I'm told I have a shameful secret. When people find out, I'm informed never to speak of my disgraceful desires in public again due to the indignity that may follow. 'What you do in your house is your business,' they say, 'but I don't want it thrust in my face.' I'm looked on as a pariah, someone who should be shunned for liking something so heinous and depraved. But in truth, I don't think it's that big of a deal. I have no qualms admitting to anyone who asks that I am, indeed, an enthusiast of pop music.
I love it. I always have. Even when I was going through my 'I don't want anyone to know I'm gay so I'm going to pretend I like Green Day' phase, all I wanted to listen to was Britney. This brand of music has always carried so much public stigma that it was difficult to wear the badge with honour. It is seen as childish or trivial, devoid of the qualities that are reckoned to make music great like soul, uniqueness, emotion and truth. It is left to fester in the dredges of preference only to be scorned at by an arbitrary few who would deem the phrase 'good pop music' as nothing more than an oxymoron or misnomer.
My taste in music is always under fire. When one of "my" songs interrupts the dirge of indie bands that are constantly playing at work, my colleagues bemoan and lament for the entire three minutes. It's understandable to a point. The genre is certainly accustomed to harbouring more than its fair share of tripe due to its popular nature and I fear this may be what eclipses the aforementioned 'good pop music' from truly shining through, leaving it instead to dwell in murky waters of abundance. It's sad, because there are plenty of examples of great pop songs, rich with all sorts of precious features that should court acclaim but suffer under the sheer weight of their inferior peers.
Pop music to me is like a fiction novel. I like to escape into it and indulge in the utter fantasy and caprice of it all. Reality doesn't appeal to me as much when it comes to my music and I think that's why I've always preferred pop as a genre. It doesn't take itself too seriously, opting instead for light-heartedness and whimsy, allowing unadulterated emotion to percolate through to the surface. Voices can be doctored, elctro beats added and songs can be written by machines for all I care, as long as the track itself is appealing. I don't see any of this as a bad thing or as a reason to demean the genre in comparison to others; it just aims for different, but equally important outcomes and reactions. So whether you long for respite from your thoughts or simply yearn for a catchy tune to dance to, pop music offers this in abundance.
I'm not a mindless groupie falling at the altar of particular pop music deities either. I care little for the proprietors themselves but much more for the product. So even though Aly and AJ are Disney Channel alumni, Potential Breakup Song is still a wonderfully eclectic gem and just because Diana Vickers was on the X-Factor, it doesn't mean that Music to Make Boys Cry is simply manufactured rubbish...quite the contrary. Even notorious socialite Paris Hilton has released some pop tracks that are actually worth their salt but conversely has some utter drivel in her discography too. Essentially it swings in roundabouts, but pop music does seem to suffer under the reputed tarred brush more than other forms.
Pop music can be incredibly transcendent too, bursting through this vaulted facade of insipidness to levels of almost total acceptance, even adulation in a wide variety of circles. Robyn, for example, completely encapsulates this garnering all sorts of lovely praise for her quirky brand of pop music. She has even appeared on the work playlist from time to time yet endured none of the same derision that Girls Aloud got when I attempted to sneak them on, despite Biology being clearly as good a pop song as Call Your Girlfriend. I'm passionate about good pop music and it frustrates me that it can be dismissed and admonished so cavalierly.
Ultimately music, like all art forms, is always going to come down to some level of personal preference but I really feel this should never be subsumed under the weight of others. It's okay to not like something, but that doesn't mean anything is, by any means, superior or inferior. It may seem like an asinine statement, but as a purveyor of all things pop, I have had to constantly defend my tastes, just because the music I listen to is nonsensically deemed bad in society. Not everyone will be of this frame of mind though, and that's okay. However, when you're out and you've had enough cocktails to let your inhibitions fly, I'm sure you'll be gleefully dancing to Taylor Swift's Shake it Off and not that indiscernible folk band from inner city Dublin whose magnum opus was inspired by the famine...and I won't judge you one bit for momentarily changing your allegiance.