It’s ok to like popular music

Illustration by Ed Appleby
Illustration by Ed Appleby

Listening to the mainstream

By Cazzy Lewchuk, Opinions Editor

Growing up, I mostly listened to music that was recorded before I was born. I had some space on the music library for modern stuff, but I was definitely one of those smug teenagers who thought they were born in the wrong generation.

Fast forward a few years and I still listen to oldies more than the new tunes. We all have our own tastes, and I choose to listen to legendary bands of the ’60s–’90s. Even so, I’ve come to appreciate modern music and all that it offers.

News flash: there is no such thing as one generation having better music than another. The artists on the radio 40 years ago had the same good/awful ratio as the the artists of the airwaves today. We remember the good stuff and forget the old. It’s the same thing now; there are great modern artists breaking out, but they’re buried beneath the same generic crap as always.

I like a lot of modern artists who do things differently in music: Lorde and Tame Impala are some of my favourites, as they work to create dreamy loops that aren’t manufactured pop beats. But I also like mainstream pop music: 1989 is a real banger, and Carly Rae Jepsen’s work just gets better and better. Pop music is called so by its very definition. It’s meant to be fun, catchy tunes that are popular and enjoyable for most listeners.

With the possible exception of country (I stand by this), all music genres have a lot to offer. There’s a lot of quality, original work out there, and there’s a lot of terrible, generic stuff in the mix, too. A certain genre may not be your cup of tea, but you shouldn’t write off genres entirely, and you certainly shouldn’t write off people who choose to enjoy those genres.

Your music taste is not superior to anyone else’s. You are not better because you enjoy Queen over Kanye West. Both of these artists have millions of fans and create their own impact in the music scene, and they’re also a hell of a lot more creative than you’ll ever be. Some artists are commonly despised. I will never, ever endorse Justin Bieber, and still wish his music would disappear forever. However, I still give the guy credit for creating a fan base and style that’s appealed to so many, even if I personally hate it.

You might surprise yourself when you start listening to artists or genres you hadn’t looked at before. Discovering new music and expanding your pallet is super rewarding. Realizing that artists who sell millions of albums are not all the worst musicians ever is an eye-opening experience.

That it’s ok to like Fifth Harmony and Radiohead is a realization we should all make one day.