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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

In Defense Of Schlock Music: Why We Love/Hate It

Steve Perry was lead singer of Journey during its most successful periods, including the song "Don't Stop Believin'." He's pictured here onstage in New York in 1979. (Ebet Roberts/Redferns)

Steve Perry was lead singer of Journey during its most successful periods, including the song “Don’t Stop Believin’.” He’s pictured here onstage in New York in 1979. (Ebet Roberts/Redferns)

New York Magazine and Vulture.com music critic Jody Rosen defends the kind of over-the-top, sentimental songs that Journey, Lionel Richie, Billy Joel and Prince made famous. He writes, “Schlock, at its finest, is where bad taste becomes great art.”

Rosen talks to Here & Now’s Robin Young about how the tendency towards schlock goes way back in American popular music.

Recent Pieces By Jody Rosen:

What’s your favorite “schocky” song? Tell us on Facebook or in the comments.

Songs Heard In This Segment

Steve Perry sings “Open Arms” live with Eels in June 2014

Journey, “Don’t Stop Believin'”

“Danny Boy,” sung by The Irish Tenors

Stephen Foster’s “The Old Folks At Home,” sung by Paul Robeson

“My Mammy,” sung by Al Jolson

Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides, Now,” 2000 re-recording, sung by Joni Mitchell

Judy Garland sings “Over the Rainbow,” live at Carnegie Hall in 1961

George Jones, “He Stopped Loving Her Today”

Ray Charles, “America The Beautiful”

Katy Perry, “Roar”

Lionel Richie, “Hello”

Lionel Richie and Diana Ross, “My Endless Love”

Prince, “Purple Rain”

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