You know it's funny - when I moved to New York, I essentially altogether stopped listening to the radio, because I stopped driving. So for the better part of 3 years, I knew songs that became monster hits & songs that got played at bars, but I had more or less no idea what was "mainstream" music. Oh, except for songs that became part of the baller medlies. Obvs. This of course happened not because of a conscientious abstention from pop music but rather a matter of simple circumstance, rather than my younger days of trying to suit my music taste to fit that of my punk and alternative loving friends.
Then I began working at a dance studio, and my life was all top-40 all the time. A friend and I had a conversation last summer wherein he decided to see how many songs on the Billboard Hot 100 he knew - he came up with 6 in the top 10, I came up with 45 in the top 60. Which, though faintly humiliating, also lead me to a realization - of those songs certainly MANY sucked, but there were a good number I actually enjoyed.
I've spent most of my life having an extremely eclectic music taste - I've always said that I'll listen to anything as long as it's good. And yet, I've also spent quite a long time trying to make my music taste suit that of those around me - listening to alternative bands or indie bands or rap artists or hair metal bands because someone close to me said it was worth listening to, and pretending to like bands I love less because they were a cliche or obvious or unpopular choice. Then I got sick of that and decided that YES, I do love the Spice Girls in a non-ironic way and YES, I still count Something Corporate among my favorite bands and NO, I really don't actually like Taking Back Sunday. Etc.
Oh and by the way? Yeah. Some radio music is pretty fucking catchy and even really good.
So mainstream music? Yeah. Fine. This is me turning in my fake hipster card once and for all.