someone should have thought of them before, but it took some kind of genius to make it apparent.
As far as your understanding Spears tracks and such right away... I doubt it. Just like you said... it sounds easy, but pop music -- even hers -- often has intricate stuff going on. Now, I just want to say -- I *hate* Britney Spears. And while I've watched her vids for amusement, I do not consider myself a fan, nor would I choose to listen to her. But, I can see why other people do, and I don't think (as you seem to) that that makes them mindless dumb matrix-bound drones.
Having said that, let me also say... I've had "My Arms, Your Hearse" for a while now. And I would certainly not choc it up to noise, devil music, or whatever. And I think that people who do are pretty much doing the same thing to Opeth that you appear to be doing to Spears. Granted... you would never equate the two... but, much as you may hate this, they're more similar than they seem.
Yes, Opeth has a melodism above the norm for black metal, I would say. And there's no denying their craftsmanship and sense of musicality. However, what they are doing is really not that much more complex than most other forms of pop music. Their songs differ in formal structure, but that is the nature of black metal, in general. There's also a greater emphasis on drums and fills and such, which makes their rhythm section *sound* more complex, but it's really not. (Though I admire the virtuosity and sheer endurance of most black metal drummers.) Also, their sense of chordal progression, harmonic rhythm, dissonance... these are all the same as in Spears, sorry to say. And as for Opeth's timbral universe, it's limited by the genre, I think, to a few stock sounds. Now, I don't say that because it's a bad thing; I say it because it's true. Compare Opeth's sonic universe to a Stereolab or even a Beck and you'll find that their sonic palette is just much smaller. But -- I follow all of that critical review with the statement that, I happen to think Opeth is pretty cool. I just also happen to think that they're more on par with the popular musics you seem very eager to distinguish them from.
As for the Mozart point -- comparing him to popular musicians of today... you might want to check out an article by Rene Lysloff entitled "Mozart in Mirrorshades" in the journal Ethnomusicology (Spring-Summer 1997) Vol.41, No. 2... pages 206-214.
Jesus -- you know I'm getting into this when I start citing stuff. But anyway -- it's worth a look. Lysloff's argument was that if Mozart was around right now, and had access to current technologies, he might very well be Beck or Aphex Twin or Ricky Martin.
And as for this:
~ Yes. Mostly, dumb-downed simple dance or toe-tapping music created by the media and record company execs to make heaps of money.
I need to point out here again... take an event like the Blackest of the Black that just happened at the Universal Ampitheatre here in LA a few weekends ago... if you were to go there, you'd find a mass of people, probably wearing all black, probably with shirts of indecipherable calligraphy on them, jumping around... screaming... moshing... yelling... rebelling against "the norm"... rebelling against christianity, in all likelihood, etc. and I fail to see how that's any different than a bunch of people toe-tapping.
I'm such the ultra relativist that I see equal merit and respectability in both.
Hope I haven't irrevocably pissed you off. And if I have, it was my last intention. I've actually really enjoyed engaging with you on this topic.