Reconciling Something We Shouldn’t Have to Reconcile in the First Place

Pop music, you guys.

Illustration by Marjainez

I guess I have a confession to make: I LOVE POP MUSIC. Although I devote most of my free time to finding quality independent bands, my 25 most-played songs reflect my obsession: Beyoncé, Taylor Swift, and Katy Perry cozy up to Lou Reed, Ramones, Elliott Smith, and Ariel Pink. Rihanna carries as much weight on my ~self-confidenze~ playlist as Patti Smith does. But this shouldn’t really be a confession. I mean, first of all, if you know me personally, this won’t come as a surprise. And “confession” implies a secret, something I should feel guilty about. That doesn’t seem right. Revealing myself as a lover of catchy, popular music doesn’t affect anyone else (except my roommates, who get to enjoy good-morning loops of “Call Me Maybe” when I’m feeling stoked before class). I know someone who has similar listening habits, so I decided to ask her opinion on mainstream music, and why we feel like it’s not a cardinal sin to enjoy the songwriting of both Bob Dylan and Taylor Swift. —Dylan

DYLAN: Tavi, why are cool kids so afraid to love pop? I ask you, the coolest person I know—who also cries in public if “Sparks Fly” comes on.

TAVI: WELL THANKS, DYL-PICKLE. I think you’re cool! Because you like pop music. Or rather, because you just like what you like. My guess: alterna-cool kids (cough, me in middle school) are afraid of liking Rihanna or Demi Lovato or Bruno Mars because pop music is popular music. Popularity is often equated with being boring or simple. And it’s always easy to make yourself seem special if you decide that this thing everyone else likes just doesn’t speak to you.

Recently I realized that popularity can also mean something is just fun and catchy, and that’s fine. Not everything has to make you think. So much of the music I like aims to conjure emotions that are complicated and heavy, which is challenging and fascinating and great. But sometimes I just want to be happy! Sometimes I just want to dance! And I don’t want to go for a run and break down in the middle of it because Fiona Apple just got real about her trust issues! Liking something almost everyone else does can make you feel a part of something. It’s not that I’m trying to fit in, I just got sick of rolling my eyes at “Burnin’ Up” every time I heard it in the grocery store, because, like, why did I even ever care to begin with? Why did I ever think a harmless Disney boy-band was worth my energy? Is my boycotting of them really going to change the cultural landscape and get everyone to throw away their Kindles and pick up a goddamn tangible book with paper instead? ’Cause I think it’s easy to give pop music greater CULTURAL SIGNIFICANCE than it actually has. There are a lot of terrible things about the world, but the Jonas Brothers do not symbolize EVERY PROBLEM WITH CAPITALISM, or what have you.

DYLAN: That’s a whole other conversation: selling out. If you’re successful and making money, you have officially surrendered your artistic authenticity. A lot of pop stars have teams of producers and writers manufacturing songs for mass consumption—but at least you’re aware of that. Take it with a grain of salt. It’s like drinking soda or eating ice cream: a common, instantly gratifying experience. You know that what you’re consuming is overly processed, but it’s still sweet and fun and everyone indulges in it. You can’t believe that an exclusive diet of soda and ice cream is really good for you—your teeth will rot from the sugar. I’m not encouraging a narrow or close-minded cultural scope. What I am about is acknowledging that pop is just another element of our culture, and it’s often enjoyable, so just let yourself enjoy it! Are you ever any happier when you deny yourself the ice cream? Nothing is pure, authenticity is subjective, and being successful isn’t a sin. To me, thinking pop music is “shallow” is an inadequate dismissal. Um, yeah, that’s great, because not everything in my life has to reach into the soul to uncover secret truths of the human condition. SOMETIMES I JUST WANNA T.G.I.F.

TAVI: Yeah, I don’t need Lana Del Rey to have a humble background. I don’t need One Direction to be a bunch o’ scrappy street pals like the cast of Oliver! Liking pop music doesn’t mean not supporting independent artists; by choosing one, you are not denouncing the other. It was actually when I’d been working on Rookie Yearbook One for more than 24 hours without sleeping—my personal record—that I decided to get back into Taylor Swift, whom I hadn’t really listened to since middle school. And it wasn’t just my delirium that made me fall back in love with her music! I also felt a pang of desire to be part of that culture of friendship bracelets, and making the shape of a heart with your hands, and taking silly high school drama really seriously. And I had a newfound appreciation for the fact that she takes that shit really seriously, and wins Grammys for it, and gets fancy, dude-rock critics to take it seriously, too. Months later, I still listen to her music regularly because I just like it.

Some people argue that she’s just exploiting teen girl thoughtz, but from what I’ve read, I strongly believe she believes in everything she says and does, and it just happens to be really marketable. And she realizes that, and she is a smart businessperson. She’s the CEO of her own management company. Behind every pop star are tons of business and marketing-related decisions; I much prefer knowing that those decisions are primarily hers. AND I LIKE LISTENING TO MUSIC THAT MAKES ME FEEL UNIFIED WITH GIRLS ABOUT TO BE ACCEPTED INTO THE JEWISH COMMUNITY AS WOMEN. I WANT TO KNOW THE SONGS AT EVERY BAT MITZVAH. WHY DID I, AT THE AGE OF 12, DECIDE TO BE SOME SUPER BITTER ALTERNA CAT LADY?

DYLAN: Tavi, I relate so much to this anecdote. Enjoying pop music is a way to relate to a broader array of people. It gives me common ground with 11-year-olds and sorority girls alike, which is important in my quest to stay HIP with the YOUTH OF TODAY. An example: I was at a college party recently with a bunch of my art school friends. We wouldn’t have had fun at that party if we weren’t down to jam to some Ciara, even though we’re all pretty “serious” music fans. Had we been 2 cool 4 art school, we would have been bored, which is dumb, because why would you go to a party if not to have fun? This is my overall message here: BEING TOO COOL FOR FUN DOESN’T MAKE ANY SENSE. You’re doing fun wrong.

People are so protective of their pop-cultural identities, and I think when we’re teenagers—I can speak from my HIGH PLACE of adulthood, because I turned 20 a few weeks ago—we’re especially sensitive about defining our world by the music we listen to. It’s part of your identity, which is fragile and forming!! You can’t like something that disrupts the person you are trying to become. I was afraid that if I wanted others to recognize me as the underground kid in high school, I had to shut out everything mainstream, which left me feeling out of touch when I didn’t know the songs that were played at my junior prom, or when I couldn’t join in the hyper hysteria at my all-girls school after our teachers did a parody of “Party in the U.S.A.” So, essentially, my acceptance of pop music was also a lesson in learning how not to give a shit.

TAVI: Yeah, and when you’re forming that new identity, you want to shed everything you liked before. Beyoncé and Fergie and show tunes were basically what I listened to in elementary school, and then came middle school, and Across the Universe came out, and I was like OH SHIT, GOTTA PLAY IT COOL. Tell me, Dylan, when did you realize you loved pop music? Or rather, when did you decide to be more upfront about it instead of dismissing it as a guilty pleasure?

DYLAN: I’d say that I ditched the “guilty pleasure” disclaimer right before I went to college. I realized that, during a summer of SUPER EXCELLENT PARTY TIME, I couldn’t get jazzed to go out unless I listened to at least 30 minutes of the local pop station. Even if I was going to a punk show in a basement, I couldn’t summon the proper party vibes without a few minutes of Rihanna. My friends would make fun of me, but they eventually accepted it, because that’s what good friends do. I rely on pop music to achieve a particular feeling of enthusiasm and even silliness. It’s not an ironic love, which is stupid, and also, what does that even mean? It’s not like I’m snickering in the corner when I loop “Call Me Maybe” in the morning. I loop “Call Me Maybe” because it’s the jam. Obviously.

TAVI: Dude, I think we played “Call Me Maybe” and “Boyfriend” more than any other songs on the Rookie Road Trip. It was an amazing, emotional experience to listen to the Paris, Texas soundtrack while driving through the desert. But it was also an amazing, emotional experience to be with people I love, screaming the lyrics to a song that made us happy. And pop music can be just as emotional as any indie artist. I mean, ADELE, YOU GUYS.

I used to be so disappointed that our generation doesn’t have a distinct counterculture the way previous ones did—hippies and beatniks and grunge and all that. And in a way, the very first conception of a Rookie-type project came from wanting this. But it’s occurred to me since that these countercultures create their own limitations as well, and that’s when alterna-cool kids get scared of admitting to liking “Call Me Maybe.” Also, I much prefer what we have going on now—people just seem to like what they like! It’s not US vs. THEM, it’s not squares vs. drapes. There’s not a singular counterculture, there are just a bunch of subcultures, and the internet offers enough resources that you can basically find out about whatever you’re into. Plus, a lot of things I like also happen to be popular, and this doesn’t take away from what they mean to me, or the artist’s intent, or whatever. The Beach Boys are popular!

DYLAN: Sigh, I know. Our generation doesn’t have a defining subculture. But I’ve found a couple smaller ones I love, little pockets of awesome music and art that’s being made outside the mainstream. There’s this tiny garage rock scene over here, this underground hip-hop vibe over there, this basement DIY show somewhere else—and there’s some really fun crap on HOTT JAMZ FM, too. Being in tune with what’s going on with the masses is kind of a thrill—I got to be stoked when Miley revealed her haircut on Twitter, and ran out to see Part of Me in 3D once it hit theaters. This is what my culture has to offer me, you know? Not everything has to be so complicated.

TAVI: Why you hafta go and make things so complicated? FOR REAL. So Dylan, how shall we wrap this up? BE YOURSELF? LIKE WHAT YOU LIKE? THAT’S WHAT MAKES YOU BEAUTIFUL?

DYLAN: The coolest people I know are the ones who couldn’t care less about their personal cultural boundaries and just enjoy life and do whatever they want. They’re not too cool for anything, they’re cool enough for everything. That’s a much more exciting way to be. ♦


  • Serena.K October 11th, 2012 3:13 PM


  • DanaDragonfly October 11th, 2012 3:18 PM

    Amen and amen.

  • sequoia October 11th, 2012 3:18 PM


  • Yip October 11th, 2012 3:22 PM

    As always, great article.

  • Naomi Morris October 11th, 2012 3:27 PM


  • Flower October 11th, 2012 3:31 PM

    Um, thank you for invading my brain Rookie. I completely agree that when you’re whole identity is based on liking The Beatles (me) and then one day someone catches you listening to Taylor Swift and is all like WHAT HOW DARE YOU WHAT I never know wheather to just like what I like or just be a particular way.

    • anoziram October 12th, 2012 5:35 AM

      Holy crap yes. I love you.
      Its like, big deal! So what. I cant always be angsty, and I happen to think Taylor is adorable.
      Wha are you going to do- call down the wrath of The Smiths upon me?

  • mustachio October 11th, 2012 3:34 PM

    Oh my gosh my life! I used to take pride in the fact that I didn’t listen to “that” music but I was at a concert and Lil Wayne came on and I was like THIS IS MY NEW JAM END OF STORY. The Smiths are fantastic and Radiohead is awesome but sometimes you just need to turn on some Usher and dance like a lunatic.

  • Giulia Lain October 11th, 2012 3:35 PM

    This article is so good I don’t even know what to comment… omigod♥♥

  • maanan October 11th, 2012 3:35 PM

    Well said guys. I’m a 30 yr old woman who still listens to pop music (Taylor Swift, K pop)

    If your sense of self resides in other people’s perception of you, you’ve lost yourself. And other people’s mockery of your musical preferences speaks more of their closed mindedness and fragility than it does your tastes.

    ; )

    • anoziram October 12th, 2012 5:36 AM

      Hey I LOVE YOU.
      Thanks for being, like, a legit adult and reading this website.

      • Dylan October 14th, 2012 8:54 PM

        Hella luv 4 legit adultz

  • litchick October 11th, 2012 3:37 PM

    Agree, WHOLE-HEARTEDLY. :)

  • Isil October 11th, 2012 3:42 PM

    Well, in my opinion, people that considered “cool” shouldn’t care about somebody’s unfair opinions about them. You love popular music, you love Selena Gomez. GET OVER IT! Do not try to hide it, do not force yourself to not upload her songs on your ipod or watching her clips on youtube, when you hear one of her lovely songs when you’re shopping, dance! It’s much easier, and it’s much cool, live the moment people.

    With %80 possibility, when you confess to your “cool” friends that you like popular music, they could say “OMG, I like it too, but I’ve never said it because I thought you might not like it…” Because everyone likes popular music secretly. That’s why it is popular.

  • mariaantoniavs October 11th, 2012 3:49 PM

    SUPER BITTER ALTERNA CAT LADY ~best. I’ve always listened to classic rock, punk rock, heavy metal etc. but TAY SWIFT FTW!!!

  • Siiri October 11th, 2012 3:50 PM

    This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot! I mean what the hell, why should it be my most shameful secret that I love Lady Gaga and Beyoncé? Those ladies are full of SOUL. Once at this “alternative” club the DJ got mad at us when we asked him to play Rihanna. But they’re OK with playing Jay-Z or Destiny’s Child in a cool-retro-90′s -way. If that’s not hypocrisy, I don’t know what is.

  • chantal October 11th, 2012 3:56 PM

    This is what happens when people try so hard to be hipsters!

  • Taylor WM October 11th, 2012 4:09 PM

    This is honestly just like everything I could have ever wanted to think and say and figure out and just everything!! ahhhh.
    I like The XX and Grimes and Purity Ring, but also Taylor Swift, One Direction and Rizzle Kicks… I just want the ‘Best of Both Worlds’ really…
    Also, I think I may have just almost blown my laptop speakers by blasting out the Jonas Brothers (on loop)… 4 years is too long to be separated.

    Thank you Rookie and just wow at being able to put all my music culture wonderings into coherent form!

    • all-art-is-quite-useless October 12th, 2012 12:52 PM

      ohhh someone else who likes Purity Ring! this makes me happy because none of my friends like them…

  • NotReallyChristian October 11th, 2012 4:14 PM

    Now I feel bad, because I think I actually need a Kindle. I love books, so, so much – and that’s the problem! Seriously, you should see our house, there are books EVERYWHERE. The bookcases are so full we consider ‘gaps between furniture’ and ‘that pile on the floor’ totally legitimate places to store books … we have a problem. And so, much as I love real, paper-books, I think I need a Kindle before my family gets featured on Hoarders.

    • all-art-is-quite-useless October 12th, 2012 12:57 PM

      Me too, I think I’m in need of kindle before I’m involved in a tragic burying-beneath-hundreds-of-books accident. And plus, you can read books on kindle and continue to read paper books…

      • Resh November 2nd, 2012 5:24 PM

        I TOTALLY FEEL YOU GUYS!! I have a Kindle 4, it must be 5 months old now. I can tell you, it REALLY saved my life (Families don’t want to see “13-year-old dies drown in piles of books” in the newspaper headlines, right?). It does save a lot of space, and if you know how, it can save a LOT of money from you, your family, or whoever refills your bookcase every birthday. But -but- I started missing the thrill of reading my grandma’s old novels and the smell and colour of PAPER. I love my Kindle, but I’ll only read exclusively in it when its software includes smell, colour change within years and MEMORIES. Until then, My Harry Potter and Narnia collections will remain spotlessly there, in my shelf.

  • An October 11th, 2012 4:24 PM

    How do I listen to rap without feeling like a bad feminist???

    • Teez October 11th, 2012 5:47 PM

      why not try listening to some female rappers? i’m working on ones i like here if you like:

      otherwise don’t feel bad! you don’t have to agree with the message of a song to enjoy it. but if it really bothers you, i find that rap unlike genres, is quite easy to distinguish the misogynistic ‘bitches n hoes’ stuff from the more introverted or wordplay focused poets

      • Anna F. October 11th, 2012 7:45 PM

        Amen. To add onto what you said, I love this 2 disc compilation:

        It’s a great starting point if you’re not sure where else to begin!

      • Lascelles October 12th, 2012 6:10 PM

        How do you feel about Swift singing Lose Yourself, on stage with girls in the audience singing it too, when the song has the H word in it?

    • Naomi Morris October 11th, 2012 6:48 PM

      simple: A Tribe Called Quest
      “who would love a woman, turn around and abuse her?”

    • Anaheed October 11th, 2012 7:05 PM

      I echo what Teez & Naomi are saying, and just want to add that it’s not like most ROCK or POP music is so freaking feminist either, you know? I mean, a lot of our Rooks listen to One Direction and Bruno Mars and their lyrics are just as, er, ~problematic~ as anything else!

  • 9ql October 11th, 2012 4:31 PM

    On one hand I totally agree that everybody should be willing to own up to what they like! On the other hand, I just… genuinely don’t like Call Me Maybe, Taylor Swift, etc, and kinda wish I knew more people who like throwing dance parties to other things. I’m not just saying that to be cool! If I were saying that for hipster cred, I then wouldn’t admit to liking Coldplay. (I like Coldplay!)

    • Serena.K October 11th, 2012 6:19 PM

      i know what you mean, i sincerely don’t like those particular things either, and for reasons OTHER than “oh they’re so mainstream and popular and therefore they suck”. (but if someone else likes them, that’s fine too!) and like you, i dream of going to a dance party where the playlist is a little more varied and interesting than the same hits over and over again. however, that’s not to say i don’t like mainstream pop because um one direction are delightful not to mention ZAYN MALIK’S FACE YOU GUYS.

      but yeah, music taste is just that, TASTE. for the most part, you can’t really intellectualize WHY you like something, you just do! you’re just gonna like what you like and anyone who gives you shit for that is lame.

      p.s. i like coldplay too! can someone tell me why everyone likes to hate on them because they really aren’t particularly horrific and it confuses me???

  • Lurkingshadows October 11th, 2012 4:37 PM

    This is awesome. :) pop music can be great. My best example is Marina and the Diamonds. Marina Diamandis is absolutely fabulous.

  • posie.rose October 11th, 2012 4:43 PM

    As always, this is exactly what I needed to hear. Thanks, cool people! xoxo

  • RaineFall October 11th, 2012 4:46 PM

    YES! My ipod is a ‘mess’ because I enjoy listening to whatever I like. Why should anyone care if its The Smiths or Taylor Swift?

  • oleander October 11th, 2012 4:55 PM

    Ahahaha yesssssssss! Love this! Thanks Dylan, thanks tavi. X

  • Ella W October 11th, 2012 5:04 PM

    Totally agree with this!!! Just great you guys!

  • jessie77 October 11th, 2012 5:29 PM

    and yes i did stop and watch the call me maybe video in the middle and it was a beautiful 3 minutes and 25 seconds <3 love the article!!

  • Mads October 11th, 2012 5:35 PM

    THANK YOU. A few of my friends constantly “brag” of how they hate pop music… I’m sure they don’t hate it for any good reason other than that it’s mainstream.

  • bookworm123 October 11th, 2012 5:38 PM

    thankyouthankyouthankyou. I genuinely still love “Party In The USA”, but also have music on my iPod that my friends act all confused and “whoa lookit the hipstrrrr” about (not reeaally, but roll with me.)

    I just like lots of music, and popular music is popular because it’s fun!


  • portal October 11th, 2012 6:10 PM

    I totally agree with this completely. Just because someone likes something that is underground and unknown doesn’t make that him/her cooler than someone who likes popular music.

    There’s one thing that I want to ask about though, what’s wrong with having kindles instead of tangible books with paper? It makes reading easier since it’s portable and you can carry all your favorite books everywhere (*cough*Bossypants*cough*). I don’t think how you read is so important, as opposed to whether you DO read.

  • umi October 11th, 2012 6:12 PM


    i listen to a lot of hip-hop and people like to differentiate “hip-hop” and “rap”……so it’s weird to people that i like both nas and kanye west and jay-z and tribe called quest.i also love kpop and khip-hop ((((((khip-hop is my life tbh))))).

    this is a great article!!! and this is my pop jam

  • FlowerPower October 11th, 2012 6:28 PM

    I 100% wholeheartedly agree with all of you. Clearly we’re all on the same page. IT’S OK TO LIKE SOMETHING THAT’S POPULAR! So, when I read this conversation, a tough topic that I’m sure many of you face, popped into my noggin. The h word. It’s so frustrating , my friends always call me.. I hate saying or typing this word because I find it offensive .. “a hipster”. I have no interest in this word, and it pains me when people call me it. Yes, I want to be seen as a “unique individual”, I mean doesn’t everybody? We don’t want to be categorized or grouped, but rather seen as individuals. I tell them this, but they say” well look at your vintage clothes and your indie music”. BUT I LIKE POPULAR STUFF TOO, I plead! I guess they just don’t get it. Does anyone else find themselves in this sorta situation, and do you agree it KINDA SUCKS? Share your stories with me c:
    ~Caroline, a high school student~(… high school)

  • MissKnowItAll October 11th, 2012 6:48 PM

    Tavi, where’s the One Direction love?

  • Eleanor October 11th, 2012 7:08 PM

    THIS ARTICLE. i’m so gunna link my boyfriend to this article next time he tells me i’ve “changed” because i’m not listening to something like chocolate synthesizer or radiophonic workshop 24/7

  • Helenus October 11th, 2012 7:31 PM

    I think Andrew VanWyngarden said it best: “Indie is played out. You know, the Rolling Stones weren’t an indie band. ”

    Listen to whatever you want to, and don’t worry so much about

  • Helenus October 11th, 2012 7:32 PM

    I think Andrew VanWyngarden said it best: “Indie is played out. You know, the Rolling Stones weren’t an indie band. ”

  • clairee October 11th, 2012 7:34 PM

    Tavi. I love you. So much. I cannot express how happy this article makes me. I’ve been shouting this for so many years at all my hipster friends with their high falutin music tastes and trying to explain why I love JAMMING TO TSWIFT AND DEMI LOVATO in the car and they all say Claire, you’re dumb. This is everything I have ever said about why I love pop music. And I, like you, now unabashedly and vocally declare my undying love for Taylor Swift, because I don’t feel guilty about it anymore. Who gives a shit? Equally how I feel about Disney and romcoms and pop music and romance.

    Love you.

    Random question, if you so choose to answer, I get the argument a lot that Taylor Swift is terrible for feminism. Feminism being close to your heart, how do you respond?

  • Dylan October 11th, 2012 7:45 PM

    I recommend checkin out Tavi’s response to last week’s album recs, buried in the comments a little

  • lylsoy October 11th, 2012 7:57 PM

    There is a time for everything. There’s a time for Call Me Maybe and there is a time for Let it be, there’s a time for We found love and a time for MGMT, or sometimes Ilive Fleetwood Mac and in the next moment I just want to listen to GANGNAM STYLE

    • Dylan October 11th, 2012 8:18 PM

      That’s totally a Bible verse

      • Dylan October 11th, 2012 8:53 PM

        A time for war, a time for peace/
        A time for Grimes, a time for J Beibs

    • anoziram October 12th, 2012 5:38 AM

      I LOVE YOU

  • lizzzzy October 11th, 2012 9:11 PM

    I personally will never be able to listen to pop music with enjoyment again.. because I’m studying to be a sound engineer.

    Instead of, “wow this is catchy!” I think, “those guitars are out of phase, yikes!” :(

    • Lascelles October 12th, 2012 11:45 AM

      This is where talks like the article I’ve had end with me too. The music is just technically bad. I agree with Helenus in part too, this article compares older music, which was popular. It’s just old now. So, technically, you like the same kinda thing, just from a different time :D Anyway, short of telling someone to just learn to read music or even try to record something yourself to see how simple it is, I point to Axis of Awesome’s Four Chord routine. I am not a hipster, it just all sounds EXACTLY the same to me.

  • Ben October 11th, 2012 9:51 PM

    so i was on the bus with my friend and we where talking about homecoming and she said she didn’t really want to go because she dosen’t like the music they play (pop) so i was like “yeah, current pop isn’t all that great.” and then she said”like lady gaga and i was like “NO! she is not a good example of that!” and she was like “Ok, Brittany Spears”
    and i was like “she sang that song today in PE that i really liked and that motivated me” and she kept listing people and i was like “oh, i like them too” so i was like “ok i guess i really do love pop music!” she offered Justin Beiber and i was like “yeah i don’t like him” but i withheld the information i sometimes listen to boyfriend intentionally. I guess it was just all those comments on my fave YouTube videos from old people saying “current music sucks” and “where’s the real music?” or whatever and i internalized that or mistook it for my own opinion. then I went home and listened to the brittany spears playlist thing or whatever on YouTube because i felt i didn’t know enough of her songs.

  • vintagewhimsy October 11th, 2012 10:56 PM

    Thank you Rookie!! It can get so tiring trying to purposefully be different all the time, we just need to remember to like what we like because we like it!

  • Tavi October 11th, 2012 11:44 PM

    I’m so happy to see a resounding huzzah from my fellow Rooks. About kindles: I get that they help you read more, save paper, etc.! I was more making fun of my own nostalgia/cynicism about anything modern and how it gets in the way of stuff like READING or LIKING MUSIC which should be so simple.

  • mymlen October 12th, 2012 4:59 AM

    it’s like rookie is specially made for me; every fricken article appeals to me!
    i have the shangri-las, aerosmith, puscifer, lana del ray, one direction, bob dylan, the ronettes, amy winehouse and EVEN AN AKON SONG on my ipod. the last one is the most embarrasing, and also the reason why i do not lend my ipod to others

  • ivoire October 12th, 2012 5:27 AM

    hahahahahahaa i was an alterna-cool kid, like psshhhh last year.
    but now thankz to u guiz i can WAVE MY TAYLOR SWIFT PRIDE EVERYWHEREE. i mean 4 reals have you heard i knew you were trouble? it is SO GOOD.

  • zhajean October 12th, 2012 7:03 AM

    this is wonderful! i just thought of this thing recently and i’m really glad Rookie brought this up!


  • Old Child October 12th, 2012 7:48 AM

    OMG! Fantastic! Made me remember when I listened my Avril Lavigne records at school ant thought that I was alternative :D

  • Lascelles October 12th, 2012 8:33 AM

    “Our generation doesn’t have a defining subculture.”

    Yeah but I don’t blame the internet. I have a theory. I think it just ebbs and flows every ten or twenty years or so. 2000-2010 was like Disco in the 70′s. Now, a little better aka the 80′s as the artists figure something out but it’s really just a reaction. By 2020 music will be amazing like the 60′s and 90′s. Music in 2030 will REALLY suck though :D

  • Genevieve October 12th, 2012 9:47 AM

    I like pop sometimes, but if I think about it as I’m listening even for a moment, it drives me nuts. If I let my guard down, all I end up hearing are the same 3-5 chords in a row with a drum machine backbeat. Not to say I don’t like repetitive melodies–I love blues. But those folks play instruments and have solos! There are creative ways to be simple.

    (and “indie” bands don’t really push the limits on creativity, either. Endless cycles of acoustic guitar aren’t much better than fake percussion)

  • TheGreatandPowerfulRandini October 12th, 2012 12:03 PM

    Taylor Swift 4 lyf. Also Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes and First Aid Kit 4 lyf.

    • Loops October 13th, 2012 8:04 AM

      Edward Sharpe my man! 40 Day Dream is the shit.

  • Ree October 12th, 2012 5:49 PM

    Sometimes I feel like because I don’t really like One Direction and Taylor Swift (and I’m honestly not attempting to be ‘cool’ in any way, I just don’t get that music) people judge me for that too. If someone asks me what my favourite band is and I say Purity Ring, I get called a poseur or indie or a wannabe hipster.

    So I guess it can kind of work both ways.

    Just like what you like and let others enjoy their favourite genres too. Cool.

  • mayaautumn October 12th, 2012 5:59 PM

    yesyesyes. loving this article to the limit;D
    Taylor Swift is my fave. I’m reading an article about her at the mo actually (in Marie Claire magazine. i don’t usually buy it, it’s just Taylor was in it and….!)☼✮❛✼✧❥♡✷▵✼❜☼

  • Lucy October 12th, 2012 7:46 PM

    A lot of the time, I think, people don’t hate POPULAR music, they hate commercialised music, and there is a big crossover between the two. But besides just commercialised music, most current pop music, to me, genuinely is complete shit. There are like rules to it, every pop artist has to have a particular sort of singing voice. And because this style is the only one that a lot of people are listening to, my friends hear me listening to someone like Joanna Newsom, they can’t stand her voice.

    • Dylan October 13th, 2012 5:50 PM

      That distinction between popular music and commercialized music is interesting and definitely adds to our conversation…I would agree with you, that I’m talking more about pop music in terms of music made for mainstream consumption, sent and packaged to radio stations who are only allowed to play the top 40 songs of that time. There totally is plenty of music that has gotten POPULAR even when it wasn’t necessarily created to be commercialized. Or, like Tavi points about about Tay Swiftz, her message and aesthetic and music just so happens to be extremely marketable and commercially friendly, so that’s interesting to think about, too.

  • Loops October 13th, 2012 8:01 AM

    YESSS HIGH FIVE ELLIOTT SMITH LOVERRR! I think this article was extracted from the back of my brain – because this is a topic I think about constantly. I eat, sleep and breate Elliott Smith, Nirvana and the Beatles; but some techno really brings tears to my eyes. Fancy Footwork by Chromeo and Boomerang by 2005 have been my go-to feel-good songs for ages. I’m also really into “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” by Taylor Swift these days, which my OMG-HIPSTER best friend always patronises me for.

    Oh, and by the way, the Beatles’ music was POP! Proof that “pop” doesn’t mean “lame”, it just means “lots of people like this”.

  • Wallis Kate October 13th, 2012 8:02 PM


  • merikarhu October 15th, 2012 12:35 PM

    Oh my ! I’ve been making a playlist together with some friends and strangers. It’s in finnish, some of the songs are finnish too, but anyone can add music to this.

  • Isaidthison October 15th, 2012 7:15 PM

    ‘Call Me Maybe’ (and some K-pop) is what has helped me break the ice during those awk moments when you first meet someone and neither of you speak the others’ language fluently. Pop music: the international unifier.

  • FlorenceEyre October 21st, 2012 6:41 AM

    The best feeling ever: Walking down the street while listening to We are never ever getting back together. LIKE EVER!!!!!!

    My friends were laughing at me, because I started to listen to Taylor Swift and Call me maybe, and I think they should reat this article.

  • Scottin17 October 21st, 2012 11:22 AM

    I obviously agree with everything here, though I think the next stop is to admit and analyze how Pop music is NOT all simple and fun. My attraction to Pop music isn’t because I sometimes like to have fun and not have to think so much. I’m drawn the the sophistication of songwriting and production, which is, in my opinion, more consistently great than ‘indie’ music. This is a good step, but I think that the music writing world is getting closer and closer to really embracing Pop music as a serious artform.

  • Cutesycreator aka Monica November 2nd, 2012 12:57 PM


    Also, Dylan, that ice cream analogy is awesome!