The Journey of Hate-Liking a Pop Song

the-history-of-pop-music I used to be defiant against pop music. I know--me? Defiant? But I was. Y'all, I'm not proud of it, but there was a time in my life in which I wore a choker with a guitar pick on it. I listened to Good Charlotte and Simple Plan. I didn't dress in all black, but I did refuse to listen to anything that was on top 40 radio. Except Avril Lavigne, because in my head she was this cool rocker chick, even though she actually was a pop star, and therefore played on the radio. Let's just be honest. There is nothing rock and roll about "Complicated," okay?

Anyway, all this to say even though I rocked out pretty hard to some pop-punk that could hardly be considered edgy, I refused to acknowledge that songs like "Toxic" were catchy. But in my defense, according to the internet, top songs in 2004 also included things like "Milkshake," Hilary Duff and Ashlee Simpson. So y'know. I didn't have a lot to work with.

My last year of high school and into college I learned to accept that some songs, however popular, are just darn catchy. Sometimes you find yourself belting "Just Dance" in your car. Whatevs. No judgement.

Even though nowadays I am fairly "come one, come all" with pop music, I still often find myself in a state of defiance against certain songs. You've been there, right? Either they're just not good quality, or they're packed with sleezy lyrics, or you have a thing against the artist…you just don't like the song and decidedly never will.

I'm here to tell you that you will eventually like that song.If you never hear it again, that's one thing. But if it's as widespread as all of the other junk that's out there on the radio, you WILL hear it again whether you like it or not. In a store at the mall. On a commercial. On an audition for The Voice.

It will come back. And you will succumb to it.

Let me map out for you the stages of how it will happen:

  1. First listen - you hear the song for the first time. You wrinkle your nose. "Ugh, I hate this," you declare, and you either change the channel or finish it out to give it a fair shot and close out of YouTube.
  2. It starts popping up everywhere. On the radio. In your Twitter Feed. On TV. Where is it coming from? You groan every time it comes on. "I hate this song!" you exclaim. Everyone thinks you're dramatic, but you don't care. This song is the worst and we shouldn't be subjected to it.
  3. You catch yourself humming along to the song subconsciously while driving. You didn't notice it had come on while you were trying to figure out how to get to that restaurant for your friend's birthday, but now it's two minutes in and you're...SINGING IT? You realize this, then quickly gasp and let out an "ugh!" dripping with shame and anger before turning the channel.
  4. You've begun thinking twice before turning the channel when it comes on. You reach for the presets out of instinct, but you decide against it. You might bob your head a little bit. Sing along to parts of the chorus. You start hating yourself a little bit inside for giving way.
  5. You suddenly realize you know all the words to the first verse and the chorus. What is happening to you? The song comes on and your heart flutters a bit. You haven't heard it in a few days and you refuse to download it out of principle, so you throw caution to the wind and belt it out in your car. No one is there to see your utter betrayal of convictions anyway.
  6. You see that you must now make a choice. You either like this song enough to admit it--even download it, or you go back to refusing to listening to it. If you truly don't like it, that is. Which you don't. Right? But you can't just never listen to it again. You would miss it. Why? That's right, because you, dear one, LIKE. THIS. SONG. Now hang your head in shame and walk to your computer, pull up iTunes and hit "purchase," because you have just been seduced by a pop song.

This has happened to me on several occasions. And since I have historically been unwilling to swallow my pride when it comes to these things, I typically just go on acting like I still don't like it when really my heart is changing. This continues until I can no longer deny it and I either have to cave and download it or just shrug and sing along in the car, because at this point, I know all the lyrics.

[True story: my husband once gifted me a song on iTunes so I wouldn't have to abandon my principles and download it myself. I'm not saying I'm proud of it. But I am saying my husband humors my insanity, which makes him the greatest.]

Has this ever happened to you? If so, what song? I'll go first: this has happened so many times, but "Super Bass" by Nicki Minaj is the first one that comes to mind. I can now rap the entire thing. And I love it.