By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
As it stands, it makes none. After all, when it comes down to it, a list such as this without one Brian Wilson composition in the top 50 songs is complete bullshit. At best. It's a perfect example of Rolling Stone's complete absence of credibility these days, when songs by the Backstreets, Britney Spears, and 'N Sync are ranked higher than anything by Wilson, whose "God Only Knows" was once deemed "the best pop song I've ever heard" by none other than Paul McCartney. "God Only Knows" didn't even rate a mention here. Ten years ago, apparently, this list would have included New Kids on the Block and Tiffany and Debbie Gibson.
Do not mistake this as a rant about ignoring the past in favor of the future, because that is beside the point. Actually, it's exactly the point. MTV doesn't believe history extends beyond, like, 1980, and Rolling Stone, for years, has been little more than toilet paper with a bar code, kissing more music-industry ass than a hooker at an RIAA convention. They are two organizations with very different ideas of what pop music is, and neither of them very good. MTV has made the singer and the song less important than the kids begging for them on TRL. It is now the domain of 13-year-old, chubby Hispanic girls, uncontrollably weeping and/or whoo!ing at the slightest mention of virtually any band's name. And Rolling Stone is only marginally better, capable of the odd surprise but usually slightly more obsequious than an episode of Inside the Actor's Studio. ("Britney, why are you so pretty? And talented? And pretty?") Label-approved press biographies have tougher questions.
Maybe someday, someone will ask tougher questions, and this is certainly far from the final word. More than anything else, it raises more questions than it answers. Such as: Is "Yesterday" even the best Beatles song, let alone the best pop song ever? Did the producers at MTV and editors at Rolling Stone pick half the list from one of those soft-rock collections they sell on basic cable at 2 a.m. (e.g., Foreigner's "I Want to Know What Love Is" and Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time"), and the other half from one of the more recent installments of Now That's What I Call Music? And just who gets Carson Daly's soul when he dies? Is it Satan, or Nick and A.J. from the Backstreet Boys?
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