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Straight-up pop is having a hell of a year
Swift decision to drop her country affect just adds to a pile of undeniable, wide-appeal pop released this year. In addition to Carly Rae Jepsen's bubbly Kylie channeling, there's been Ellie Goulding's slightly more adventurous Brit electro, and Saint Etienne's cool elder statesman record Words and Music by Saint Etienne. "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" sits on a high pinnacle for this sort of thing, with hooks galore and a sharklike momentum that stands up to repeated grocery store exposure. It also has maybe the greatest incredulous "What?" in pop history. This may be blasphemy to some reader segments out there, but I personally like it better than any Whitney Houston song by a significant margin. Maybe the brief, dumb Ke$ha, Rihanna, Katy Perry window is closing? That might be wishful thnking, but well-crafted, non-embarrassing bubblegum is bringing it right now.