It has been four years since my last list of pop aphorisms. I thought it was high time for another.
1. The discovery of the teen idol was to pop music what the discovery of the star system was to Hollywood.
2. Brill Building composers are to the Sixties teenager what filmmaker John Hughes is to the Eighties teenager.
3. Improvisation is the name for privileging performance over composition, while pretension may be understood as the name for uninspired improvisation. No drum solo ever heard on a rock album must be considered as improvisation.
4. The rock drum solo is simply a form of Modernist bluster.
5. "Noise" must be understood as simply another category of taste.
6. If fans of rock music hadn't routinely violated the dictum, "don't judge a book by its cover," records in cut-out bins never would have been purchased.
7. Rock culture's most pernicious myth: initial failure is a sign of greatness.
8. One unanticipated consequence of the Beatles' success was the Sixties garage band, while an unanticipated consequence of the garage band was the groupie.
9. Rock critics' greatest theoretical challenge: how to explain why the worst records they've ever heard have perhaps ten or fifteen wonderful minutes, while the best records they've ever heard have perhaps ten or fifteen wonderful minutes.
10. Rock critics' second greatest theoretical challenge: how to distinguish between the music of fans trying to be artists from the music of artists trying to be fans.