Sugar Pop


I love pop music. I think it’s amazing how the formula of a basic song structure and a handful of chords can yield such a vast and varied catalog of songs. Sure, it’s light and sweet, and a little artificial these days with canned beats and auto tuning, but you’ve got to admit that pop music is so fun. Putting on this playlist gets me in the happiest mood, no matter what.

Our family dance party soundtrack growing up was a CD box set of Motown Classics: Smokey Robinson, The Temptations, The Jackson 5, The Supremes. The arrangements, harmonies, and horns combined to create such a bright sound. For some reason, my favorite song was always “Love Child.” I knew the story it told was vaguely scandalous and sad, but Diana Ross’s voice blew me away on those minor notes.

The time when I started foraging for my own music serendipitously coincided with the sparkly wave of boy bands and pop stars. If pinned down, I suppose I preferred *NSYNC over The Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears over Christina Aguilera, but really, I loved them all, down to the obscure one hit wonders. Looking back, I realize that most people must have been cringing over what passed for the height of pop culture in the ’00s, but for my part I was one happy teen girl.

Now, it seems like pop music is just…popular music. If a song is catchy enough, it is welcomed onto the radio waves or the playlist, regardless of the genre of origin. The pop star landscape is full of odd balls, and I think that’s a good thing. In the midst of the bubblegum confection, you’re equally likely to discover talented musicians with songwriting chops and a unique sense of personal style. With touring and surprise album releases and the instant availability through social media, the music scene seems more immediate than ever. It’s a great time to be a fan.

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