In a recent interview, Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder said of today’s pop music, “It’s crap that people seem to like. And I don’t know if it has meaning. I don’t know if one of the pop songs of the summer has any fiber in it. People are consuming it, and is it healthy? … It seems like it has a really high fructose content.” 

Intentional or not, I think Vedder hit the jackpot with this comparison. People—and particularly Americans—are consuming record amounts of crap food, food with off-the-charts sodium contents, food with dangerously high cholesterol and fat counts, food with more high-fructose corn syrup, chemicals and other additives than natural, healthful ingredients. They are consuming junk.

And they are consuming junk when they listen to music and watch TV and movies. That’s why junky pop music, with little-to-no sustaining value, is topping the charts. It’s why illiterate programming (like all the Housewives shows and other such schlock) continually delivers record ratings. It’s why Hollywood keeps churning out formulaic, thoughtless drivel while independent studios are folding. It’s even why terrible shows like Rock of Ages continue to play while people walk out of the fantastic Annie Baker play, The Flick.

Do we care about what we put into our bodies? Is caring for what you’re consuming in danger of becoming a niche market of sorts? Am I being judgmental? (It’s possible. But Eddie Vedder said it first!)

The problem with all of the schlock is it doesn’t seem to heed Vedder’s fellow grunge-era rocker Dave Grohl’s advice, which is that whatever you put out should be you. It should come from your heart. It should sound like you. It should say something about who you are. That’s what expression is all about. Anything else is just a masturbatory exercise.

(Interview in Rolling Stone magazine, October 10, 2013, issue, interview conducted by Brian Hiatt.)


Thrill: From the Vault, RS 690, September 8th, 1994

Top 10 Singles

  1. Boyz II Men, I’ll Make Love to You
  2. Lisa Loeb and Nine Stories, Say (I Missed You)
  3. John Mellencamp and Me’Shell NdegeOcello, Wild Night
  4. Babyface, When Can I See You
  5. Changing Faces, Stroke You Up
  6. Coolio, Fantastic Voyage
  7. Elton John, Can You Feel the Love Tonight
  8. All-4-One, I Swear
  9. Warren G, This DJ
  10. Ace of Base, Don’t Turn Around

Granted, some of those songs are awful (I’m looking at you, Ace of Base,) but they bring up delicious feelings of nostalgia, particularly of my youth-in-revolt-against pop phase.

Chill: Top 40 Albums [current – for the week of August 26th, 2009]

Number 3 – Third Eye Blind.

 Ugh. Gross.  First of all, they have a new album? Why? Second, and really the more important question, people are buying it? Why?? They’re so awful, I’d rather listen to Ace of Base. Stephen Jenkins – what a douche cougar. Meanwhile, Green Day dropped eight spots and Neil Diamond went from number two to six.  Music buying public, you’ve got some splainin’ to do!