I’m entirely capable of respecting the musicianship of someone whose music I don’t particularly care for. But a general rule is that if their Wikipedia page has a longer section on their equipment than on their personal life, I’m probably not a fan. Meanwhile, if a band or artist possesses no technical musical skill whatsoever but manages to create or perform really good music with the help of writers, producers, dietitians, backup dancers and drugs, then heck, I’ve probably seen them live.
This is a happy song full of happy thoughts and it makes me happy to listen to it. I explicitly search it out when I’m in a bad mood, because I am guaranteed to be in a better mood by the time it’s over. Can you say that about the blues? No sir, you cannot! Pop music is not for wallowing, or over-thinking, or self-reflection of any kind. It’s a celebration, and that’s all it needs to be.
Have you ever, like, really listened to a pop song before? Headphones-up style? Maybe I’m cheating by highlighting arguably the greatest pop artist of the 20th century, but seriously: How many separate rhythmic elements can you discern in this song? A lot, that’s how many! This is probably my second favorite Michael Jackson song (first favorite is “Rock With You” duh), and everything about it is great — except the lyrics. The lyrics are terrible (“You’re a vegetable / You’re a vegetable”). But lyrical content has been, and always will be, an afterthought in the ideal pop song. Good lyrics without good aural accompaniment is just a glorified poem, and poetry is for cutters. Pop music is for winners.
Oh, you thought I was done with K-pop? Ha, no. The genre as a whole is a great example of how pop music can stick in your skull for hours, days, weeks at a time. Melodic repetition of famed English-language monosyllables is one way to do it. Any song that has more than one “Oh,” “No” or “La” is playing that game: Feel free to use two syllables (“Baby”) if you think you can handle it. This kind of genius is how they break people in cults. (Anyone wanna go to New Jersey with me in November to check out Big Bang? Yeah I didn’t think so.)
“Hey Ya!” could slip in as a perfect example for any of the above categories, but at its heart, it’s a dance song. The song even explicitly recognizes itself as such, which is one of the reasons I respect it so much. How many songs can you think of start off with a really depressing story, drop the pretense halfway through, and then go full-on dance party? I can’t think of any. Enlighten me. Possibly the greatest pop song of all time.
So shallow? Maybe. Lazy? Get crucial.
But what are UR favorite pop songs? Why is disco so good? How hot is Andre 3000 on a scale of 1-10? Don't you think "Billie Jean" is a bit overplayed? Who do you think should have custody of Michael Jackson's kids? Do you think King Harvest's "Dancing in the Moonlight" is about werewolves? Should we have a dance party on Sept. 21 in honor of Earth, Wind and Fire?