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Dark Pop Smart Pop and Bangers

Olivia Donohue, Olivia Donohue

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Photo by Celebrities Temple

I‰’m really stupid. I actually didn‰’t notice it until it had already happened. It was some time later in the year 2015 when someone pointed it out to me. I was in his car and we were listening to the deluxe CD version of Taylor Swift‰’s 1989 and critically analyzing it, as we do with pop albums because they‰’re the only thing that Target sells. He made a remark about how Taylor Swift had said that she had drawn inspiration from “Dark-Pop.” I said “What?‰Û

“You know dark pop, like Lana Del Rey and Lorde…Halsey?‰Û

I hadn‰’t really thought about it, but from 2011 up until that moment in the car he was right, whatever Dark Pop was had dominated the scene. Our pop songs had gone from Fergie‰’s bangers about being rich and Ke$ha‰’s bangers about being drunk to Lorde‰’s gritty scenes of adolescence and Halsey singing about whatever her songs are supposed to be about I‰’ve never paid enough attention to know. I was too busy learning every single word to every single Decemberists song and trying to make myself understand how people could like Spoon so much. I guess I was doing the same thing as the music industry at the time, just trying to seem more grown up and mature.

Overtime that kind of seemed to change. Lately I‰’ve noticed that pop music has been striving to be smart, something that people can write 45 post twitter threads about. I believe this started with Beyonce‰’s self-titled album that had very overt themes of feminism, even going as far as to directly quote and sample feminist texts in “Flawless‰” and “Partition.” You could also say that Art Pop was trying to do the same thing, but a lot less successfully. I don‰’t know how I feel about this. On one hand, you have people writing entire essays on albums that weren‰’t even written by the singers and are motivated solely by profit, but on the other hand you have a demand for higher quality in the writing and themes of music, and the concept album coming back into style from the stadium performing pop artist.

All I know for sure, is that in this time of pop artists being depressing and scholarly, I‰’m glad as hell that Carly Rae Jepsen is up there (in Canada) watching over me.

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