Alert readers may recall that I have on several occasions this year had a little fun at the expense of extremely irksome New York Times pop music critic Kelefa Sanneh, a guy who at heart believes that pop music really is (or at least should be) nothing more than good looking young kids with great haircuts. The kind of critic who could write embarassing sub-Tiger Beat gush like this --
There have been ominous signs for months. Like the pair of flip-flops that showed up in the mail, courtesy of some record label looking to influence the outcome. And the half-hearted arguments among friends who seemed to be merely going through the motions. And the stagnant pop charts, which all but eliminated suspense.
Yes, it’s probably time to stop talking about the so-called Song of the Summer
-- for the Newspaper of Record and yet not die of shame.
Alert readers will recall as well that I have found time to scratch my head over the fact that the Times pop music coverage generally (Sanneh's the worst, but he's not alone) is so ponderous and shallow while its movie coverage is so entertaining and perceptive.
So it was not without a certain irony when I noticed that the paper's really excellent Arts and Leisure feature on Bruce Springsteen and his new album this weekend was NOT by one of their pop guys, but rather by estimable film critic A.O. Scott (who got the album exactly right, I might add -- read it here). I don't know which Times editor was responsible for the decision to allow this little bit of turf poaching, but all I can say is -- more, please.
Meanwhile, you can contrast it with Hugo Lindgren's amusingly snarky but surprisngly obtuse take on the same album in this week's New York Magazine. Obtuse in the sense that Lindgren didn't seem to notice the 800 pound gorilla in the room, i.e., the album's Iraq War subtext.