You are at a party watching your friends get down to Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez. You solemnly look on as they laugh and dance, trying to feel content with your unintended made up sense of superiority as you miss out on all the fun. Many people are intimately acquainted with this feeling, attempting to gain satisfaction by listening to music that is not “mainstream.” The fact that this attitude robs people of a good time often goes unrealized.
What kind of music a person listens to has often been a defining factor of others’ opinions of him or her. If your taste in music is not “edgy” enough, or if you listen to music aired on the radio, answers come in the form of smug remarks such as “Don’t you listen to Twenty One Pilot songs other than ‘Stressed Out’?” When asked about your favorite genre of music, responding “pop music” is an unspoken offense against the laws of musical pretentiousness.
The issue with this ludicrous notion is that pop music carries its name for a reason. “Pop” is short for popular, and popular means well-liked or enjoyed by many people. Enjoying pop music does not label you inferior or unclassy; it makes you a normal human being. Pretending not to appreciate mainstream music does not designate you a better, cooler person; it only serves to put a damper on other people’s moods and keep you from having a good time.
Don’t get me wrong, there are people who genuinely prefer other genres over pop music, which is totally all right so long as they do not wear it as a superiority complex. You like The Beatles? Good for you, but that does not make you any better than someone who prefers Ariana Grande or Nicki Minaj. Demeaning people over their taste in music to uphold supposed superiority makes you appear pretentious, not classy or different.
Music exists for the enjoyment of the human experience, not as an indicator of a person’s class or character. Hiding behind a wall of distaste for pop music in hopes of making yourself seem as though you are breaking from the norm only limits your capacity for enjoying yourself. Using your taste in music as something unconventional to flaunt at others hardly ever has the intended effect. Instead of acting pretentious, think about what you could be doing instead. In the wise words of Taylor Swift, it could be “getting down to this sick beat.”