Pop out of it: choose your own music

Karl Reimer shares his views on the positives and negatives of pop music.


Karl Reimer is the 2014 Opinions apprentice for The Chimes. | Olivia Blinn/THE CHIMES

Karl Reimer, Writer

If you tuned into a pop radio station within the past week, you were probably bombarded with a number of very popular but arguably overplayed songs.


Songs such as “Counting Stars” by OneRepublic or “Wake Me Up” by Avicii seem to play multiple times per hour on any given station. “The Monster” by Eminem and Rihanna makes its rounds regularly, while Pitbull and Ke$ha’s “Timber” has continuous attention from radio DJs.

However, it should be noted that there are some good pop songs that appeal to different types of emotions. “Pompeii” by Bastille speaks of the fear of boredom for a shy, self-conscious person. “Demons” by Imagine Dragons discusses the dark problems every person hides from others. And regardless of our views on Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ “Same Love,” which offers a perspective on homosexuality, we should respect them for broadening the scope of pop music.


What about the times in our lives when we are sad? — and not simply because our relationship just ended. What about the times when we feel injustice? What about the times when we are frustrated? And shouldn’t we be able to listen to positive pop music on a Tuesday morning without imagery of a Friday night party?

As individuals we should respect ourselves enough to feed our minds with a variety of music. Pop radio typically represents one kind of mood, and it generally revolves around love, partying and our generation’s token “live life to the fullest” approach.

I realize the purpose of a pop-ular radio station. People tune into these stations because they expect their favorite songs to play. I am also not agreeing nor disagreeing with the merits of the songs themselves. If a song makes someone happy or energizes him or her, that is a good, albeit not perfect, reason to listen to the song.

Yes, there are moments in our lives when we should set aside time to relax and simply have fun. But there are also many other important parts of our lives that should also be encapsulated in music.

Pop music does not need to remain the way it is. By definition, pop music is popular. That means we, the populace, decide what kind of music should be popular. And by effect, pop radio stations choose their music based on what people are willing to listen to.

I challenge you to turn off the radio if you are driving and a song you dislike comes on. Even if you like a song, be bold enough to listen to its lyrics and understand what is being sung about. And possibly, be bold enough to not listen to pop radio stations at all. Through the music we listen to, let’s broaden our view of the world.

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