This post is featured in the CAPC Magazine, August 2016: Good Clean Fun issue of Christ and Pop Culture Magazine. Subscribe to Christ and Pop Culture Magazine by becoming a member and receive a host of other benefits, too.

I cannot get over my love for pop music.

This is a problem. Well, it’s a problem for me. You see, I pride myself on being an indie music snob. I like quirky, creative music from people you probably don’t know. Or, if you do know them, you’re probably an indie music snob too.

As you might guess, I closely identify with this label. My wife, for example, bought me a t-shirt I proudly wear, one whose enigmatic epigram draws many questions: “I listen to bands that don’t even exist yet.”

There are other times I want to crank up the stereo, roll down the windows, and sing really loudly to the best song ever. Even if it’s not actually the best song ever.In my neck of the woods (which isn’t a neck and where the woods were cleared long ago to cultivate corn and carve out culs-de-sac), I have to special-order my music. Apparently, record stores have discovered that selling albums that don’t sell is a bad business model. My most recent purchase is by a band from England. Their album isn’t yet released in the U.S., so I paid triple the normal price to get it now. Yeah, I’m that guy.

And I’m proud to be that guy. I’m known as a music guy, an audiophile, someone who loves creative musicians and serious bands. Artists who write thick lyrics and bring their angst-ridden, cutting-edge sound to their relatively tiny fan base. I find this sort of music more genuine, more artistic, and more edifying than most popular tracks. It’s thought-provoking, honest, and—most importantly—entirely unlike the radio fodder of our day. I enjoy evangelizing for great music, as my Music Monday blog posts over the years have proven o’er and o’er.

But here’s my confession: despite my indie-music cred, I am unable once-and-for-all to cut bait and leave pop music behind. I have tried to stop listening to the radio and caring about the charts. I have tried to abstain from the Grammys. But I return, repeatedly. I keep cheating.

I have said we are through; we are never, ever getting back together . . . but we do. Again and again. I tried to make indie music my one and only, but pop music keeps coming at me like a dark horse. Or something like that.

I just can’t shake the truth: I actually like to listen to this music, notwithstanding its lack of a musical saw, a flugelhorn, a banjo, or a harp. (Yes, I can name bands that feature all of those.) I sing and clap along, affirming that I do “feel like a room without a roof.” Loudly. (When no one is listening, of course.) I listen to singers who have changed the “s” in their name to “$.”

Indie Snob Card #revoked.

I’ve tried to be honest lately, admitting to my struggles. On Twitter, for example, I’ve come clean:

Ariana Grande’s “Problem” with Iggy Azalea might be about as perfect as a pop song can be. #IndieSnob #ducking
— Steve K. McCoy (@stevekmccoy) July 11, 2014

I used to throw my hands up in disgust over sugary pop songs. It’s what indie-music snobs demand I do! But I tire of this demand. So there. I hereby declare: I’m a fan of pop music, too.

This realization dawned on me while putting together some fun pop songs for a family vacation playlist. And I know what my problem has been: I hadn’t accepted that there are times and seasons for all sorts of music, all sorts of genres, all levels of quality.

And it’s only right. God has given us seasons in life, nature, and relationships. There are times I want to think deeply, to be provoked, to be inspired. Indie music does that for me. There are other times I want to crank up the stereo, roll down the windows, and sing really loudly to the best song ever. Even if it’s not actually the best song ever.

I think you know what I mean.

Ecclesiastes 3 is most often relegated to funerals, reminding us that there’s a time to live and a time to die, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance. But maybe we should rethink that verse; it should encourage us to embrace the joys of this life. There’s a time to live, to laugh, and to dance. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying the end of a workweek, a trip with family, or a holiday, all the while hoping this is gonna be the best day of your life.

Why so serious, fellow indie snobs? Let it go. Enjoy yourself. Or as Ke$ha says, “Lose your mind and let the crazy out.”

Well, don’t go totally crazy. You don’t have to lose your mind in order to cut loose and kick off your Sunday shoes. Find something fun and crank it up out by the campfire. And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance.

(To prove my sincerity, here’s a Spotify playlist of the songs referenced above; here’s to hoping it will get you on your feet.)


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7 Comments

  1. Music is a God given gift. Most of the time it speaks to hour heart and senses. It’s the people behind the cash register that have fallen to the lure of the freedoms that being a musician in current times tolerates, and the greed/sin that comes with the wealth to the ones that are successful at it. You’ve no doubt have heard this complaint from musicians as well as from critics of the industry, The machine behind the business is a wild beast that will devour anyone that is not cautious. It is more evident when someone lives their life in the limelight, but does also exist in one form or another in other facets of our society.

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  3. I’m one of those unchill indie music lamestreamers that also but dismissed because I love top 40 too. It is sad that they dismiss mainstream pop music when it is genuinely good. It’s perfectly okay the indie people to like Robyn but dismiss Katy Perry (I love both equally). It doesn’t even matter if you can draw some lines of influence from Prince to the latter’s single “birthday.”

  4. Well. I’m not anti-pop music either, but dude, this is junk pop! If you want great pop music, go back to Fleetwood Mac or Billy Joel or something. Pop with class.

  5. Robin, my point is that even the junk has its place. Ice cream doesn’t add a lot to my personal diet, but I still enjoy some in small doses. It’s ok to enjoy some music that’s just straight up fun, though I hope there’s a steady diet of more creative music.

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