You’re standing at a party, enjoying the company and good times, but there is one thing that you cannot quite get ahold of. That thing — or many things, really — is the lyrics to that song that everyone else is singing. Sure you’ve heard it a million times before at countless other parties and you can get a general grasp of the chorus, but the rest of the song is a mystery. You can’t even name who it’s by, who that random feature is, when it was released, who produced it, what label the singer works for…
Somehow everyone else has fallen in love with the Top 40 hit that you can guarantee is being played on at least 300 radio stations as this article is being read. But there you are, avoiding it at all costs because you don’t know that song. You don’t like that song. You don’t limit yourself to Top 40 hits.
That song is going to break records on the Billboard Hot 100, the UK Official Charts, the Gaon Music Chart, and you will be hearing it all through it’s peak period of overplayed-ness from your roommates, the radio, TV shows, commercials, award show performances, late-night talk show performances, day-time talk show performances… the list goes on. And while this happens, you go on listening to that song that will never have the same opportunities.
There is nothing wrong with listening to the song that no one else knows. There is nothing wrong with saying your favorite band’s name and getting the same answer every time: “Who?” There is most definitely nothing wrong with throwing some of your favorite tunes onto the group playlist, even though you know not many people — if any — will know it. It’s what you like, and you should not be ashamed of it just because it won’t reach number one on the Hot 100.
When you think about it, every great song starts as that new release that no one knows about. Popular artists grow from their time of hardly being known to being known worldwide. Ed Sheeran has been recording music in 2004 and performed at coffee shops, but most people did not know him until he began gaining radio popularity. Until that time, he had a huge fan base, but I still got the classic “Who?” when I suggested he be played.
There are plenty more artists like Mr. Sheeran, that I could go on to list, but that is not the purpose of my article. My point is, that Top 40 hits are not the only songs out there and you should not be ashamed that you do not like them just because everyone else does. Your music is great. Your music is a representation of you. And if you are ashamed of your music, you are ashamed of what makes you happy. There’s no point trying to force yourself to enjoy listening to something just because the rest of the world is doing it.
The people who do not listen to Top 40 hits are the people that create the next generation of artists. It is us who bring solo artists and bands out of the dark and spread their music to other ears. If anything, the people who listen to Top 40 Hits should give anyone who does not listen to the most popular songs a great big thank you because without us, The Chainsmokers would still be nearly songless, Ed Sheeran would never have been able to grace the entire world with his angelic voice, Jon Bellion would still be stuck on Facebook and Youtube, and Chance the Rapper would be the biggest “Who?” of all with no label to back him.
Keep exploring the endless world of music because who knows — some day that band that plays in dive bars and no one knows about will be thanking you for supporting them and bringing them to the top spot on the Hot 100.