Dialectic of Pop, 415–426




That element in music which calls for shared joy and for dancing is not devoid of reflexive depth, and this depth itself draws on the emotions. When we began writing this study on the aesthetics of pop, it certainly wasn’t so as to empty it of all the emotions it has afforded us thus far, or those yet to come. In many cases, in recalling hundreds of songs to the author’s mind, the process of theoretical writing has often changed into a listening experience, a recollection of emotions which reflection does not stifle but only makes more vivid. To study pop meant listening to it again, with the kind of wonder that philosophy demands. It didn’t mean domesticating it by submitting it to the categories of reason, but exploring the implicit figures of its aesthetics, the sense of beauty and the good life encapsulated in those voices, those melodies, those guitar glissandi, those ineffable transformations of a groove, those reverberations and noises: it meant deploying (not imprisoning) in discourse the obscure dialectics concealed within songs…