We’ve all been there. A friend recommends a new pop song to you. You listen to it and the next thing you know- You’re obsessed with it. You play it on repeat for days and wouldn’t listen to anything else. Until, of course- there’s another song that’s even catchier. But, I’m sure you didn’t check out what the song is about or what are they actually singing, or what meaning are they providing, right? Is that entertainment really worth?

But, as long as pop music makes you feel good, you don’t care- right? It certainly doesn’t matter if pop comes with a generous filling of vulgarity, right? It is okay to listen to vulgar pop tunes. Is it?

I got a notification on my phone, some five months ago. “Storage space running out – some systems may not work.” I was annoyed, but I shouldn’t have been very shaken by that after all. There were piles of junk in my phone. And did I even mention my music folder? I had about 800 songs in my storage. 

Neon sign

After a lot of brainstorming, I came to the conclusion that I was going to bail on my music. I loved all my soundtracks dearly, but the PDF files were important, images were important (because of the gram) and I really didn’t want to look at my emails that day. So, I deleted all my music.

My music consisted of Shawn Mendez, The Chainsmokers, Daya, Khalid, Ariana Grande, One direction (Don’t get excited- I’m not a fan anymore), Taylor Swift, Adele, Ed Sheeran, Shakira and so many other people. You know the list. I really loved these stars, to be honest. I felt like I knew them. they were around me pretty much all the time because I’d have them on my speaker, in my earphones, playing loud and clear Like, we all do, right?

Surprisingly, after I deleted these songs, I didn’t really feel the need to have them back into my phone somehow. Listening to them got less frequent over time. I didn’t know why. That got me thinking.

Then, I did some research.

“Whether you hate it, or you love it- there is no denying that pop songs are catchy. The familiarity and low complexity of pop music is also the greatest factor of it being catchy. This was identified by David Susiman in his book Selling Sounds where he mentions that “simplicity and familiarity were vital”.

“Whether you hate it, or you love it- there is no denying that pop songs are catchy. The familiarity and low complexity of pop music is also the greatest factor of it being catchy.

“The Earworm Project, a survey at the Goldsmiths, University of London was carried out on 3,000 people found that 3 of the top ten most catchy songs were by the pop singer Lady Gaga. Her song Bad Romance was the song that was named the most catchy by over 37 participants. A reason for this, the study suggests is that the song features unforgettable segments that get stuck in people’s heads, but maintains the familiarity for people to have a good initial impression.”

Boy band One Direction performing on a stage

“When the songs are just that catchy- the lyrics and specific words used can have a huge impact on the listener- whether or not they like the song. If the music industry wants you to hear a song, they will do everything that they can to make sure that it is playing every few minutes. Spotify will add it to playlists with more followers, YouTube will constantly “recommended” the song to listeners, radios will play the song with a larger frequency and even retail stores such as Zara or H&M will play it more while you shop.”

Source: Check out this article

And here’s a little more research:

“Let’s first consider the evidence. Lior Shamir at Lawrence Technical University gathered the lyrics of 6,150 Billboard Hot 100 singles from 1951 to 2016 and fed them to an algorithm. The software had been previously trained to identify linguistic markers of different emotional states and personality traits – including sadness, fear, disgust, joy, and extraversion. And although a computer will clearly miss some of the nuances of complex lyrics, its assessments do tend to agree with human judgements.”

A play of emotions

“It correctly identified that the dominant emotion in Bonnie Tyler’s hit Total Eclipse of the Heart, for instance, was ‘sadness’, with a score of 0.51 (out of 1) for that emotion. The Village People’s YMCA, meanwhile, scored 0.65 for ‘joy’, and Queen’s We Will Rock You scored a whopping 0.85 on the scale of ‘extraversion’ – which sounds about right for the rockers’ stomping bravado. The average tone of joy in Billboard Hot 100 song lyrics has dropped to an all-time low.”

“Shamir then averaged the scores for each year and examined how they changed over time. The results were striking. Expressions of anger and disgust roughly doubled over those 65 years, for instance, while fear increased by more than 50%.”

“Remarkably, today’s songs are even more aggressive and fearful than in punk’s heyday. One probable reason for this is the growing influence of rap music, which, like punk, has reflected social unrest and feelings of disenfranchisement. Sadness, meanwhile, remained stable until the 80s, then steadily increased until the early 2010s, while joy, confidence and openness all steadily declined.”

“You see a very consistent, very clear change that lyrics become angrier, more fearful, more sad, and less joyful,” Shamir says. “There are very substantial differences between lyrics in the late 50s compared with lyrics in 2015 and 2016.”

Click here to read related articles.

After I got to know about this, I started to be very selective about the pop I’d listen to. We often go with the beats and the way it makes us feel good, but there’s so much to good music than that. 

So, here are my top reasons not to listen to pop music ALL THE FREAKING TIME:

1- Lack of Creativity: If you’re a fan over the years, you’ll realize this. Most pop singers almost go with the same rhythm pattern. Aside from catchy tunes, it is the same kind of music. And deep inside, we’re all tired of this. And science has this backed up by research. A study showed that pop listeners usually have a lack of artistic creativity. In comparison, listeners who listen to other genres of music have better sense of creativity. I’m not saying pop isn’t creative. But, we have to expose ourselves to ALL the food on the table.

2- Bad lyrics: Let’s start with the sick boy from The Chainsmokers. I feel like this guy loves getting some self pity by complaining that everyone calls him sick (in a bad way for the most part). And then he also destructively enjoys calling himself sick.

If you’re into meditation, you know that ‘I AM’ is the most powerful sentence. “I am the, I am the, I am the sick boy. I am the, I am the, I am the sick boy”. You see? It is just another form of planting negative affirmations into oneself. That’s how pop destroys us.

You could also do an exercise where you take a song and note down the number of f**** in the lyrics. F culture is pop culture and surprisingly, no one finds it abnormal these days. Other songs like”I’m a mess” by Bebe Rexha is clear evidence this. It is telling of thow they want to drill ill and depressing self images. Slowly fashioning negativity into our subconscious minds whilst covering it with good tunes. Stupid messages like, “I was busy thinking about boys!” Girl, no one cares if you’re thinking about your neighbor’s new horse or about boys!

3- Highly Sexually Explicit: You know how most songs in the popular playlists on Spotify have that little ‘E’ in a grey box? That’s explicit. It’s evident that pop singers clearly have more modelling talent than singing talent. Their music videos are very vulgar and a generation like ours is happy to accept it without realizing that these videos play over all YouTube homepages, even for a 10 year-old. Everyone is hooked up on smoke or drugs or getting wasted in a motel that’s lit neon pink and purple. Or in a bar that has skinny girls dancing around the place. Think about the level ‘music’ has dropped down to. 

4- Wrong Role Models: When you’ve Lady Gaga on your mind and in your playlist the entire day, you’re not settling until you have her in your Google newsfeed. You want to know where she goes for breakfast and dinner, you have to know who she dated and you follow her Instagram so you know what she wears.

Then you do something that’s stupid. Guess what? You IMITATE her. If she smokes, you start smoking. If she eats more junk food, you don’t want to eat daal chaaval at home anymore. And it’s not always on our conscious level. You don’t really even know how looking at their lives can manipulate yours. Please keep these folks in their own air and don’t mingle with them to the point of hating your beautiful life.

Girl playing the ukulele

5- Wrong beauty standards: It’s not natural that we girls want to be thin and tall and fair with long brown hair and dipped in makeup. It wasn’t this way from the beginning. There’s a place where that came from. I’m guessing it could be Bollywood or Hollywood or you know, Pop culture.

Please don’t hate yourself for not fitting into narrow and highly limited beauty standards. God delights in you just the way you are. Whatever shows up in those music videos isn’t real. Don’t convince yourself to become somebody else because of these singers who appear to be living perfect lives. Their lives aren’t full of happiness and perfection all the time. Like I said before, you don’t have to imitate these people.

6- It is not about the music: I, in all honesty think that the pop culture is more like a comfort zone for these young, average singers waiting to get famous without effort. Most people really, in this place have no great talent that soothes or creates something beautiful. It’s just that they sell a very attractive version of themselves by doing fancy words into some regular and highly common dopaminergic beats. It’s not a great deal what they’re doing so you don’t have to be obsessed with them. Get over it. Sorry not sorry.

7- It’s almost always about “LOVE”: The youth of today have pop on their phones popping all day long. And it’s no secret every one of us desires to have a romantic partner really very early in life. I’m not blaming the algorithm of mating and continuing the human race. But I’m sure that the music we listen to, has a definite and mostly, a direct impact on our emotions.

All these songs sure do contribute to the way we think about love. Then, we get all sentimental and now, we want someone to date too. We want to be holding hands and kissing someone too. It’s just that we’re getting manipulated in a very ignorant setting. These young singers talk about love and we couldn’t relate more, right? The truth is it’s only an attraction that everybody talks about. And we’re fools that play sad and heartbreaking pop songs when we’re feeling low. The problem of the singer actually feels like your problem and now it’s a whole sad band right there.

8- The meaning of Love is destroyed: I’ve seen so many songs that talk about love, like I said before, and it looks like a song that could be played at your BFF’s wedding dance. But, the video is only about two random people hooking up together after a party and that’s it. You see, it’s so much different than what we, as Christians are taught about love in Church. If you love somebody for a lifetime, you don’t plan to take them to a hotel room when you first meet them. Seeing a difference? Love is so much more than these limited idea pop stars portray.

Ask Jesus about love, not some stupid pop star. 

There’s more to life than Pop Music. Other genres include Jazz, Opera, Country music, Classical Indian, Instrumental, Gospel music and many others. (I prefer the last two).

Ask Jesus about love, not some stupid pop star.  Click To Tweet

What’s your kind of music?

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