Pop music is a national epidemic

Pop music can be dangerous to one’s eclecticism and perception of genuineness.

by Mat Koehler

The state of current popular music is so terrible, sometimes I wish I was one of the insipid suckers who didn’t know any better than to listen to the crap. However, I am plagued with enough common sense to see that pop music isn’t a type of music at all, rather an image that is marketed through television and radio – in that order. Video really did kill the radio star, and now everyone is in danger of musical monotony.

Billboard’s list of the top 100 songs parallels MTV’s hottest videos of the moment. Album sales rise and fall with the popularity of artists’ music videos. Rarely will you see a top song go without an accompanying video.

This outrageous attitude toward music creation is just as harmful to Americans as, say, fast food. Allowing your favorite music to be fed to you via the pop charts is like getting morbidly obese because you enjoy the convenience of McDonald’s. Both industries know their products are bad for the public, but they’re making an enormous profit, so clearly they’re not going to stop.

So, like the two girls who sued McDonald’s for making them dangerously overweight, I’d like to sue the recording industry for making music a meaningless, commercial fad. The plaintiffs can be anybody, but I’d like to personally recommend my nieces, who use MTV as their mentor.

What would be the evidence, you ask? Pick a song on the Billboard charts, and you’ve got a case. I suggest going straight to the core of pop music, 50 “Fiddy” Cent. This guy got popular on some of the worst songs ever. This year, his big hit song is called “Candy Shop,” which you might have heard a few years ago when it was “Magic Stick.” Same song, different stupid lyrics.

Unfortunately, it gets worse. His latest song, currently third on the Billboard charts, makes me want to take on 50 Cent’s “hardcore” crew myself. The song, “Just a Lil Bit,” is conclusive proof that the promising styles of rap and hip hop are being toppled by image as well. Its worthless lyrics contain this wonderful rap, repeated a billion times:

“All (I) really need is a lil bit/Not a lot baby girl just a lil bit/We can head to the crib in a lil bit/I can show ya how I live in a lil bit/I wanna unbutton your pants just a lil bit/Take ’em off and pull ’em down just a lil bit/Get to kissin’ and touchin’ a lil bit/Get to lickin’ and (expletive deleted) a lil bit.”

Creator 50 Cent ended every line of this masterpiece’s hook with the same phrase. As you probably guessed, this song only became popular because its video features plenty of booty and plays a hundred times a day.

With this one example, I think I’d have a pretty strong case. But the most important thing, as with the McDonald’s suit, is creating awareness. Just as the Department of Health declared obesity a national epidemic, the public should be warned that pop music can be dangerous to one’s musical eclecticism and perception of genuineness. Maybe then people will see there is a quality of music that goes beyond image and fame – good music has soul, life and challenges its audience.

I can’t argue with the fact that some people seriously like pop music, but I can, at least, encourage them to turn off the radio and television and try something new. If anybody needs suggestions, I’d be more than happy to help via e-mail.

I’ll be waiting for 50 Cent’s desperate plea for help as well.

Mat Koehler welcomes comments at [email protected]