The following is an excerpt from the season premiere of Season Five of the Y!TMJ Podcast with my guest, Charlie Harding. It tells the story of how I came to stop worrying and love Pop Music. – Nate
This podcast, which started as a music blog, has always been a space that I wanted to create to just share and talk about the things I like. The things you like. I wanted to create a community where people could unapologetically come and talk about the things that they enjoy. Not as a guilty pleasure, but just embracing pure enjoyment. And pop music is one of those things that I have always been a fan of.
But, for a good deal of time, it wasn’t cool to like pop music. It was seen as fake or inauthentic. Something that people who have no taste in music enjoy. It wasn’t hip. And so, for awhile when I was younger, I would keep it a secret how much I really enjoyed what was then deemed corny. But all of that changed for me the very first time I heard… a giggle… and some footsteps… and an in your face statement that I was about to be told “what I want. What I really really want….” The very first time I heard “Wannabe” by the Spice Girls, my mind was blown clear out of the back of my head. It was such a vibe that completely owned my attention.
And so, for the first time, I was meeting Emma in the place who likes it in your face, Geri, who like Mel C likes it on a…, Victoria, who doesn’t come for free, ’cause she’s a real lady, and of course our narrator of that interlude, Mel B, who it seems we would see her preferences in the near future. These were five woman, laying down the law. If, perchance, you wanted to have a chance with any of them, you had to get along with their friends. First and foremost. Friendship never ends. It just made me so happy!
And as they released more singles, “Say You’ll Be There” and “2 Become 1,” I became obsessed with Spicemania and the Fab Five. And I refused to let this love be a dirty little secret anymore! I became a loud supporter and defender of the World of Spice. And I remember people saying things like, “Oh, do you like them as a joke?” “Is this like an ironic thing?” No! It was pure pop perfection and that confection was an infection I would no longer ignore!
Shortly after “Wannabe” dropped, there was a single by three brothers that crossed my ear drums and my new pop pride, sprung loose by the glory of the Spice Girls, caused me to very loudly proclaim that “MmmBop” by Hanson was indeed a bop! My love of pop popped out of the bottle and there was no chance it was ever being contained again. Regardless if you rubbed it the right way. The rise of the boy bands, Britney, Christina, Ricky Martin, Mya, Pink…. All of it. I embraced it all. It made me happy, and I’d be damned if I’d let anyone make me feel shame for it ever again.
We’ve come a long way from there. Sure, there’s still some inherent pop hate. Listen to any asshole who claims Taylor Swift to be talentless. Quick side note, you’re allowed to not like Taylor Swift, but to make a claim like “no talent” is the quickest way to show me that you certifiably don’t know shit about shit. But I digress. Pop is more accepted now. It’s less a dirty word. And alongside his co-host Nate Sloan, my recent guest Charlie Harding is one of those people helping legitimize contemporary pop music. And so I’m honored to have him on the show today to talk about his show Switched on Pop, where pop music is at and where it might be headed.