Extremely irksome NY Times pop music critic Kelefa Sanneh went out of his way to really steam my beans yesterday.
Sanneh's basic problem is that he's an overeducated lightweight who can't come to grips with the fact that most of the stuff he likes -- regardless of genre -- is soulless disposable corporate shlock that (in a sane world) should be considered, at best, as guilty pleasures. This leads him to embrace -- usually in lovesick fanboy prose unbecoming of the dignity of a major metropolitan newspaper -- what we in the crit biz refer to as the Murray the K Fallacy, also known as It's What's Happening, Baby! Which is to say that Sanneh believes if something is superficially hep, au courant and selling well that it is also by definition fabulous, emphasis on the first syllable. In other words, pop music is (and should be) nothing more than pink shoes and good looking guys and gals with great haircuts.
Fine. Lord knows there's a place for that, and lord knows I, for one, believe that, say, the Monkees made great records and deserve a slot in the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame.
Still the review Sanneh just wrote about the new Kelly Clarkson album was really a bit much.
Money quote: "Her biggest hit, Since U Been Gone, has become one of this decade’s defining pop songs: a glorious blast of bubblegum emo."
To comprehend how truly silly that statement is, first watch the video for said decade defining song, easily the finest thing of its kind since Pat Benatar's "Love is a Battlefield".
Then imagine if I had written an equivalent sentence in, let's say, 1966. To wit -- "The Monkees biggest hit, I'm a Believer, has become one of this decade’s defining pop songs: a glorious blast of bubblegum exuberance."