Dialectic of Pop, 311–318


V. Subjective Supplement


The aesthetic idea of hits is inseparable from childhood epiphanies. Searching oneself for the purest experience of delight at a hit song, one will usually come back to some childhood memory, a memory from an age when the suspicion of standardization was not so acute. Sometimes a revisionist adult impulse leads us to judge with condescension the tastes of the child that we once were, a fan of the radio hits of Herman’s Hermits (‘No Milk Today’) and Daniel Balavoine (‘L’Aziza’, ‘Petite Angèle’). But it is very often thanks to this simplicity that the promise of pop was first revealed to us. The delight to be had from listening to new hit songs is hardly comparable—worse, it sometimes gives way to a form of disbelief at the fact that songs so lacking in personality can be such popular successes.…