Believe it or not, I enjoy listening to what's popular in music. Granted, there are certain genres I listen to more, but I believe music is an important part of history, as it offers a look into social conflicts and various happenings of an era. So where better to look than what's popular?
However, there's one truth to popular music: The great majority of what is currently trending is hardly played over airwaves, with only a few songs being highlighted — and overplayed.
Currently, one obnoxiously overplayed song stands out: Bruno Mars' "Uptown Funk." It is nearly impossible to turn on a radio throughout the day without hearing it. Unless I am out of the public eye for 24 hours, I am bound to hear it — and even then, I am likely to hear it on TV. Case in point: Monday, between when I left my house in the morning and when I had returned in the afternoon, I heard it three times.
Admittedly, it's a pretty good song. It has the makings of an epic dance track, featuring a funky Prince-like element that's not heard much in music anymore. So it's unfortunate that I view it with such disdain.
But I know I'm not the only one. Many I've talked to view this song as a joke — like that one guy who can't stop telling the "why is six afraid of seven?" joke, or the boss who keeps hounding for TPS reports — due to its annoying and repetitive overplay.
Our generation of pop music is a weird one. Fans are constantly in search of the new song, yet we overconsume the same song until we can't take it anymore.
Pop radio would be vastly improved if it reached a little further into the catalogue of what's gaining interest. And with "what's trending" tools on internet services, like Spotify, we have more power than ever before to do so.
A similar column I wrote a few months back discussed the topic of why music is so repetitive, and I think I now know why. The music that becomes overly popular tops the charts because only a few charts are evaluated. What needs to be evaluated is the diverse music consumed in the digital community. Looking through the 100 most viral tracks on Spotify nowhere near represents what's currently "trendy."
If charts and trends could make that adjustment, then maybe we would still enjoy those same 10 songs that are in constant rotation.
Kudos to Bruno Mars, though, because he makes money every time "Uptown Funk" is played. And it's not like he's the annoying one blasting it out of a boombox, forcing us to listen. There's enough boomboxes around that will do that for him, so he can just sit back and relax.
Caleb Dennis: twitter.com/TheWriterCalebD