Most of the time, modern pop music as a whole is classified as an unintelligent and pandering genre, a platform for made-for-radio singles from artists that are just a few years away from being has-beens. Despite all the harsh criticism it gets, pop houses are absolute works of art that deserve more than the senseless hate the entire scene takes; and sometimes it births out the most inspiring anthems and the catchiest hooks. Let’s take a look at some of the brightest albums modern pop has to offer.
1. Lady Gaga – The Fame
This album single-handedly defined the club-pop sound of the late 2000s with Just Dance, Poker Face, and Love Game, but despite housing humongous dance songs, The Fame carefully ebbs through its consistent beats so well that listening to it never becomes exhausting. Beautiful, Dirty, [and] Rich, this debut by the would-be worldwide megastar is an absolute solid disco treat.
2. Carly Rae Jepsen – Emotion
Filled with all the happiness in the world and backed up by nostalgia-inducing 80s undertones, you’ll be wrong to pass Ms. Jepsen off as just that Call Me Maybe girl. This throwback-feels compilation pulls you in with a sax intro and just proceeds to bombard you with some of the most infectious and electric hooks. Exploding with color and wholesomeness, Emotion is a fun and well-put bubblegum/dance pop effort that’s sure to grab even the finickiest pop doubters.
3. Kimbra – Vows
You might only know her as the other half of Gotye’s hit ballad Somebody That I Used To Know, but she’s definitely got more tricks up her sleeve. This Kiwi’s debut album is a collection of experimental art pop tunes that successfully lulls listeners in a trance with the occasional neo-noir atmosphere (Two-Way Street, Good Intent) and forces you to pay attention to the shoulder-popping grooves (Cameo Lover, Come Into My Head) once she flips the switch. Vows is ambitious and exhilarating, and never will its tracks let you forget that.
4. Lorde – Pure Heroine
What would you do if your indie single turns into a mainstream hit overnight? For Lorde, the only logical thing to do is write more hits, and she did just that. Featuring Yelich-O’Connor’s relatable stories of growing up and the curiosity she has towards stardom and royalty, Pure Heroine champions a technically minimalistic sound that eventually became a form other pop acts sought to emulate (see Halsey). If seeing someone start a musical trend with her first-ever album (at the ripe age of 16) doesn’t impress you, we don’t know what else will.
5. Kesha – Rainbow
Ditching the dollar sign wasn’t the only thing Kesha did when she came back to the stage with Praying – her first single, after the controversial case she filed against Dr. Luke, one of pop music’s biggest behind-the-scenes giants. It turns out that her lead track was just the tip of the iceberg, as she delivers an organic and graceful transition to a more mature sound for her newest album with Woman and Learn To Let Go, anthems of self-empowerment that are sure to leave you dancing around its impressive pop-rock wall of sound. With a little help from music legends Queens of the Stone Age (Let ‘Em Talk, Boogie Feet) and Dolly Parton (Old Flames (Can’t Hold A Candle To You)), Kesha sheds off all the unnecessary glitz and glamour we’ve seen her falsely embrace before—and treats us with songs of hope and encouragement we never knew we needed.
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