DISCLAIMER: This article was originally posted on Odyssey.
Although I was introduced to classic rock through the radio, as I got older, my mother switched to the pop music stations more often. Ever since I moved back to New Jersey, I seemed to listen to iHeartRadio on my mother’s radio in her Pontiac. I did not like Pop music, but there were some songs that dismantled any stereotypes I may have conceived about pop music.
This article was inspired by the 10 songs that amazed me and Idea #17 from my 30 article idea questions article. Here are the 11 pop songs that changed my preconceptions of the genre.
1. Animals (Martin Garrix).
Just like Average White Band’s “Pick up the Pieces,” this song proves that you do not need to have lyrics to produce a good song that can walk with you throughout the day.
2. Break Free (Ariana Grande ft. Zedd).
Ariana’s vocals are definitely strong in her music, including this song.
3. Clarity (Foxes ft. Zedd).
It confuses me as to why this song has not already been used in a movie trailer. The chorus of this song really does make it powerful as there is the perfect balance between Foxes’ lyrics and the instrumentation.
4. Come & Get It (Selena Gomez).
I used to think that all pop music had the same generic sound. It turns out that pop music can become cultured. In this case, the genre of this song is bhangra which is originally Punjabi, as evidenced by the back-up vocals and the drums.
5. Evacuate the Dancefloor (Cascada).
If you were to approach me about voice manipulation in music, I probably would have joked “Oh, like T-Pain? How original!” But this song immediately put that to the test, since the voice manipulation has a form of cadence, whether it is Cascada’s vocals or the back-up vocals.
6. Pompeii (Bastille).
I cannot say any more other than this song is wonderfully catastrophic. There is a sadness in the vocals that is juxtaposed by the beautiful descriptions of the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius all around him.
7. Prayer in C (Lily Wood and the Prick ft. Robin Schulz).
This song is proof that folk music and pop can coexist into a unique combination of sounds. The guitar swooshes in the calm, midnight stroll that this song evokes.
The lyrics are pretty depressing–in a beautiful way of course. They can definitely turn anyone off, but there is a sense of mystic pleasure that comes from these lyrics. It is an unusual juxtaposition that makes this song worth listening to.
8. Somebody that I Used to Know (Gotye).
Upon first hearing this song, I thought I was back to listening to an 80’s radio station. But as it turns out, just like Song #3, there is a sense of timelessness to this 2011 song, in which case it involves the orchestration and the vocals.
9. Something Just Like This (The Chainsmokers ft. Coldplay).
I could not think of a song that was Pop and superhero-themed that tried to be as deep as this one. Yes, maybe to some people out there this song is the perfect example of “whiny bull-crap,” but I cannot think of anything whiny about wanting to become close to a superhero. While the “doo-doo-DOO-doo-doo-DOOOOO” might appear corny and cliched, it is easy to overlook with the rest of the lyrics which tell the story of anyone who wants to succeed in the world.
10. Waves (Mr. Probz ft. Robin Schulz).
I am noticing a common theme among these pop songs that impressed me. They all have a DJ, whether it is Zedd or Robin Schulz. It made me realize that it is not just the band itself or the vocalist himself, but the person in the background who creates the unique orchestration and beats. In this song, it really adds to the R&B rhythm of Mr. Probz.
11. We Found Love (Lindsay Sterling ft. VenTribe).
This song is definitely an example of a cover song that can provide an entirely new context to the lyrics. Where in Rihanna’s original song, the lyric “We found love in a hopeless place” has a more abstract meaning; in this version, it provides a profound in-sight into the living conditions of Africans which can appear hopeless.