An Open Letter to Pop Music

Published 10/2/13 by:

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Dear Pop Music,

It’s been a while since we’ve connected, and while I miss you, I have some reservations about getting back in touch. I know you’re busy trying to “get lucky”, so allow me to recap our tattered history. My musical prowess, or my earliest memory of being keenly aware of music and its popularity dates back to the Spring of 1995, when I was in the fourth grade. I was really into Sheryl Crow at the time, and I coaxed my mom into buying me the 1995 Grammy nominee cassette tape because it featured not only Sheryl, but also Elton John’s “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” as well as All-4-One’s “I Swear”. This was basically a mix-tape of magic for me. The music was catchy, and my mom and I could listen to it in the car together without anyone getting embarrassed. I brought the tape into school one day, and my teacher let me play it on his boombox during snack. It was, perhaps, the most glorious, and simplest time of my life. The music showcased talent, and did not serve as a gimmick for anything or anyone. I’d be remiss to not mention that you showed up at the Grammys that year, in a big way, and you simultaneously were what was popular (and overplayed) on the radio. Pop music, you were representing well at the awards shows, and you were dictating with a classiness you no longer possess.

In fifth grade, you went from soft rock to alternative. Instead of singing about having fun, or feeling the love, I was singing about letting the girl cry (hat tip to Hootie) and if God was a slob like one of us. When one of my classmates showed up in a Smashing Pumpkins t-shirt on a Monday morning, I thought it was just absolutely brilliant. Honestly, I think it was the most impressed I’d been by a peer’s fashion in my young life. So Pop, you were doing your thing, and making adolescents of all shapes and sizes into irritable, emo, snarky human beings. We’ve never recovered, thanks to you, and I think you built some serious character in me as a result.

I now want to fast forward to 2013. I’m 28-years-old, and I teach sixth grade. If I had the time, I’d be the teach letting kids crank the tunes during snack. Although as I pondered that thought, Pop, I realized, I wouldn’t be able to let the kids listen to your stuff. What you embody now is over-sexed music with too many bleeps to count. You’re twerking, hungover, crude and bawdy. Dude, even your name, as a term – “Pop Music” has become a bit of a punchline. Adults are embarrassed to say that they like you as a genre. When adults do admit to loving “Last Friday Night” or make a YOLO reference, they quickly add in, “guilty pleasure”. That’s what your reputation has become: you make people feel guilty for liking you. You’ve definitely stopped winning Grammys. Don’t you miss being classy and adored by all? Aren’t you sick of being emulated by tweens, and tweens only?

I’m ready for you to make a comeback, Pop. I want you to be at the top of your game. I want to be able to sing along to songs with my students, and not be limited to the timeless, family-friendly Taylor Swift. So how can I be of assistance to you? Who handed you the Kool-Aid? It may take some time, but with the right backers, I think we could really re-image you. The question is: are you ready for a make-over?


Miss you terribly,



PS That chain letter you sent me last week was weird and I had to change my password on like, everything. No more, please.



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