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. 


  1. Well, you're way ahead of me. My children tell me that my iphone is wasted on me - I download nearly nothing. Like you, though, I "likes what I likes" and while it's not pop music, it doesn't get much air time with anyone else at my house. Folk. Yes, Folk Music. I know - very lame....or so I've been told.

  2. I like Kings of Leon also but can definitely live without the Backstreet Boys.

  3. My iPod has bagpipes and Jimmy Buffett. You're not the only one who has to listen to complaints. Why we teach kids to talk is beyond me.

    Once again, a most interesting song list.

  4. Babe, I laughed out loud more than once reading this. Love the opening dialogue I thought, especially, but then I kept reading and pictured your cool architect bro rockin' out to BBD and I just fell in love with your words all over, again.

  5. End of the road was one of favorites. The kids won't understand us because they belong to a different era.

  6. I don't even have an mp3 player. I do know Kings of Leon. Are they considered lame? I kind of like them.

  7. Hey, I hadn't realized you're blogging again (are you? ha ha!) Anyway, this post just reminded me of this last weekend when I went to Indy to meet my husband and I played "Indianapolis" by Menudo in honor of the city that was offering us shelter. My husband was frowning every time I played the song, but by the end of the trip he was humming and singing the chorus: "Indianapolis, Indianapolis..."

    A job well done, don't you think? ;-)

    Lovely conversation with your daughters. Doesn't it suck when they start thinking they're cooler than their moms?

  8. Oh! I Think We're Alone Now! I LOVED that song, and it's on my Guilty Pleasures playlist...which is right above my Music To Slash Your Wrists To playlist... And I listen to anything and everything. Who wants to waste energy keeping up with trends? That's way too hard!

    Next time you're over at my blog, I've tagged you in The Next Big Thing meme.

  9. Maggie, hope you are ok, you have gone quiet, hope you are happy and busy. I have a weakness for Take That, which my boys find beyond embarrassing. Blightyxx

  10. Blighty! Thank you so much for your concern. I have been busy, mostly, with other things, but I think I have to come back to this...well, very very soon. xoxoxoxo

  11. Hi, I came across your site and wasn’t able to get an email address to contact you about a broken link on your site. Please email me back and I would be happy to point them out to you.



  12. Gahhhh! You know how many years I have attempted to track you down? I am so glad to see you are still writing. That UT Austin High School Journalism Camp we met@paid off huh? :)

    1. KAREN?? As in, San Angelo Karen????? WHAT!! I was totally thinking about you just this last week! How crazy!! Send me a private message so I can give you my real email. xoxoxoxo