Pop music is as inescapable in everyday life, as spilled beer at a Friday night frat party. It’s intentionally catchy hooks get stuck in our heads for days, weeks, or even months. I’ve had “Fuck You” by Cee Lo Green stuck in my head consistently since late August, and it still hasn’t gotten old. I just can’t get enough of those ooh-ooh-ooh’s! As much as we might love pop music however, there are a few things that make certain pop songs completely intolerable, or at least they should. Pop music is famous for shameless and unabashed promotion of talentless and annoying artists, as well as repetitive, effortless songs. Luckily, these particular songs are easily identifiable, due to a few specific music sins, which they are very often guilty of. Which sins you ask? Here is a list of five common traits that will make me hate a pop song instantaneously…or hate myself for secretly liking it:
I know it sounds cool, but seriously, when will the obsession end? Jay-Z declared it dead almost two years ago, yet somehow, it’s still getting artists into the Billboard Hot 100, seemingly by itself. What will it take to end this plague, people?! WHAT WILL IT TAKE?! Of course, without Autotune, how else would we have the pleasure of great musical talents like Kim Kardashian releasing singles? And if autotune magically disappeared, I’m pretty sure T-Pain would evaporate. Or implode.
2. The One Word/Phrase Chorus
We get it Lady Gaga. You were born this way. And Rihanna still has no idea what her name is. What is her name? She’d really like to know. And look at Chris Brown now. Look at him now! Look at him now! Anything else you’d like to say to us, pop stars? Really. Anything. If the chorus, the most repeated part of your song, isn’t more than three, one syllable words, you probably shouldn’t be writing music. Either that, or the writing team over at the studio needs to hire someone with a vocabulary.
3. Strangely Paired Collaborations
This is nothing new. Mick Jagger/David Bowie, Aerosmith/Run DMC. Pop stars are always up for a collabo if it means a new hit and a couple million bucks, no matter how awkward the combination is. If you had told Snoop Dogg ten years ago that he’d have a featured verse on a song called “California Gurls” by someone named Katy Perry, he would have laughed in your face (between bong rips). Now he’s just laughing all the way to the bank. Money’s cool, I get it. But isn’t it so much sweeter when you make money doing a song by yourself? Isn’t it?
4. Rebecca Black
5. The Socially Conscious Message Song
I’m sure pop artists care a lot about the Haitian earthquake, or the Japanese tsunamis and nuclear meltdown. But writing a song about it, usually through a poorly executed collaboration (see #3), isn’t going to do much about the actual suffering. Sorry Bono, even a song with Rihanna and Jay-Z won’t unbreak Haiti. You tried though.