Thursday, August 2, 2012

(Almost) Everybody Loves Pop Music.

It all started innocently enough. As I herded my girls into the car, ready for another (long) day of chauffeuring their lucky behinds to various summer camps and sports/music practices, I announced that I had downloaded a new song onto my iPod. This is a fairly unusual event, because I am pretty lost when it comes to new music. I just recently realized that I kind of like Kings of Leon. They are probably broken up by now. At least I actually have an iPod, and not just a Walkman (although I do still own boxes and boxes of tapes.) I was very excited about my new musical acquisition, and couldn't wait to share.

N: You downloaded a song? Really? What song? 
D: You better not have used the iTunes cards we got for our birthday.

After assuring them that no, I bought the song WITH MY OWN MONEY, thank you very much, I turned up the volume.

N: YOU DOWNLOADED THIS SONG???? WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOU? ARE YOU TWELVE?? (No, and you aren't twelve either. Not for another two years.)

D: MOM! UGH! Turn it off!!! It's too...bouncy! UGH! STOP!!!

And on. And on.

The offending song would not be a surprise to anyone that knows me well. (Ok, ok. I will admit it. "One Thing" by One Direction. Happy? Yes! Laugh! I'm used to it.) What can I say? I am an enigma. I gravitate toward darkness. I cried through The Dark Knight Rises. I YouTube the saddest parts of my favorite (sad) movies when I need catharsis (Look! It's Katherine dying in a cave while the Count walks across the desert, trying to save her! It's Harry, besieged by the spirits of loved ones who perished trying to save his ass! It's Viola saying goodbye to Will  before she is shipped off to the Americas!). A lot of times, the music I like induces suicidal ideation. I really do like a lot of different things, and am partial to moody singer/songwriters, loud rock, and Motown. But! The music I truly love, more than anything in the world, is pop (with a special place in my heart for boy bands.)

I don't know why. I can't explain it. Anyone who scrolls through my iPod is usually horrified ("Debbie Gibson?? WTF!???!!). I don't care. I really don't. It is cheesy, and horrible, and absolutely wonderful. My cooler friends shake their heads, perplexed. One of my younger brothers, an architect who gets to spend a lot of time discovering new music WHILE WORKING, is  thoroughly disgusted by me. "You don't even try!!" he laments. (Ok, Mr. Bel Biv Devoe. You weren't always listening to obscure Icelandic bands.)

Pop music, particularly recent stuff, is pretty formulaic. Just ask the Spanish National Research Council, which, in a recent study,  discovered the genre was too loud and all sounded the same. If that's what their scientists are working on, no wonder the Spanish economy is in the toilet. But I digress. "One Thing" does sound just like the 90's staple "I Want it That Way" by Backstreet Boys. But there is something comforting about that formula to me, something never-endingly endearing about the inane lyrics and catchy beats, something to while away the time and make you forget, just for a moment, that wars are being fought, most of us will never have the body of an Olympic athlete, and that people are using fried chicken as a metaphorical symbol of the decline of western civilization (Chicken as Text. As if I don't have anything else to worry about.) 

So I will soldier on. I'm counting on my children to introduce me to new musical horizons, eventually. I only hope they won't disown me before then. No matter. Juice Newton will comfort me in my perpetual state of uncoolness.