For outside of the mass and just listening at home for pleasure, I think it’s fine. Although I’m a classical musician and have about 400+ classical and opera cds, I still listen to pop and folk music of which I have between 50-75+ cds. We were actually just listening to U2 and now are listening to Edvard Grieg.
“Pop” tunes existed at the time Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms. However, even during the time of the music masters their music was considered superior to the pop tunes. Several reasons exist. The masters had an exceptional education in musical theory and form. To produce music with the stringent rules of western music in the time of Palestrina was very difficult. Obeying musical theories such as avoiding parallel fifths in harmony and avoiding dominant to sub-dominant chord progressions to name a couple, and still create original beautiful music is very hard. Now take those same rules and try to make an original sounding work inside the sonata-allegro or Rondo form and you have an explanation of Haydn’s, Mozart’s, and Brahms’s genius.
I can’t think of anyone who would deny the contrapuntal genius of Bach and Palestrina. I don’t really think anyone puts the technical prowess of Mozart and Brahms into the same category as Green Day and Red Hot Chili Peppers. In other words, it would take Wolfie Mozart all of 10 seconds to figure out the form of modern pop tunes. How long would it take a pop musician not musically trained to write a fugue like Bach? The simple fact is common tunes with homophonic guitar strums is easy and requires little technique. Most 1st year guitar students are able to do this. That’s what some people find humourous when they are told that classical and pop music are equal in music composition.
This is not to put down pop and rock musicians and I do know musicians who were classically trained and decided to go the rock route, and you can actually hear some of their training in their music, although they would be first to tell you that their music is still “inferior” to that of the masters and don’t feel bad about admitting it. The rock/pop genre has its place and is fine and fun to listen to.
In terms of the tastes of people, you can’t force people to like or dislike a style of music, so in that regard it’s undersandable how someone would view pop music as equal to classical music. But in terms of musical composition, they are not. You can’t compare them because one form is superior to the other. Recognizing the differences helps me enjoy pop music without having the need to analyze it to search for something deeper in its composition. I know the music is “inferior”, but I’m listening for pleasure, but that’s it. It’s hard to find something spiritual in it for me anymore because of my training, although I do realize that other people could find something inspiring in Christian pop.
Anyway, those are my thoughts.