The Parthenon

Why are we ashamed to get down to this. sick. beat?

Editorial

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Unless you have been living buried under a rock with no Internet or media connection whatsoever, you know about the Monday release of Taylor Swift’s fifth album “1989.” Easily the strongest of her career, the album features a strictly pop sound, something new and unexpected from the typical country-pop crossover of Swift’s older music.

As with any largely popular and well-marketed product that manages to reach the level of publicity Swift’s album has, it has garnered its fair share of criticism. Nearly all critics have raved about “1989,” calling it “a mode of timelessness that few true pop stars … even bother aspiring to,” (New York Times) and “deeply weird, feverishly emotional, wildly enthusiastic” (Rolling Stone).

But so many of the reviews — typically those by individuals rather than media entities — have expressed listeners’ shock at how exceptional they found the album. Several commenters on Twitter used phrasing describing “1989” as “actually impressive” or making noncommittal statements like “Alright T. Swift… Nicely done. #thewholedamnalbumisgood” or “You know what I like Taylor Swift’s song.”

People are reluctant to admit they enjoy Swift’s album and other genuinely creative and inspiring music because of the stigma that has risen around the pop genre. But in neglecting the genre, doubters hinder their chance to experience the great pop songs by truly talented pop artists.

We as a culture have decided we are too cultured or too educated to truly enjoy mainstream pop music. Because a person likes an artist such as Swift, he or she becomes socially more commercial, more conformist.

But pop music, like any music, can be phenomenal. It can be just as inspiring as a great rock record or a folk song. The same goes for terrible, overly produced pop music. Just as any other bad song in any other genre can be atrocious, so can pop music.

Swift’s album takes pop music to a new level with its spectacular production and witty lyrics, but skeptics dismiss it because they think expressing enjoyment in Swift’s music would make them, as music lovers, inauthentic, less obscure. But that mainstream pop record will also more than likely be the first platinum album of 2014 — maybe within its first week. And we will undoubtedly see it at the 2015 Grammys.

We have no right to stigmatize an entire genre because of its mainstream tendencies and massive consumption. As YouTube creator and pop artist Troye Sivan tweeted upon the release of Swift’s second single on “1989,” “Out of the Woods,” “Pop music is like any other music — it can be shit, it can be incredible. SICK OF THA STIGMA & @taylorswift18 IS KILLING IT [sic].”

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