100 Songs, 2016
For the last three years I’ve waxed self-consciously around about this time of year about how I no longer feel connected to current popular music, how age and isolation and widely varied interests which I am compulsively unable to pursue side-by-side with each other, but only in chunks one at a time, have conspired to rob me of one of the deeper pleasures of my adult life.
I think I have mostly been hyperbolic in that regard. I’ve always played catch-up, I’ve always gone down rabbit holes and ignored broader pictures, I’ve always payed only slight attention to the cultural conversations of the moment. The period 2009-2012, when I was relatively deeply engaged with current chart pop, was an outlier in my adulthood, a product of specific material circumstances and a parasocial milieu that is unlikely to be replicated any time soon.
When do I listen to current pop music, I am still listening primarily to minor global pop scenes (particularly in East Asia, Africa, and Latin America) rather than to whatever is being lauded by the parochial tastemakers of the US and UK, although naturally some big hits and cultural milestones have nevertheless come to my attention. I’ve written very little about what I am listening to this year (only checklisting bits of it on Twitter, or quick drive-by splatters of opinion at the Singles Jukebox), because I’m mostly not qualified to make the kind of assertions about it that I’m tempted to. Surface pleasures, surface knowledge, surface skimming forever.
I’ve written a bit about some of these songs on Medium. I may or may not write more. We’ll see how the month shakes out. I mainly just wanted to get it off my plate, move on to the next thing.