Pop Evil: How is This Crap Still Popular in 2014???
I recently received a press release touting the fact that the band Pop Evil had achieved two #1 singles in 2013. Familiar with the band in name only, I decided to give it a whirl since sometimes I enjoy hard rock.
If you find it hard to believe I’ve never accidentally heard Pop Evil, know this: New York City doesn’t have a single rock radio station that plays music less than 20 years old. It’s odd, but it’s been true ever since K-Rock changed formats in 2009 (and even then it’d already been waffling between talk and rock formats for years). Also, most New Yorkers don’t own cars, the primary places radio listening happens. We just don’t have any exposure to Active Rock or modern hard rock, it’s that simple. What I know about Theory of a Dead Suck, Crossfade, Cold and the like I only know because I lived in Michigan for five years in the early ’00s, where active rock reigns.
So, I jammed the Pop Evil song “Behind Closed Doors.” It wasn’t horrible. But it wasn’t that good either, and it’s certainly nothing new. The main thought in my mind after listening: how is this crap still popular?? If you’d have told me that Pop Evil were some floundering band that once toured with Breaking Benjamin and this song came out in 2003 I would have absolutely believed you. Not that Breaking Benjamin were innovative (or good) in their time, either: they were just re-hashing Linkin Park and Korn tropes from 1998. And those bands sucked too.
The active rock radio format has remained completely unchanged for nearly 15 years, an absolutely mind-boggling concept. I’m not angry or bitter, just mystified: what other non-retro genre can that be said about? Even modern country music has had more artistic progress in the past decade and a half, and the face of pop music has changed completely ten times over. The industry just keeps churning out guyliner, leather and black-clad dudebros playing this kind of music, and presumably — and even more baffingly — the industry is just responding to demand: people keep eating it up! This is a number one song!
But step back and think about it and you’ll realize that it kind of makes sense: the parts of the U.S. in which this kind of music is popular are exactly the parts where people are completely averse to change. Keep it conservative, keep things just the way they are, dang these newfangled trends and their harbingers for “progress:” everything is fine just the way it is right now! Why change anything? If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.
And so, if I’m an A&R guy at a record label, may as well continue to sign ho-hum bands like Pop Evil. Sorry, aspiring post-atmospheric-noise-doom-core metal musician, you’re SOL.