Dialectic of Pop, 281–296


III. Fabrication


There is no sure-fire formula for hits, and they always seem more accomplished and better able to resist the passage of time when they apparently irreducible to any preexisting formula. But it is always possible to try to understand them retroactively—after one has sobered up, so to speak. For some time now a whole literature has existed for the use of apprentice composers. Today more than ever, countless video analyses of hits are available, bringing together elements from musicology and psychoacoustic theory, notions from aesthetics and from the history of public tastes and fashions. YouTube is full of videos of deconstruction sessions and advice for those who want to write a hit33 as well as for listeners who want to understand what has hooked them into hits of the moment.…