“I’ve long suspected that those who rail most vehemently against the banalities of mainstream pop do so because they can’t stand the fact that they react to the music. It drives them crazy to hear a snippet of ‘I Just Called to Say I Love You’ and then have the damned hook bouncing around their head for the rest of the afternoon. But rather than face the issue head on, and risk admitting that there’s something appealing about the bald melodicism and sentimentality of such a tune, they instead go into denial, denigrating people who do like the tune, and even urging that the thing be wiped from the face of the earth.”
– J.D. Considine, rockcritics.com interview, 2000
One thought on “Pop as Self-denial”
I love this quote because I witnessed a perfect realization of it back in the ’80s when I worked at Sunrise Records on Yonge St. It was right after Michael Jackson’s *Bad* was released, and the title track was playing, quite loudly, on a Saturday afternoon. These three guys, probably in their twenties, walk into the store, and immediately start snickering and mocking the music, but one of the guys really goes to town, whooping wildly with his voice (mimicking Jackson’s high-pitched shrieks) and dancing around in an exaggerated fashion. He was clearly taking the piss, but even then, it seemed to me that he was, in fact, experiencing a genuine rush from the music–you could see in his body language that he was experiencing a weird kind of freedom, weird only because he would have been the first to vehemently deny it.