In case you haven’t noticed by now, I love music, the people behind the music, and the entire creative process. Much of my favorite music is of the more esoteric, lesser known variety, but some is more mainstream. That is, popular music — Daughtry, Mary J. Blige, My Chemical Romance, and even the group that put the pop in popular music — The Backstreet Boys. Nothing wrong with that, mainstream music is as good as any other. Or so I thought. According to many, most popular music is just not good. Not only is it not good, but it’s terrible, awful trash and anyone who listens to it has poor taste in music.
I can’t deny that some of the more mainstream music and, specifically, the music artists are replaceable. They are popular today, gone tomorrow, and won’t be missed by many once their 15 months of fame is over. But amongst the mass of music and artists out there, there are some not-so-hidden gems. The Backstreet Boys really are that great of a group, no matter how much they are mocked by the “Hate Every Boy Band” crowd. The Backstreet Boys carried an age and recreated a genre of music, constantly reinvented themselves, and are still producing hits.
If many people like the music, how bad can it be? This is argumentum ad populum, of course — just because lots of people believe the music is good, doesn’t mean it is. However, it’s worth thinking about in this case. Many of these artists simply had lucky breaks, but some had to work to get where they are and prove themselves worthy on a large-scale. Some mainstream artists started out as the unknown, under-appreciated musician just hoping to get a chance to perform at the local coffeehouse.
One thing to wonder about those who make a habit of disliking mainstream music: what happens when their favorite artists become more popular? Does their music decline in quality as they gather more fans (possible)? If an artist is truly a stand-out, it’s probably only a matter of time before they become known on the grand stage.
Several popular artists produce great music that stands the test of time. I am not going to miss out on great music because the music is enjoyed by a wider audience.
What’s your view? Is most popular music bad?