If there was one genre of music I would call my most consistent favorite, it would be pop. Many of my favorite artists are pop singers, and I have followed its charts the longest. It has a reputation for its blatant, mindless formula and was especially knocked during the start of the 2010s when autotune became the default tool to make a pop singer sound better or fit the rising EDM feel pop music would eventually call electro-pop. Of course, as time passed the genre continued to split into sub-genres such as in this case electro-pop and indie pop, but it's still considered part of one genre. Some artists, however, find pop music to be a limiting genre.
Last Thursday, Twitter user maria who goes by newromanhtics posted screen grabs of an interview music artist Halsey had with Billboard Magazine, unhappy with the singer's answers.
In the interview Halsey talks about how artists can be featured in a pop song but still be considered part of a different genre for their solo work. She mentions that Kendrick Lamar has sang in more pop songs than she considers herself to be in, yet he is still called a rap artist and she a pop singer. She feels pigeonholed by the genre and notes "I don’t know if it’s a male thing, I don’t know if it’s an urban thing. I don’t know what it is. But if you’re a female alternative artist and you do anything that’s even slightly pop leaning, it’s condemning.”
Halsey actually responded to maria by saying how much harder it is for female singers to willingly venture out of the pop scene.
From her interview and response on Twitter, I saw Halsey show a lot of disdain for pop music which surprised me considering how popular she has gotten from the genre. Then I saw she responded to another Twitter user who responded to her.
The Twitter conversation did not stop there, as she went on to reply to a number of comments made by other users who both agreed and disagreed on her stance. Needless to say, she was shocked by the number of responses.
I liked Halsey for a hot minute, and I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy her album Badlands at least a little bit. But with the constant, neverending loop of the song 'Closer' played by radios and my disappointment with her last two singles, I hardly listen to her. Besides, Lorde is coming back, who makes alternative pop way more fun than Halsey does.
Speaking of pop, why does Halsey think being called a popstar is a bad thing? She wants to be respected as an alternative artist when she is an alternative artist. She is a deviation from the norm in pop music, but her style of dark and moody music has become popular seen in artists such as Melanie Martinez and 21 Pilots. I don't consider her music to fall in the same category of Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, ot Lady Gaga, and even those two singers make distinguishable artistic choices in their music.
Female musicians get called popstars because that is what they are, just not the same kind of pop. One of my favorites aspects of the genre is its vastness. Dream pop? Synthpop? Power pop? Pop punk? Bubblegum pop? These are part of the pop counterculture, and coincidentally it has also become popular in the mainstream. How long will it last? I don't know. Pop music has taken an ambient, depressing turn, and since it's not really my taste I sure hope it picks up soon. Still, I do not see anything wrong with calling Halsey a pop star, and I do not think she should take it as an insult.
Pop music is catchy, personal, sad, upbeat, energetic, loud, emotional, brooding, etc. What's wrong with being a part of it?