POP AGENT: 4 Things We Learned In Pop Music (May 14)

Paramore is sad. Imagine Dragons is bad. Miley is…happy?

1. Your favorite bands from middle school aren’t emo anymore. They’re just emotional.


“Fake Happy” — Paramore (Spotify)

“Grudges” — Paramore (Spotify)

Despite the relative transparency of our social media age, few bands have broadcast their internal strife to their fans. Sure, we’ve got the recent ballad of Camila Cabello, and who could forget Zayn’s horridly generic reasons for leaving One Direction? But few artists have responded with actual music that catalogs their trials as a band.

Oh, except for Paramore. Best known for their unapologetic anti-boyfriend-stealing anthems, Twilight merchandising opportunities and signature neon red hair, the three-piece (once four- and five-piece) from Franklin, Tennessee hasn’t shied away from the fact that they don’t get along. Heck, their third album was all about their frustration with their lead guitarist while he was still in the band. Once he quit, he did so in such a public way that lead singer Hayley Williams claimed it was the “the worst day of [her] life”. Yikes!

But have no fear! Paramore still exists. They’re still singing about each other. And they put out an 80’s pop album this week. That’s right, 80’s pop!

So, in case the downward spiral of Fall Out Boy into EDM-madness and the subsequent devolution of All Time Low into EDM-genericness wasn’t a telltale sign, Paramore proves that your favorite emo bands are no longer playing emo music. They just have a lot of feelings.

2. Love-struck Miley wants to swim away with the fishes.

Track: “Malibu” — Miley Cyrus (Spotify)

Let’s be real: Up until 11am on Thursday, you would have said that “Miley Cyrus” is the definition of “shock value”. From Wrecking Balls to Dead Petz (you might have missed this one), the former-Hannah Montana starlet spent years trying to distance herself from her Disney-procured goody-two-shoes image.

But something happened on Thursday that no one could have predicted: Miley put out a new song-video combo that was shockingly… tame.

Featuring a swarm of colorful balloons and a sunshine-y beach, Miley’s new rekindled-love aesthetic can be enjoyed by anyone from one to ninety-two.

So how’s the song? Well, we can’t all be fans. But between her Dad’s name change and her little sister’s summer anthem candidate, Miley Cyrus (and her family) sure knows how to keep us entertained.

3. Imagine Dragons is “creative” because they sing fast.

Track: “Whatever It Takes” — Imagine Dragons (Spotify)

Beware! Imagine Dragons is quickly becoming the American version of Coldplay.

You used to like them; now, your mom likes them because they’re “edgy”.

Their lyrics used to make you smile; now, they make you cringe.

And, against all odds, their album artwork keeps getting more and more nauseatingly neon.

So when Imagine Dragons dropped “Whatever It Takes” on Thursday, hopes were low. Reminiscent of other empowering mainstream pop-rock anthems (looking at you, Lifehouse and Nickelback), the lyrics took a backseat to the overall encouragement-factor. In fact, the band thought that they could sing so fast that we wouldn’t notice the word “vulture-ous” (i.e. full of vultures…?) in the track’s first verse. We noticed!

Additionally, we don’t want you to miss this gem of a pre-chorus:

I wanna be the slip, slip

Word upon your lip, lip

Letter that you rip, rip

That’s right! Imagine Dragons wants you to rip them… like a letter?


We get it. They’re “just a product of the system, a catastrophe” of the pop-rock business. Next time, we just hope they do better.

4. Fetty Wap has come a long way from “Trap Queen”… but we wish he didn’t.

Track: “Aye” — Fetty Wap (Spotify)

Everyone’s favorite rapper is back.

Ok, so not everyone’s favorite. Maybe “favorite” is too strong of word… but he did get three Top 10 hits out of the same song, so someone must like his music.

This time around, Fetty’s “Aye” has exchanged all hints of Remy Boyz catchiness for a monotone faux-freestyle that lasts an unreasonable 4 minutes. Not only that, but we get 42 “aye’s” and 19 “yeah’s” squeezed into one track. (Yeahhhhh, baby.)

While some amateur online trap-stars have better flow than Fetty’s “Aye”, none of them have the cash to produce such an elaborate music video. Complete with Mad Max-esque get-up and shiny cars, the post-apocalyptic ambiance may just save the New Jersey rapper’s lead-off single from obscurity… Maybe.

Either way, it’s clear that Fetty has come a long way from his “Trap Queen” house party roots, and we wish him the best as he gears up for the release of King Zoo on June 7.