Jesse Jarnow

it’s got a good ideology and i can visualize it!

A while back, I thought it would be a good idea to check out the number one song each week. It didn’t happen. For a combination of reasons, it seems like a good time to start.

Like a lot of people of my general disposition – which is to say, white, liberal arts educated, etc. – I have a natural bias against truly popular music. It’s ingrained, and probably more than a mite classist, that if it’s on the charts, it’s probably not worthy of my attention. Snobbish, no?

In a backwards way, pop music has become the most challenging style of music I could possibly approach. Free jazz? Avant-garde experimentalism? Noise? Yeah, yeah. Now, I love me some feedback, minimalist skronk, and atonal bleeping and yowling as much as the next fella, but it’s not that challenging, y’know? Pop music, though? Shit, that’s the avantest of the garde right there.

Pop music is bland because it’s obvious. At least, that’s how that argument runs. (Or, maybe not — but that’s why my guts tell me that I shouldn’t like somebody who’s popular.) But what’s so obvious about it? I dunno. It seems worth investigating. Is there some hump that I need to get over? Some mental block to fart through?

A few things convinced me that I should try this: the first, and most important, is my roommate’s blog. He’s turned me on to some ill pop stuff lately, and I think I’m ready to venture out on my own. The second is an absolutely killer Slate article by Sasha Frere-Jones. Seriously worth reading. Da Capo Best Music Writing material, y’dig? Dunno how it’ll all turn out, but why not, eh? Likewise, a blog, the most instantly ephemeral of critical forms, seems like the perfect forum for this kinda project.

On with the countdown…


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