What do you think of when you think of war music? Maybe you think of the civil war style snare drum with an accompanying trumpet, maybe you think of an orchestra of brass and strings that could be put to a war movie about brave soldiers in harrowing circumstances — there’s a good chance you think of Jimi Hendrix or Creedence Clearwater Revival.

I’ll tell you what I think of: the top 40 pop hits of 2011.

Going into the military, I assumed most people would be listening to Vietnam-era music, or country and metal. Country music seemed to reflect the people who I assumed joined the military, and metal felt like it would match the aggression you’d need to rage your way through rough training (don’t judge me, I didn’t know anything about the military). I was partly right, those were definitely common genres during my time there.

Let me start by saying I absolutely did not like pop music going into the army. I was a movie soundtrack nerd, and I loved alternative, folk or anything Bob Dylan. I turned my nose up at anything with that electronic, dance-centric sound and someone singing about grinding on the dance floor, or making obscene amounts of money, or whatever other things super rich young people brag about.