The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

7 February 2004

I know I'll never lose affection

Fifteen-year-old Emma Zevin lives in San Francisco, and she is not thrilled with the present-day pop scene. Entertainment Weekly (#751) quotes her as follows:

I think most pop music today is sort of stupid, geared to people who just want to be cool for listening to it rather than who actually like it.

Emma is currently completing her collection of Beatles CDs.

I wouldn't have thought, forty years after the fact, that the Four would still be considered Fab, but in some small way I feel that my musical tastes, such as they are, have been vindicated.

And you know, that can't be bad.

Posted at 9:40 PM to Tongue and Groove

Most pop music of any era will be vapid and mindless, for two reasons:

1. Sturgeon's Law ("Ninety-five percent of anything is crud.");
2. Lafferty's Law ("The lowest common denominator of the universe is both low and common.").

Those are the reasons for the concept of a classic. Time filters out the crud and the phenomena propelled mainly by fashion more effectively than any other mechanism.

Anything that's within the easy reach of millions is unlikely to be more than a passing fashion. Some of it will endure, if it's genuinely good. But for most of us to be confronted with the enthusiasms of our younger days makes us cringe, not because the fads of today are different, but because the fads of any era, once removed from their time of origin, are so obviously superficial and self-important.

Charles, I think you've just given me my topic for today's Palace column.

Posted by: Francis W. Porretto at 5:34 AM on 8 February 2004

Actually, Ted Sturgeon was slightly more generous than that — only ninety percent, in his estimation, fell under the general heading of crud — but the truth of what he said varies not a whit.

Posted by: CGHill at 9:16 AM on 8 February 2004