steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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PERFECTION is hard to achieve
It's early in the morning and I'm sitting here, listening to Built To Spill and thinking about pop music.  Nothing special really.  But this time I'm not just thinking about all my favourite indie rock bands and labels, instead I'm thinking about something much more deep.  Something much more important.  You see, folks, I'm thinking about the perfect pop song.  Yes, the real perfect pop song, NOT the term us reviewers toss into a review frivolously to express our enthusiasm about a particular record.

The first thing I have to get out of the way is that the perfect pop song does not exist yet.  No, not even Built To Spill has written it.  I believe there is only one perfect pop song and no one has come across it yet; nobody has put the right notes in the right order.  Perhaps parts of it do exist - like the chord progression or the rhythm or parts of the chorus - heck, perhaps all the parts of it exist - but nobody's put everything together yet.  Yes, many people have come close (hasn't everyone had a near bout with perfection?), but so far it has not been excavated from the mines of pop songwriting.

The perfect pop song is, in some ways, like absolute zero - while we've gotten so close to it, we just can't seem to grab on to it.  And, like its icy counterpart, we still aren't sure whether it's even possible to achieve.  But it feels as if there's something - just something - out there.  And while everyone is on the look-out for it, as its marketing and profit possibilities are endless, many people are actually scared of what it can do.  In some ways, the perfect pop song is more dangerous than smallpox - if it gets out, it will indefinitely ruin everyone's ears for other music.  Why's this?  Well, the perfect pop song will replace the need for other tunes to be created.  It would function as an entire music library in the course of two-and-a-half minutes (or however long it may be).  And, even more incredibly, the perfect pop song will never get old - even after a million listens, it will retain its original beauty.

While the argument for the existence of the perfect pop song is largely a fruitless one, and nobody's going to have any case until it is finally created, its mystic lull is largely unparalleled in the musical world today.  And while many theories can be presented - that it wouldn't have lyrics, that it wouldn't have lyrics in any existent dialect, or even that any combination of words would go with it - nothing's proven until evidence is given.

Whether you're a believer or not, though, the perfect pop song will forever live as a symbol for the end of planned musical obsolescence.

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