10 Pop Songs I Actually Like

If you know me in real life or are at all familiar with this blog, then you probably know that I generally dislike pop music & strongly prefer rock & metal, with a good dose of classical & occasional selected country on the side.  But the truth is there actually are a few pop songs I genuinely like, not just because they have a catchy tune or fun beat but because I believe they are truly well-written songs with actual meaning.  So today I thought it would be fun to share some of these songs with y’all as a means of showing I’m not a total old fart.  Haha!

pop music sucks

Most modern pop music is total crap.  Call Me Maybe was nominated for a Grammy.  Maybe it even won.  Need I say more?

  • All Too Well by Taylor Swift: I owe my knowledge of this song to a friend from high school.  I honestly think it’s the best song Taylor Swift has ever recorded because it is just so well-written.  My favorite lyrics are the following:
    • “Maybe we got lost in translation, maybe I asked for too much
      And maybe this thing was a masterpiece ’til you tore it all up
      Running scared, I was there, I remember it all too well
    • Hey, you call me up again just to break me like a promise
      So casually cruel in the name of being honest
      I’m a crumpled up piece of paper lying here
      ‘Cause I remember it all, all, all too well
    • Time won’t fly, it’s like I’m paralyzed by it
      I’d like to be my old self again, but I’m still trying to find it”taylor swift
  • Alright, one more Taylor Swift song.  I swear if she’d kept writing songs like the aforementioned one & Back to December I’d have so much more respect for her.  Instead she’s drifted off into total idiotic crap like Shake It Off & We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together . . . Anyway my favorite lyrics from this one are these:
    • “So this is me swallowing my pride
      Standing in front of you saying I’m sorry for that night
      And I go back to December all the time
      It turns out freedom ain’t nothing but missing you
      Wishing I’d realized what I had when you were mine
      I’d go back to December, turn around & make it all right
      I go back to December all the time”pink
  • You & Your Hand by P!nk (I refuse to use the incomplete spellings of you & your like the actual title uses): The first time I heard this song I thought it was gross.  But as I got a little older I realized it is the perfect response to every man (& I use that term loosely) who has ever treated me in one way or another like a piece of meat (aka purely as a sexual object).  To all the creepy dudes out there who leer at us ladies in public, whistle as we walk by, or make disturbing comments to us, this song is the response of every self-respecting woman:
    • “I’m not here for your entertainment
      You don’t really want to mess with me tonight
      Just stop & take a second
      I was fine before you walked into my life
      Cause you know it’s over
      Before it began
      Keep your drink, just give me the money
      It’s just you & your hand tonight”pink stupid girls
  • Stupid Girls: Ok, one more by P!nk.  I’ve actually written about this song on here before, but it’s such a well-written song that has only become more relevant as time goes by so I feel compelled to share it again.  As talentless women like Kim Kardashian continue to receive loads of media attention these lyrics become more & more germane:
    • “What happened to the dream of a girl president?
      She’s dancing in the video next to 50 Cent
      They travel in packs of two or three
      With their itsy-bitsy doggies & their teeny-weeny tees
    • Where, oh where, have the smart people gone?
      Oh where, oh where could they be?
    • I’m so glad that I’ll never fit in
      That will never be me
      Outcasts & girls with ambition
      That’s what I wanna see”avril lavigne
  • My Happy Ending by Avril Lavigne: Ok, maybe this isn’t the most well-written song ever, but I just can’t help but love it.  Whether it was an ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend or someone we admired & respected who turned out to be less than worthy of our devotion, I think we can all relate to the feeling of being disappointed by finding out that someone isn’t the person we thought they were.
    • “You were everything, everything that I wanted
      We were meant to be, supposed to be, but we lost it
      And all of the memories, so close to me, just fade away
      All this time you were pretending
      So much for my happy ending
    • It’s nice to know that you were there
      Thanks for acting like you cared
      And making me feel like I was the only one
      It’s nice to know we had it all
      Thanks for watching as I fall
      And letting me know we were done”bruno mars
  • When I Was Your Man by Bruno Mars: When Bruno Mars first became popular I figured he was just another Justin Beiber type, but once I heard this song I realized there was a lot more to Bruno Mars, or at least some of his songs, than I initially thought.  For one thing, he actually plays the piano on this one!
    • “Although it hurts
      I’ll be the first to say that I was wrong
      Oh, I know I’m probably much too late
      To try & apologize for my mistakes
      But I just want you to know
    • I hope he buys you flowers
      I hope he holds your hand
      Give you all his hours
      When he has the chance
      Take you to every party
      ‘Cause I remember how much you loved to dance
      Do all the things I should have done
      When I was your man”

      Lady Gaga Wallpaper @ go4celebrity.com

      Lady Gaga Wallpaper @ go4celebrity.com


  • Speechless by Lady Gaga: I could actually list quite a few Lady Gaga songs that I really like.  She is really the only mainstream pop start whom I truly admire.  Even if you find her admittedly ridiculous costumes & rather shocking stage presence a bit offensive or silly, you’d be very remiss to deny her talent as a singer & musician.  If I had to pick a favorite song of hers, it would have to be this one because it showcases her stunning voice so incredibly well.  Plus, she plays the piano on this song.
    • And I know that it’s complicated
      But I’m a loser in love
      So baby raise a glass to mend
      All the broken hearts
      Of all my wrecked up friends
    • I’ll never talk again
      Oh boy, you’ve left me speechless
      You’ve left me speechless, so speechless
    • And I’ll never love again,
      Oh friend, you’ve left me speechless
      You’ve left me speechless, so speechless”paramore
  • Misery Business by Paramore: To be fair, I guess this really is a rock song but it definitely has a more pop vibe & not surprisingly was very popular even on Top 40 type radio stations when it debuted in 2007.  I’ll be the first to admit that this is really a pretty shallow song, but at the same time I can’t help but love it.  Definitely a guilty pleasure!christina perri
  • Jar of Hearts by Christina Perri: I remember when this song came out when I was in college & I immediately fell in love with it, largely because of Christina Perri’s gorgeous voice but also because of the beautiful instrumentation of the song.  I love the message of self-empowerment the song gives as well:
    • And it took so long just to feel alright
      Remember how to put back the light in my eyes
      I wish I had missed the first time that we kissed
      ‘Cause you broke all your promises
      And now you’re back
      You don’t get to get me back
    • And who do you think you are?
      Runnin’ ’round leaving scars
      Collecting your jar of hearts
      And tearing love apart
      You’re gonna catch a cold
      From the ice inside your soul
      So don’t come back for me
      Don’t come back at all”

      MTV TRL Presents Estelle, Kid Sister & Teyana Taylor

      (Photo by Scott Gries/Getty Images)

  • King of Anything by Sara Bareilles: This is another song I fell in love with on first listen.  The song seems to be written about a boyfriend (or potential suitor anyway) who attempts to boss the singer around, but I think the listener can extrapolate the song to be about anyone who tries to boss us around in life, particularly those who really have no right whatsoever to do so.  As someone who’s always been a bit distrustful of authority while also somehow being a natural people-pleaser, the lyrics of this strong resonate very strongly with me:
    • “You’ve got opinions, man
      We’re all entitled to ’em, but I never asked
      So let me thank you for your time,
      And try not to waste anymore of mine
      And get out of here fast
    • I hate to break it to you babe, but I’m not drowning
      There’s no one here to save
    • Who cares if you disagree?
      You are not me
      Who made you king of anything?
      So you dare tell me who to be?
      Who died & made you king of anything?
    • All my life I’ve tried to make everybody happy
      While I just hurt & hide
      Waiting for someone to tell me it’s my turn to decide”

If you haven’t noticed, one reason I actually like these songs as opposed to the modern prototypical pop song is that they aren’t just songs about partying & drinking.  They actually tell a story or have a deeper meaning than simply “Let’s party it up tonight & get wasted.”  I’m sorry, but that kind of crap isn’t real music in my book.  See the below quote from Corey Taylor for an explanation why.

corey taylor quote

In case you’re wondering why  most pop music makes me angry, this quote explains it.



Pop Music, Lady Gaga, & Rape

As some of you know from real life & as others may have read on this blog previously, most modern pop music makes my ears bleed.  I literally cannot listen to 99% of current radio stations without wanting to punch the radio . . . So I just don’t listen to the radio anymore since all it does is make me angry because everything I hear is such total CRAP.  The lyrics contain zero substance; the thematic elements, if you can call them that, are vapid & inane; & the talent involved in the music itself is extremely limited, & that’s putting it gently.  Let’s get real: “Call Me Maybe” was nominated for a Grammy . . . If that doesn’t make you want to puke, you probably ought to see a doctor.  Ughhhh.pop music sucks

HOWEVER, ever since my freshman year of college when I first heard “Just Dance” I’ve been a huge fan of Lady Gaga.  Yes, you heard me right.  As much as I love Manson, MIW, Godsmack, & the like (& Eric Church & Kacey Musgraves; can’t forget the two country artists I truly adore), I am also completely enthralled by Gaga’s music . . . It just so happens that many rock stars have recognized the talent of Lady Gaga, Matt Heafy of Trivium & Sully Erna of Godsmack, just to name a few . . . I’ll admit her earlier hits like the aforementioned “Just Dance” as well as “Poker Face” & several others are far from life-changing & basically just typical pop songs, at least as far as lyrical content.  But to me it was immediately obvious, even in those songs, that Lady Gaga is NOT your average pop star.  For one thing, she can actually SING.  Imagine that! 

Lady Gaga Wallpaper @ go4celebrity.com

Lady Gaga Wallpaper @ go4celebrity.com

As her career progressed & she put out songs like Speechless (yes, she can actually play piano), “You & I,” & “Born This Way” I became even more impressed with her talents.  I even chose The Edge of Glory for the recessional song at my wedding.  Yes, believe it or not I got away with playing a Lady Gaga song in a Southern Baptist church of all places!  I still find that hard to believe, even four years later . . .lada gaga dark hair

Anyway, this week Lady Gaga has blown me away again.  If you haven’t heard, she released a video for her powerful song Till It Happens to You.  The video is hard to watch because of the subject matter, rape & sexual abuse, but it is extremely powerful.  I completely understand if you can’t stomach watching the video, but everyone should at least listen to the song.  If it doesn’t make you tear up or at least want to cry, you’re insensitive to say the least. lada gaga dog

I find this song particularly relevant because of a sexual assault that happened at a local hospital this past weekend, a hospital which is part of the healthcare organization for which I work, & the less than stellar way the organization has handled this tragedy.  Yes, believe it or not, a hospital employee was sexually assaulted in a public restroom within a hospital & the perpetrator has not yet been caught.  To make matters worse, the hospital was not placed on lockdown & other hospital employees were not properly notified of the event . . . In the past we have always received emails any time a violent crime has occurred anywhere near the hospital or the associated university campus, even those of us working in outlying facilities.  As I understood it, the hospital was required by law to report such crimes.  But in this case, when a sexual assault occurred within the hospital itself, many of us, including me, only found out about it because of the local news or hearing about it from our coworkers who had heard it through the grapevine.  This morning I got an email from my HOA warning us that a sexual offender had been spotted in a neighboring community.  His picture was included as well as the number for the local police department.  After reading that email, I couldn’t help but feel like my HOA is more concerned about the safety of our community than my employer is about the safety of its employees . . . . How disheartening to say the least!causes-of-rape-graph

Of course I realize there are idiots who throw around blatantly false rape charges, like the infamous Duke Lacrosse case.  These morons only serve to bring into question the legitimacy of those who truly were raped or assaulted, which is incredibly sad.  It’s not like victims aren’t shamed & blamed enough as it is. rape

I also realize I may catch a lot of flack for saying this, especially as a woman, but in my opinion if you CHOOSE to drink with someone, knowing your judgment may be impaired because of it, & you end up having sex with that person, provided you wanted & consented to the sex at the time, then I don’t think you have a right to claim rape.  (If you do not consent or are actually passed out & completely incapacitated, that is a whole different story, of course.)  Sorry, ladies, but regretting sex the next morning does not equal rape.  Maybe I’m a traitor to my own gender for saying that, but I just think that if I want to claim equal intelligence & rights within our society I’ve also got to take responsibility for my own actions.  To be clear, I am in NO WAY saying that girls who dress promiscuously or flirt with guys are “asking for it” & deserve to be raped or any such nonsense . . . I’m just saying you don’t hear guys crying rape when they wake up next to a girl who was a lot hotter when they were drunk & not thinking as clearly.  I also realize that fake claims like this are really quite rare, but I do think it’s worth mentioning.no-means-no2

Now that that’s out of the way, I can focus on the meat of the matter.  The truth is that rape & sexual assault/abuse are still rampant in our society . . . I certainly know people, some very dear to me, who have been raped or otherwise sexually abused.  And I’m willing to bet anyone reading this does too.  Or maybe it’s even happened to you . . . To be clear, I don’t think these issues are any worse now than they’ve ever been; I just think we’re more aware of them thanks to the technology we have today.  And sadly I don’t think these issues will ever go away entirely, but I do think we can do better.  And we can do that by raising our boys (& girls) to respect women & themselves (after all, any truly self-respecting person could not harm another in such a brutal way) & to understand that rape & sexual assault/abuse are NEVER acceptable behavior.  Too often our society places the onus of preventing rape on the victim or potential victims.  But that’s just backwards.  Rape is not a women’s issue; it’s a humanity issue.  Thank you, Lady Gaga, for reminding us of that.  Rock on with your bad self.lady gaga piano 1

Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover

Yesterday I renewed my gym membership and in the process of doing so someone said something to me that I hear quite often which got me thinking that this could make for an interesting blog post.  So here goes.

After I paid for my annual membership, I told the gym manager that as a paying customer I thought he should consider changing up the music selection a bit because I’m tired of hearing Britney Spears every time I work out.  The manager asked me what I would prefer & I told him that to be honest a lot of the music I like probably wouldn’t be appropriate for the gym because a lot of people are much more easily offended than I am, but nonetheless a few hard rock songs here & there would be a refreshing change of pace.  The manager, who is a man probably in his mid 30’s, told me what I have heard so many time before.  “You just don’t seem like the kind of girl who would be into rock music.  You’re too nice & soft-spoken.”

[Ok, those of you who really know me should get a good laugh about the soft-spoken part of that comment!]

The real crux of this scenario is that I am often told I seem “too nice” to like rock music.  I just don’t understand where our society gets the idea that a “nice” person can’t like hard rock or heavy metal.  This is 2013 & yet people who like this kind of music are still invariably considered “weird, different, mean, angry,” and a whole lot of other generally negative adjectives.  Now let me give you a little background about how I got into this kind of music before I explain why it’s my favorite genre.

I grew up thinking rock music = devil music.  I had no interest in it & on the rare occasions that I actually heard real rock/metal I hated it.  I honestly couldn’t understand how anyone could like this stuff.  However, as I got into high school I started hearing a few more rock songs here & there, & I gradually, gradually began to realize that there is so much more than initially meets the eye (or should I say the ear?) with this type of music.  Once I got to college & finally had the freedom to listen to whatever kind of music I wanted, I gradually began discovering all kinds of music that I never even knew existed: European symphonic metal bands like Nightwish, American metal bands like Five Finger Death Punch, and so much more.  I soon realized that I loved this music, & I think after a solid six years of listening to rock/metal more than any other genre I am finally figuring out why this music appeals to me so much.

Anyone who has glanced at my iTunes collection knows that I like a little bit of everything.  My music collection spans everything from Alice in Chains to Godsmack to Toby Keith to Eric Church to Flo Rida to Lady Gaga to Beethoven to Mussorgsky.  In short, there really isn’t any genre of music I don’t like.  Some, like rap & bluegrass, aren’t my favorites but there are still certain pieces from those genres that I do really enjoy.  However, I think the reason rock music speaks to me so much is its brutal honesty.

By comparison, rap music so often celebrates an urban, party-it-up or “gangtsa” lifestyle that exists only in manufactured music videos.  Country music too celebrates a lifestyle that doesn’t actually exist in real life.  Trust me, I grew up in small town America & I can tell you from experience that the only country music singers who consistently tell the truth about rural life are Eric Church & Kacey Musgraves, especially the latter.  It ain’t always a pretty picture either.  The vast majority of modern pop music is so superficial & vapid as to hardly be worth mentioning.  (I’ll discuss classical music in another post some day.  As many of you know, I am a total classical music junkie.)

So that brings us back to rock music.  Yes, the stereotype is that rock music celebrates sex, drugs, & devil worship & generally seeks to push the envelope in every possible way.  Sure, there are a few groups whose music focuses largely on those things.  But would you judge all Christians based on Westboro Baptist Church or all Muslims on the 9/11 terrorists?  I certainly hope not.  You cannot make an accurate judgment about any group based on its most extreme members.  That is just unscientific.

People often say that rock music makes people angry or inspires people to commit terrible acts of murder & violence.  I say music is music.  Nothing more, nothing less.  If someone’s mind is so twisted & sick as to commit heinous violent acts, music isn’t to blame.  The person is.  I say music is perhaps the greatest form of therapy known to mankind.  If you listen to enough rock you’ll find that every emotion you’ve ever felt is covered in this music, from love to anger to jealousy to confusion to pain to joy.  It’s all there.  And it’s all expressed in an outlet that cannot possibly harm anyone.  We all get angry sometimes & experience other “negative” emotions.  That is not a sin.  Emotions are what make us human; they are what tells us we are still alive.  It’s what we do with these emotions that can be sinful at times.  (If you want to read more about this fascinating topic, check out Corey Taylor’s book “The Seven Deadly Sins.”  It is without a doubt one of the most intriguing & well-written books I’ve ever read.)  What better way to express your anger or hate than through a song?  It’s much preferable to actually hurting someone or bottling it all up inside so that inevitably you explode.  Besides, what other kind of music pumps you up enough to make you want to finish that grueling workout at the gym or to stay up all night caring for sick people?  On my way to work I invariably pop in a fist-pumping rock album & by the time I get to the hospital I am ready to face whatever comes my way.

So in summary, no, I don’t have tattoos or unorthodox body piercings.  I don’t dress in all black or wear dog collars around my neck.  I don’t give a crap if other people do those things but they just aren’t for me.  I am not an angry person who hates the world.  But I do love rock music.  I am proud to be a headbanger.  And some day I hope that the world will realize that rock stars & their fans are some of the kindest people in the world.  And more importantly I hope our society will learn the greater lesson here: don’t judge a book by its cover because we are all more than meets the eye.

So what do y’all think?  For those of you know me, is it really that surprising that I like this kind of music?  If so, why?  Or better yet, have you experienced anything similar to this where people are surprised to find out you like a certain type of music or whatever?

In the spirit of the post I’m including a link to one of my favorite rock bands, Pop Evil.  I have been following them religiously for a few years & own all three of their albums, so naturally I am very happy to see them finally getting some great radio airtime with their latest hit, “Trenches.”  (Ladies, google Leigh Kakaty & I promise you will thank me.)   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DWdtN7pCZug