Pop Hits: Here and Gone

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Yesterday my colleague discussed how Sunday’s episode of ‘Girls’ brought us a club jam called “I Love It” by Icona Pop and Charli XCX. And much to our collective surprise at the PCA offices, that song was apparently far from new: it was a hit back in 2012. Now, of course, when I said “back in” you might have thought I was getting ready to say “back in the ’90s” but it is in fact only a year old, yet by today’s standards, that is officially old- at least according to those who actually knew it had existed in the first place.

And the whole thing got me thinking…

1. How is it that I’d never heard a song that Rolling Stone had included in their Top 50 Best Songs of the Year?
2. How have our lists gone from top 10s to top 50s?
3. How is the song already considered “old”?

The reality is, there is way more music being churned out today than ever before. Back when I was a kid, the only way you really heard new music was either by being introduced to it on your favorite radio station or by perusing record stores and taking chances on unknown artists – sometimes resulting in purchases that made you totally cutting edge by owning a future platinum selling artist well before anyone had ever heard of them. Either way, the options were limited and it was unlikely that you would “miss” a huge hit because, as I already mentioned, the hits were playing on the radio. If you listened, you were in the know. End of story.

Fast forward to today and it’s gotten to the point where if you blink, you’ll miss something. The numbers of mediums for music consumption are limitless and there will never be enough time in one’s life to actually listen to everything there is to be heard. And on top of that, the radio stations annoyingly insist on playing the same 10 songs in endless rotation at any given point in time, so relying on ClearChannel traditional radio is not an option. Unless of course you are content with an incredibly limited catalog of music. The same holds true for movies and books – the fact that the Oscars increased the nominee pool for Best Picture from 5 to 10 films is certainly an indication that there is way more hitting the silver screen than ever before. And bestselling books? Forget about it – I don’t know how anyone has the time this day and age to read all the great tomes out there. I can barely get through one every couple of weeks, if I’m lucky. And TV? I honestly don’t think I need to even elaborate on that. (And I won’t ever bother mentioning all the video programming across non-TV platforms…)

Point being, there is way more pop culture content to consume than there is time in our lives to consume it. And the pace at which things turn over is enough to make your head spin. The fact that DJs in clubs have resorted to playing 10 seconds of a song at a time to try to fit in all the hits they possibly can is another annoying side effect of this phenomenon (not that I’m not out clubbing as much these days, but still!) And it’s highly unlikely that most songs stay on their playlists for longer than a few months at a time, if that. Juxtapose that with the fact that we were hearing Madonna’s “Holiday” and Kool and the Gang’s “Celebrate” at every single party we attended (and sometimes still do). Somehow, I highly doubt that any of today’s party jams will become “classics” in quite the same way. They are here and gone in an instant, and while they may make you shake your booty when you hear them, the issue is that you will probably only get to hear them for a very limited time. Like it or not, that’s the way of the world today so you’d better pay attention or you’re likely to miss something great. Thank goodness Lena Dunham did me the favor of introducing me to “I Love It” even though I will probably never ever hear it again.

Voice your choice in today’s featured poll and tell us which of these recent mega pop hits would you still want to hear on the radio in five years?

Call Me Maybe (Carly Rae Jepsen)
Live While We’re Young (One Direction)
One More Night (Maroon 5)
We Found Love (Rihanna)

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