Pop music is the pariah of the music industry. Audiophiles and casual listeners alike turn their noses down with snobbish dismissal on those who say they only listen to Z100, or who unironically enjoy One Direction. Although there are exceptions, a love of pop music is often closeted. The ones who casually name drop Tchaikovsky or proclaim their love of Led Zeppelin can also go home and listen to Taylor Swift as their guilty pleasure. Pop music is often sniffed at because, as its title suggests, it is popular. The unoriginality that stains the reputation of the genre is both what makes it so popular and what causes its dismissal. The similar structure and beats that categorize most pop songs are what makes them catchy, and what makes them repeat over and over in our heads. However, those with in-depth music knowledge denounce it due to its predictability and lack of artistry. Most music genres, including rap and classic rock, have an underlying repetitive structure, but pop music’s is the most tiresome.
If Nickelback is ever mentioned, it is often accompanied by snickers and a derogatory comment about soul patches. Nickelback filled the stereotype of early 2000s so well, that they became fun to dislike. At this point, there are people who hate Nickelback just because everyone accepted that Nickelback should be disliked. Music has turned into something that defines an entire person.
No musical taste is immune from ridicule, however. Classical music can be regarded as bland and pretentious, rap as “not real music,” and rock as “noise”. People also go the other way and give a person merit for liking similar music tastes as themselves. It’s not uncommon for people to pretend to like certain music to impress people. It’s like ordering black coffee to seem impressive: you can stand it, but it’s really not your favorite. Unfortunately, with music shaming, comes an unwillingness to try new things. People may be closed off to certain artists because they have assumptions about the genre. Someone who loves the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin could just as well love Taylor Swift, but they may not give her a chance because of a premature judgement.
Graphics: Jessica Chang