Re: Does contemporary popular/mainstream music mostly suck?
Pop is musically more vapid than other genres, but honestly not as much as people make it to be.
Usually the people who love rock and punk (which are not that much more musically/lyrically interesting than pop and are often worse) are those that shit on pop most, but most regular music makers have some respect for pop. The biggest strength of mainstream pop nowadays is hybridization of genres.
I think the biggest problem[s] with pop/mainstream music is honesty of the artist and duplication of sound. Many songs will have derivative vibes from current trends. Pop is often dishonest because the singer is essentially just told what to sing.
I often prefer a ridiculous party song than to a pop ballad particularly because ballads should be more connected and honest. However, you get songs from Adele and Duffy etc. which while interesting and well sung, they are adulated by a lot of people yet I cannot help but feel some degree of fakeness, more so for some than others. The challenge for pop singers is to make songs their own.