Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Quote of the Day (Jody Rosen, on “Don’t Stop Believin’” as the Peak of Schlock Rock)

“ ‘Don’t Stop Believin’” hasn’t just stuck around: It has sunk its teeth into the collective unconscious. Today, the song sounds irrefutable; its dramatic slow-boiling arrangement — the tolling piano chords, arcing 16th-note guitar riffing, and mock-operatic vocals — is the essence of arena-rock grandeur….In short, 33 years after its release, ‘Don’t Stop Believin’’’ is pop-music Holy Writ. History has certainly been kinder to Journey than to the reviewers who savaged them....[T]oday Journey’s anthem haunts our culture like no other song from 1981. ‘Don’t Stop Believin’’ has become a standard not in spite of the qualities that repelled critics — the clichés, the pretensions, the overweening emotionalism, Steve Perry’s too-tight jeans and too-tremulous tenor. It has become a standard because of them. Put another way, ‘Don’t Stop Believin’’ has endured because it belongs to a tradition that has given us our most indestructible songs, a tradition as time-honored, as sturdy, as it is maligned: schlock.”— Jody Rosen, “In Defense of Schlock Music: Why Journey, Abba, and Lionel Richie Are Better Than You Think,” New York Magazine, June 2-8, 2014  

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