Natasha Bedingfield, “Unwritten”
Des’ree, “You Gotta Be”
The ur-Positivity Pop single, the template from which all platitudes are born. It doesn’t matter that it wasn’t the first; it was the best, and single-handedly kept VH1 afloat during that awkward mid-'90s period before they figured out “Pop-Up Video.”
Christina Aguilera, “Beautiful”
According to this video, being gay is basically the same thing as having an eating disorder (anorexia nervosa, look it up in thinspo blogs and the DSM-IV!).
Let me put you into the mind of a girl with low self-esteem: “Why are the attractive women of TLC specifying MAC cosmetics? Is my drugstore Cover Girl not good enough? Great, now all the time I spend on covering up acne scars is doubly worthless, because I’m poor.”
Bobby McFerrin, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”
Though I’m pretty sure this song is about ignoring the fact that you’re homeless, it doesn’t really matter, because people use it over iVideo montages of Orlando vacation photos. People also still dance to “Every Breath You Take” at weddings, but that’s neither here nor there.
Vitamin C, “Smile”
Actually, both of these “B Happy!” songs are mostly about deep, pathological denial. I guess it’s fair enough to send a message to preteens that not every slight is the end of the world, but some of those preteens come from abusive homes, you know? (Now who’s smiling?)
BONUS: THINGS R BAD BUT WE R AWARE
Coolio, “Gangster’s Paradise”
Gangbanging doesn’t hurt anyone but urself and ur family :(
Also those people you may have murdered.
“What Would You Do?” City High
So! Here’s a pop song that reached the Top 10 with the line “Me and my sister ran away so my daddy couldn’t rape us.” (Running away was Plan B, listening to Vitamin C was plan A.) The fun thing about this song is that the message of “hookers are people, too” essentially segues into “those hookers aren’t trying hard enough to be good people.”
What songs get you through the tough times? Did you cry at your high school graduation? How many problems has Michelle Pfeiffer seen you through?