The Secret to Enjoying Pop

Pop music garners a lot of hate in certain music circles, but I’ve discovered the key to pop music enjoyment…

Guys, I never want you to feel like I look down on parts of the music industry, or that these posts come from a place of pretentiousness. These are just simple posts that examine bits of the industry which grab my attention. With that in mind, let’s get on with the post.

So today, I know how Galileo felt when he discovered the extent of our solar system. I’m having the same realisation Newton had as he figured out what gravity was. There is the same amount of joy in my soul as when I saw real-life boobs for the first time as a teenager. Because I’ve cracked it. I know the secret, the secret to enjoying modern day pop music.

Strap in, because it’s about to get Da Vinci Code up in this post.

Let me first set the scene of how I came to this discovery. Newton had his tree. I have my bedroom. As we all know, cleaning and tidying the house is incredibly boring, unless you have music playing loudly in the background. As I mentioned in a previous Cynically Sound post – Music Discovery is Dead, finding new music that I’ve never heard before is one of my favourite past times. So these two activities often become synonymous with each other.

It was one fine Sunday afternoon, when Spotify shuffled onto Rihanna’s 2016 album Anti – something I didn’t realise, as when it was released I avoided it like the plague. This was down to the single Work, a song which if bought on vinyl, then was scratched and kept skipping over the same part, would sound exactly the same as the perfect MP3 version. I hated this song for two reasons;

  • It was the worst song I’d heard in a long time
  • The radio would NOT stop playing it.

Ah God even thinking about it sets the ‘workworkworkwork’ repetition off in my head, she says it 79 times for fuck sake – in a 3:39 minute long song?! But after actually listening to it again, I now have a third reason to hate it. It makes you assume that Anti is a bad album. I thought; why even bother listening to it if all the songs are like Work? But the album isn’t bad. I listened to the whole thing and there were only a few songs I didn’t enjoy.

So this got me thinking; what other pop albums from the 2010’s have I written off purely because of the single. Well, let’s take Carly Rae Jepsen’s album E.MO.TION, for example. The single I Really Like You, (where ‘really’ is said 67 times), suffers from the same repetitive lyrical yawn-fest that Work does. However, take away the “I really really really really really really really really really really like you” song, and E.MO.TION is a synth-soaked 80’s nostalgia fest of pop perfectness.

Basically, delete the annoying single, and you’re left with a pretty decent track-list.

However, as you can imagine, there are some exceptions to this rule. Some albums are just pure pop shit, and the single is a pretty good indication that there isn’t anything worth listening to on the album. Taylor Swift’s reputation, is a great example. Pretentious, self-indulgent and generally just an unpleasant listen, it oozes cringe as a bought and paid for pop princess attempts to reinvent herself as an edgy white girl who don’t give two hoots what you think about her!

But I digress. The main issue with enjoying pop is saturation, because it’s wherever you go.

You get in the car, it’s on the radio. Get into the shop, and they’re playing it. As you’re watching TV, the same song comes on in the adverts. Thus, I’ll be taking a pair of tin snips to the aerial of my car, walking around with ear defenders on and muting adverts as soon as they roll on.

So then, to enjoy pop music; wait for the promotion of said album to die down – a year or so after release should do it. Then you’ll be able to engage with it on your own terms. Limit your contact to pop, and you’ll enjoy it a lot more, when you choose to listen to it. This, is the secret to pop music enjoyment.