How Alt Is Pop? The Indie Bands Our Favorite Mainstream Musicians Love

We've always wondered what it's like to be a pop star. Especially when it comes to musical preferences — after all, it's not like they're sitting around listening to themselves on the radio, right? Well, not so surprisingly, most of our favorite mainstream singers (think Beyoncé, Taylor Swift, and Katy Perry) have playlists that expand beyond their own genre. In fact, most of pop's leading ladies have indie favorites.
We decided to take a look at these adorable pairings, and find out just who makes the cut when it comes to some of the lesser-known acts. While the idea of Taylor Swift jamming out to anyone other than the Phillip Phillips' of the world may seem a little funny to you, this actually isn't an odd phenomenon. With the advent of Spotify and all sorts of other Internet fads, the line between indie and mainstream is becoming more and more blurred. So blurred, in fact, that we even began to wonder at what point the fact that pop stars love indie music stops even being a thing — and, what does this mean for music genres as a whole? We'll be pondering that for awhile, but in the meantime read on to find out who loves Kendrick Lamar shows, and who makes up their own lyrics to Sigur Rós.
Thanks to Solange, Beyoncé is on her way to hipsterdom. For her iTunes playlist, Bey explained how she came to know and love MGMT: "I was with my sister recently when she played this song. I love it." Of course Solange showed Bey MGMT...of course she did. She probably showed her James Blake, too, because "The Wilhelm Scream" was one of her favorite songs of 2011. Rock on, Bey.

Photo: Courtesy of Tumblr / mydamnblog.

Katy Perry
Elliphant has literally been on the scene for only a few months, and this pop princess is obsessed. Someone's been doing some late night Pitchfork trolling.
Photo: Via Twitter
Demi Lovato
Demi Lovato probably patted herself on the back when 2011 rolled around and Neon Indian was literally everywhere on the indie scene — because she knew about him before he was mainstream.
Gwyneth Paltrow
Okay, so she's not a pop star, but she did cover CeeLo once. Oh, and she's married to Coldplay Chris Martin. This playlist, however, is more important than any Glee cover she pranced her way through. Just look at it — it exudes Brooklyn loft living (papasan chairs, Urban Outfitters bags ironically hung on your exposed brick wall for decoration, and a fridge full of Brooklyn-Brewery-lager-kind-of-living). Seriously, Deerhunter? Beach House? Chief Keef's "I Don't Like?" Gwen, this isn't very GOOP of you... or is it?
Photo: Courtesy of Touchstone Pictures.
It's no surprise Ke$ha's into the hard-rock scene. Who else would she use Jack Daniels as toothpaste with? For her sophomore album, Warrior, she went beyond just liking them — she full-on collaborated with The Black Keys, The Strokes, and Iggy Pop. "I'm a huge fan of their music," Ke$ha told NME. "They're on one of my favorite songs on the record." Now that she's collaborated with them, does this mean she's one of them?
Photo: Courtesy of Ke$ha.
Taylor Swift
You know, sometimes you just need a really ambient swell of music to validate the feelings you're having, and Iceland's Sigur Rós is basically the go-to band for feelings. The fact that Taylor Swift finds comfort in them earns her some respect in our books. She told Oprah: "My 18-year-old brother turned me on to the Icelandic band Sigur Rós — they make me happy and take me away to dreamland. I love trying to memorize the words, even though they're singing in their own language. Sometimes I'll make up some lyrics. It gets pretty interesting." So, not only is her brother super cool, Taylor also uses Sigur Rós to validate her memory slips, too.
Photo: Courtesy of Big Machine Records, LLC.

Lady Gaga
She's known to have a penchant for rock (her name is inspired by a Queen song, after all), but Lady Gaga's got indie cred, too. She collaborated with rapper-of-the-moment Kendrick Lamar before he was big (unfortunately their demo never made the LP cut), and even flew out to Pitchfork just to see him.
Miley Cyrus
Miley worked with Tyler, The Creator on her upcoming album. Tyler, The Creator, guys. Is there anything else we need to say?
Photo: Courtesy of Instagram / @pharrell

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