Yesterday I came to a realization. And by realization, I absolutely mean that I finally admitted to myself something that, deep down, I’ve known all along. I love pop music. I really do. As much as I honestly hate most of the crap that they play on the radio, there are some real gems out there, and I can’t stop myself from fully immersing myself in how awesome they are.
As a kid, I was exclusively a pop fan. The radio was God, there weren’t enough BSB posters in the world (or space on my walls) and I wanted to be the next Britney Spears (despite my complete lack of dance skills). My dad’s music—oldies of course—was laughable, and my mom’s love for Vince Gill and Garth Brooks was ridiculous. But once I hit junior high, I slowly let go of Nick Carter and the pop world. I started listening to the Red Hot Chili Peppers to impress a boy. (I started watching the Toronto Maple Leafs for the same boy, but that’s a story for another day). Eventually, I was introduced to bands like Radiohead and The Beatles. My pop posters came down, and in their place was Pink Floyd and Kurt Cobain. By high school, I was too good for pop. It wasn’t real music.
Even then, however, it would slip into my life. My friends would find a song they loved (like Usher’s “Yeah”) and I would roll my eyes and dance (badly) purely for their amusement. At least that’s the excuse I gave myself. And that is the relationship that pop music and I had for years. I was either putting up with it, or mocking it with my best friend. But it’s slowly crept back into my life.
It started with a break-up. At the end of last year, I needed to keep my spirits up. So I burned a “Get Happy” cd. This cd included Taio Cruz’s “Dynamite” and Katy Perry’s “Firework.” The dancability of the first, and the inspiring words of the second (I’m lame, I know) would always make me grin. But whenever someone would get in the car with me, my first words would be “don’t judge me.” But late one night, while driving home from a show with my best friend, we took the long way, cranked the volume, and sang those songs at the top of our lungs. I thought that maybe they weren’t so bad.
Next, I found myself defending Lady Gaga‘s (pre-Born This Way) music. I discussed my love for Taio Cruz’s song with a guy friend, only to discover that he loves Britney Spears’ “Till The World Ends.” A huge amount of my friends became obsessed with LMFAO’s “Party Rock Anthem,” and I did too. A couple of my friends got into Kanye and Jay-z’s “Monster,” causing it to get stuck in my head. Nicki Minaj’s song “Super Bass” was suddenly all I could listen to. Yesterday, I compiled most of these songs for a walking playlist, but it hit me: walking playlist or not, I love every last one of these songs.
To make it clear, I like good pop. I like it when the music is tightly constructed, the arrangement is well written, the effects and instrumentation are intelligent, and Justin Bieber is as far away as possible. Songs that are mindlessly repetitive or just badly written and performed (I’m looking at you, new Beyonce, Mariana’s Trench singer, and the hundreds of others like you) I will continue to hate. That’s right Pitbull, I will mock you forever.
But rest assured, if you ever see me strutting along the sidewalk, I am most definitely listening to Monster.