Wednesday, March 21, 2018

About unlistenability

The US National Recording Registry has announced its latest tranche of recordings to be preserved for their cultural significance, which raises all sorts of choice and meaty questions about canonicity and taste making* and whether ‘Footloose’ by Kenny Loggins may be enjoyed outwith the arch finger-quotes of irony. But I’m rather startled by the BBC coverage of the story, which labels seminal 1967 album New Sounds in Electronic Music by Steve Reich et al as “now practically unlistenable” while nodding through the Proceedings of the United Nations Conference on International Organization, and Rhythm Is Gonna Get You by Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine without a quibble. I know which one I’d prefer to subject my friends to at my funeral...

* Essentially, a) Who decides? b) How and why do they decide?

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