When people ask me what my tastes in music are, I usually give them the abridged version. I reel off a sampling of artists that make me seem like a diverse listener, which I am. Growing up with parents that were music teachers helped me cultivate an appreciation for artists ranging from Billy Joel to Mozart to Frank Sinatra to Journey at a pretty young age.
I’m also incredibly impressionable. My love for the Goo-Goo Dolls, Keane, Radiohead, Ben Kweller and Michael Bublé stemmed from a smattering of burned CDs my older brother gave me for Christmas one year. My little brother made me listen to the album “Only by the Night,” last May and I have been nursing an obsession with Kings of Leon ever since.
The one genre I exclude when telling people what kind of music I like, though, is pop music – top 40, hear-it-on-the-radio, frothy pop.
It all started with Britney Spears. Her album “…Baby One More Time” was the first CD I purchased on my own. I was in elementary school at the time, and I had planned the purchase for weeks. I had seen previews of the infamous schoolgirl music video and instantly loved the song.
I still remember how my older brother mocked me when I got back into the car after buying the Britney Spears CD at Best Buy. My mom reprimanded him, but I couldn’t care less. It was mine, and I had bought it all on my own.
For a while, liking Britney Spears and similar pop artists was socially acceptable. Then I hit late middle school, the time in adolescence when everyone desperately tries to be unique while simultaneously fitting in. Britney was out and Blink 182 was in.
I indulged my love for pop privately. I would watch VH1 early in the morning while eating breakfast and listen attentively to the radio on the bus ride to school. I’ll be the first to admit the Britney Spear’s documentary “For the Record” made me tear up.
Despite my longstanding love for the genre, it wasn’t until I came to college that I realized just how useful it could be. I quickly realized that any academic task is far more exciting and tolerable when I’m listening to upbeat, kicky music.
Pop music is equally helpful in the office and at the gym. Listening to Lady Gaga reference “disco sticks” and Flo Rida describe “apple-bottom jeans” feels a lot less perverse when I’m running on the treadmill as opposed to sitting in a cubicle.
Plus, during a 30-minute abs class that is kicking both my abs and my ass, there is really something inspiring about hearing Kesha’s autotuned voice tell me she woke up feeling like P. Diddy.