There is a sensibility about pop music that indicates certain, very specific “facts” about life that make it as popular as it is, in my opinion. Of course it’s hard to tell whether any of this could be considered true or even important, as pop music is normally caught in a cultural cycle considered banal and even problematic when emphasized to it’s full potential. One example of this would be the personal arc and life narrative of rap and hip hop artist Kanye West.
Pop music rides an altruistic wave as an art form: it somehow illuminates the zeitgeist while continually pushing it forward. You could argue that all forms of culture do this, but in reality many more subversive and rustic “hidden” forms of media, such as what is labeled as “alternative” or “indie” music, are meant to serve different functions that are more complex than what pop music can accomplish by existing as such a lauded level of culture. Pop music somehow stands for morale as a principle, not a possibility. There is something about the trajectory of the genre’s message always being interlocked and in accordance with itself, for example, the themes constantly being exactly the same, both long and short term, somehow at the same time.
The societal pressures placed upon the pop genre to maintain some level of longevity is in essence the core of its objective. The strive to sustain an accordant and succinct degree of consistency in themes throughout all pop stars’ content causes the performers to play off each other. This behavior appears in expressions of “news gossip”, or a sector of journalism devoted to sustaining the relevance of these characters who constantly oscillate in relevance. This is an element of society’s desire to constantly be able to compare themselves to their idols compels an attitude of combined revelation and spite towards idyllic American (and adjacent global) pop sensations.
I have a lot more to say about this, but the majority of the points that could be made about pop music seem rather obvious. Some of these include but are not limited to the real-life stars manifesting drama in their personal lives for these publications to exploit, when in reality it seems that there is a cycle of capitalist exploitation through examples made of these “role models” who present more of a set of values to be aspired to in society than actions to behold. Pop music is dazzling and confusing because it is a constant celebration of our more lauded emotions, which, when exposed through a common medium, are no longer taboo. It is easier as a greater society to expect a collective medium to dominate and determine what will become of our daily conversations, and as pop music is as about as digestible as it gets as far as mainstream media is concerned, it is dependable for encouraging particular motifs in life in general. Whether or not one could actually determine if people follow the lead of major pop stars in their actual lives might be a bold thing to surmount, but frankly, to me it seems obviously true. People will want their lives to reflect those of the artistic elite as they exist on a contemporary level, because in a capitalist society that’s just what seems attractive.