Sasha Joseph



And one and two…Music Journalism

Evan Milton

Words: 1327

Rolling Stones

We all Have an Inner Bieber

Simple, one-dimensional, mindless, even gay are all adjectives synonymous with the pop genre. Pop, despite its prominence is still very much a misunderstood genre. Why is pop that guy everyone makes fun of at the party most of you thinking he’s kinda cool? This will tell you the answer to just that, as well as why you are scared to admit you like the same things to.

Of course like all genres there is not just one, but a multitude of categories in pop. While Justin Timberlake, The Black-Eyed Peas even Rihanna to an extent are all great pop artist. I’m looking to the more ‘girly’ (in terms of sound) pop artists/ bands. These would be the Katy Perry’s, Avril Lavigne’s and Brittany Spears of the world. As well as the even more ‘poppy’ artists such as Selena Gomez & The Scene, Taylor Swifts, Hillary Duff (when she still sang), Hot Chelle Rae and just in case you thought I’d forget, the Bieber. When I refer to pop, I will be referring to them. These artists and the type of music they make are readily made fun of at every available opportunity especially by guys during and after their teenage years.

While I am not claiming that all pop songs are God’s gift to music, believe me, I’ve heard my fair share of shockingly bad pop songs. I’m also not stating that everyone love’s or even likes pop. I’m just saying that pop is unjustifiably mocked, with snide comments and jokes about the genre being the order of the day. Even when you type “Why pop music is so” into Google, the word “bad” follows as the first suggestion. This is simply a travesty.

This negative mindset really is a strange one. As I know that we have all, yes even you, sang along to the radio or even sang softly to yourself a famous pop song, whether it be Hit Me Baby One More Time or even the face cringingly annoying Barbie Girl by Aqua, these songs manage to get stuck in your head like nobody’s business. If these songs are so catchy and have a lyrical flow which keeps you singing the same line over and over again, surely more people must like it them

While I was confident that many people who said they hated pop really didn’t hate it all that much, this study I found further backed me up. I will just give you are brief summary and leave out the miniature as not to bore you, but it went as follows.

Scientists scanned various individuals in a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanner. These participates included both guys and women with ages ranging from 12-39. Whilst in the MRI scanner they were played various unheard of pop songs which were similar in style to that of Taylor Swift’s and Justin Bieber’s , their brainwaves recorded at the same time. They then surveyed the participants afterwards. What was particular surprising was that in most of the guy’s surveys, what their brainwaves indicated did not reflect how they answered the survey. The simplicity present in most pop which many condemn whilst perched on their high horse is actually a good thing. You see, our minds enjoy predicting things, such as the patterns of melodies.  When we predict a certain melody and it occurs we get a rush of dopamine, which makes us feel happy. Pop, with its simplistic yet ‘fun’ beats does this better than most if not all other genres. It is more difficult for our minds to listen and then predicted more complicated sounds or music. However, many still said they didn’t like the pop music which was played, with some even checking the ‘hate’ box, despite their brainwaves singing to a different tune. Whilst I’m not trying to blind you with science like that chick did to Thomas Dolby, this shows that the moment people hear a song which sounds like pop or like those from the aforementioned artists they will say it’s not for them even if they enjoyed it.

What occurred in the study was a mainly male phenomenon and not to get to anthropology –like, but this could possibly be a reason why. Being ashamed of liking pop music has roots as far back as the hunter/gatherer days of humanity .Before you condemn this statement just listen. Masculinity is a big thing for most males, proving that you are Mr. Strongbones is very important to most guys, and rightfully so. Previously, before advanced technology and all that, in a time when the hunters were scrapping it out for food to survive, being strong meant you were more likely to get said food and survive. It was not only about actually being strong, but more relevantly about being perceived as being strong.  Being perceived as strong by women would increase your chances of ‘’getting it in’ with them, the more women the more children, which in turn results in more hands to catch food and survive longer. Whilst the continuing of lineage and making as many children as possible is not as important today, that need to be seen as masculine, is still there. Showing your ‘manliness’ to fellow females is rated as very important. Particularly in high school where pop music is probably the most condemned for guys.  Leading to you being ashamed of openly admitting you like pop music. A music which generally has high pitched female- like vocals, even in all boy bands, and ‘fun’ beats as it definitely doesn’t epitomize masculinity.

The level of commercial success the pop industry manages to achieve shows that although some might not want to admit it, they do want it in their life, even if it’s just in small doses. Like you learnt in primary school it’s all about demand and supply. Any business venture, in this case pop music/industry, will fail unless there is a need for it. The higher the demand the more it will be supplied to keep up with that demand. Even the strongest opposes would agree that there is a high supply of successful pop artists so there must be an equal or greater demand for them for them to achieve that success.

In addition, I also asked people what exactly they didn’t like about pop, as I attempted to delve deeper into the issue.  The response I was frequently met with also regarded the industry. Many of them said that the reason they were against it is because of how the genre operates. They detested the superficial money making machine that is pop record labels. In which the record companies are solely looking for people who are marketable (read: physically attractive) that they can make a lot of money out of, regardless of the music. This view, while containing some truth is not correct.  Sure, Justin Bieber  is not a train wreck in the looks department and I’m sure this does his record sales no harm, but is music really that horrible, really?  The constant jokes people make about both him and the genre is quite excessive. The fact of the matter is, love him or hate him, he has talent. You don’t believe me; take a look on Youtube if you want to bear witness to his vocal prowess. This paragraph is specifically looking at those I spoke to who shout at the top of their lungs “It’s all about the music”, if you are basing your opinion on the industry and the artist, it’s clearly not.

I hope I just shed some light on the misunderstood nature of both pop music and the pop industry. Made you feel a bit safer revealing your inner Bieber if you have one (which you most likely do) or that my hunter/gatherer speech at least explained perhaps why you feel the need to hide it. For those who genuinely, and I mean genuinely don’t like pop, you just wasted your time reading this feature.