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“A Pop Survey, September 2014”

Radio music today is completely organized by style. But are you sure you want to complain? It could be worse. It could be the 1999 of boy bands and Bizkit breaking.

The truth is, there’s actually a deluge of DECENT melodies on pop radio today, beginning arguably with Selena Gomez’ “When You’re Ready,” as stupid as the lyrics and video are to that song. It did actually have some musical weight. Maroon 5’s “One More Night,” Ellie Goulding’s “Calling” were two more tracks to bear with certain open fists and hypnotized gazes. Sam Smith’s “Stay with Me” strikes me as pastiche, but those guys who do “Rude” seem alright. If you can’t abide a song like “Rude,” you’re probably going to have a hard time walking down the street amidst a bunch of young people. Either this, or you can make the choice just not to get anything from them.
But anyhow, it seems we’ve hit another relative boom in quality of pop radio. It takes me back to the glory days of 1993 with John Secada’s “Just Another Day,” and that “Wishing on a Star” song. Oh, I wasn’t cool, I wasn’t listening to Nirvana. Oh yeah, I wasn’t angry, I wasn’t listening to Nirvana. Oh yeah, I was 10, I wasn’t listening to Nirvana.
What was the prominence of Blues Traveler? Quite a bit, I’d say, with “Hook” walking a taut line of chordal brilliance, but to a certain extent he was also a cultural beacon for fat people, I think. He came on the heels of all those tortured, anorexic grungers, and said, dammit, It’s ok to look like this. Which of course detracts from the artistic verity, but should hardly be condemned through a humanitarian lens. Still, though, not quite as good as “Wishing on a Star,” I don’t think.
Apropos of that, pop music should always, ironically, be devoid of derivative techniques. It is, after all, the least reliant ON style. What it uses is hipness and coolness, basically. It’s like flirting — it’s crisp and full of turns, never tackily lingering or reflecting. It’s mythological, not actual. Anyone who thinks flirting is ACTUAL is probably destined for some heartbreak.
Just like it’s easy to underestimate the power of the opposite sex, it’s easy to underestimate one’s own need for pop music, and lots of times, happiness in life hinges largely upon one’s own friend circle permitting the pleasurable music listening at hand.

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