Wednesday assorted links

1. “Vandium titanium cases for your Apple Card cost between $495 to $1293.

2. The eight greatest songwriters?  A good list, mostly spot on, but Paul Simon and Stephen Sondheim deserve more appreciation.

3. Pork shortages must not spoil the party: how the CCP handles information.

4. Ross is right (NYT).

5. Martin Weitzman obituary (NYT), interesting throughout.


#2 seems to leave out much of the world so I'm not sure I would put that much weight on it.

Wisconsin wasn't represented at all!

Fun facts: Sting was not an "art rock" song writer and Cheap Trick hated the song "The Flame" that was written by two song writers before recording it: "Rick Nielsen disliked the song so much on first hearing that he yanked it from the tape player and ground the cassette beneath his boot heel."

Putting punk and new wave artists under the "art rock" heading is a serious "I don't know what I'm talking about" signal.

He should have just said that art-rock is mainly appreciated for the instrumental genius, not the lyrics, and wisely leave it at that. Worthy effort but overall he just took on too much, should have stuck to popular mainstream music.

Personally speaking, I'd vote a Special Songwriting Achievement Award for Triumvirat's Illusions on a Double Dimple -- 25 astonishing minutes about a guy who gets fired and gets drunk.


"Take Puccini, the most melodic opera songwriter by far. One Fine Day from Madame Butterfly, O Mio Babbino Caro from Gianni Schichi, Visi D'Arte from Tosca, Che Gelida Manina from La Boheme, and Nessun Dorma from Turandot. Utterly transportive stuff, but that's it."

Oh, I see.

His later paragraph (one paragraph) devoted to all of classical music reads like a stand-up routine. How about the 150 year tradition of Romantic lieder?

What about "Ch'ella mi creda" from LA FIANCIULLA DEL WEST. Or "Donna non vidi mai" from MANON LESCAUT. There are many other Puccini hits.

Yes. His discussion of classical music is hopeless. And even though his 8 choices are reasonable for 20th century popular music his criteria seem confused.
1) He really can't handle a mix of classical and popular music. Issues like lieder or the many hummable parts of Mozart and Verdi and Puccini that people did routinely hum and sing along with in the 19th century seems unnoticed by him.
2) He can't seem to decide on the relative role of popularity vs. "greatness." His selections put a great emphasis on relative popularity and the well-known quality of the songs. Even his discussion of versatility is a joke. To compare Gershwin, who was a genuinely great classical musician as well as a pop music icon and whose songs virtually dominated the song list covers of most eras of jazz through the 1960s to the versatility of McCartney whose weak attempts at classical would be borderline 3d rate at best seems laughable. And if absolute greatness is the criterion, I would submit that all the good tunes on Turandot would dwarf the quality of virtually every song of his top 8.
3. Worst of all for comparing Puccini to his list, classical would have him deal with the issue of great ENGLISH songs vs songs in other languages. And I'm sure he is incapable of dealing with the whole history of song in the major European languages, let alone Asian ones. After all on any given day, I bet the most popular and long sung songs that are hummed by people in Chinese dwarf the relative influence of all but the top 4 or so on the list.

4.Cathy Young, "When political adversaries are no longer fellow citizens to live with but rather enemies to be crushed, we all lose."

A stopped clock is correct twice each 24 hours.

When fellow citizens are working constantly to undermine the Constitution, just laws, and tried & true principles of justice, we no longer have "differences of opinion." We have an evil revolution, coup, or invasion underway.

An elected member of Congress (Swillwell) suggested the military be ordered to fire nuclear weapons at Americans.

And, if you oppose the coup/revolution/invasion, you're an "alt-Right," a "Fascist," a "Racist," a "White Nationalist/Supremacist." They have no arguments only hate, libels/slanders, and slogans.

"Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who turn darkness to light and light to darkness, who replace bitter with sweet and sweet with bitter ." Isaiah 5:20.

Their gun confiscations will be too late.

san francisco sociologists just rebranded the nra as a domestic terror organization!
+1 postmodern

Dylan up there - but only a one-song nod to BLOOD ON THE TRACKS!?

Is that worse than listing only five Duke Ellington songs and omitting Lush Life entirely? I appreciate the thought and work the author has gien this topic, but that's giving Ellington pretty short shrift.

"Lush Life" was by Ellington's alter ego, Billy Strayhorn. The five Ellington tunes listed were by Ellington himself (I believe).

My error, thank you for the correction about Mr. Straythorn. . . .although I note that McCartney and Lennon are both in the listmaker's Great Eight on the basis of songs that were very often improved by collaboration; so Ellington and Straythorn still might be underrated in these rankings. Professor Cowen is correct that Sondheim certainly is as well

I think the post and its lists are interesting. But I don't even want to begin to think about just how serious I want to take the list. As for Ellington, he's important for the band he led, all the compositions he did, and Strayhorn is a part of that. Whatever that is, it is more than just the songs they wrote. In a wider perspective, not just songs, but music in general, Ellington is certainly one of the most important musicians of the 20th century.

3: "The American right in the Trump era has a racism problem. It’s fed by a Republican president who race-baits"

Well, I read the first 19 words, and all of them were a lie. Pretty standard for the NYT. I think I'll stop there, but thanks!

Being race neutral now is the new race-baiter. I googled for examples, but only got examples of the WP and NYT reading race into a true comment by Trump that had nothing to do with race. They say if you can hear the whistle, you're the dog.

We've given up on Fact based journalism. And this isn't just a Left wing issue, both sides do it now. They read tea leaves and perform idiosyncratic motive interpretation to paint their opponents in the worst light. And then get mad when the opposition does the same in return.

Everyone needs to take deep breaths and lighten up.

"We've given up on Fact based journalism."

When was this time when journalism was based in facts? Not since I became aware in the late 1970's

I think the big difference is that before there had to be *some* facts to construct a narrative around. Now they just throw up some tweet and make up whatever story they like.

Yeah, maybe that's correct. Certainly I remember Dan Rather just editorializing on the Evening News that was more narrative than factual. Still, it felt like most News Reporters wouldn't just blatantly ignore the actual words. Granted, politicians would. But the Reporters of 20-30 years ago would often phrase things as "Democrat XYZ says X, Republican ABC disputes this point and says A". There seemed to be much less of a "reporter" expressing an opinion as if it were Fact.

Furthermore, there's been a definite trend towards reporters casting political differences of opinions as lies or misinformation.

I think the only difference was back then there was less access to other sources and so fewer people knew that they were lying.

Maybe the only difference is back then we thought they were facts and now we don't. We now select news sources based on confirmation bias. We do it for the neurotransmitters we serve.

Nice one, +5 internet points

As Biden and AOC have both pointed out lately, there are facts and there is Truth. The two aren't synonymous.

Yeah, all I was allowed to see for free was the hed, sub-hed and first graf, all apologetically harping on how racist we are. So screw it.

Racism in The West:

whadda ya do when race baiting hoaxes go wrong?
we reckon mebbe come up with a novel postmodern new legal theory!
blame the police for investigating the hoax too thoroughly!
+1 postmodern

Dave Chappelle on Jussie Smollet. From "Sticks and Stones".

Trigger warning for sjws and the mouse.

Ian López tries to help you out.

Oh the author of

“Merge Left: Fusing Race and Class, Winning Elections, and Saving America.”

writes an op-Ed about racism.

How quaint.

You aren't in favor of "Fusing Race and Class" and "Saving America?" It seems like both parties should say they are, in order to "Win Elections."

Basically you have defined a structural problem for Republicans lurking behind the one López describes in his excellent essay:

If Republicans simply leave it to Democrats to "welcome all races," how can Republicans not end up as a white party formed from the remainder?

A party, as polling indicates, increasingly centered in "no college whites."

And crazy old dudes who think the alt-right is the only thing standing against nuclear self-attacks.

You seem not to know who Ian Haney Lopez is.

Which is the least surprising thing I’ll learn today.

I’ll give you a hint, you’re not even naming him correctly. He changed his name from Ian Haney to Ian Haney Lopez.

For someone who went on a rant about Bay Area weirdness yesterday, citing the head of the Critical Race Theory movement at Berkeley is hilariously hypocritical.

Self awareness isn't his strong suit.

You seem unaware of how bad that response is.

1) It attacks me.

2) It attacks Ian.

3) It makes no contact whatsoever with the content of the essay.

I think the essay is actually pretty even handed, explaining why both Democrats and Republicans "group" as they do in the age of Trump. To thumbnail:

Trump attacks Judge Curiel in 2016.

Democrats say "that's racist!" because it is, and it strengthens their hand.

Republicans cast around for every possible fig leaf to maintain the fiction that it's not racist, so as not to lose status.

And then in September 2019 many of you here are offended that anyone would remember and recognize this pattern, endlessly repeated.

You are upset that Tyler and Ross can see that the sky is blue.

Well, López is telling you why they see blue.

Trump says a guy who's a member of a racist organization might be prejudiced. That's supposed to be concerning? In rational times it would be just obvious.

"The intended target of the message — the racist voter — understood completely, while leaving the politician ‘plausible deniability’ with non-racist voters.”

Yet the politician feels defrocked.

You seem to have an issue with reading comprehension.

I never attacked Ian Haney Lopez (née Haney). He is a Berkeley law professor who gained prominence by publishing papers on Critical Race Theory. That’s his field.

I never mentioned Trump, I only pointed out the absurdity of your behavior. Specifically, your complete dismissal of “Bay Area Weirdness” having any real outlets or influence and then citing one immediately as an authority in under 24 hours.


Someone cites Berkeley professor on Critical Gender Theory as an example of X

You dismiss it as extremist and an example of Bay Area weirdness that no one pays attention to.

In under 24 hours you cite a Berkeley Professor of Critical Race Theory in his Op-Ed piece as an authority on race and politics.

This conversation happens and you turn it into something about Trump from 4 years ago.

Everyone rolls their eyes.

You can't stop talking about his other efforts. As a means of attack.

Do you actually have a political philosophy, or only an enemies list?

Not that I care, you are very boring.

Good summary, +5 internet points

"I never mentioned Trump"

only because all this had nothing to do with the linked essay

Don’t have to change your name anon.

If you attack all Berkeley Critical Theory professors as so outside the mainstream that their voice is completely ignored by the left, and then in under 24 hours cite one as an authority, then you’re being hypocritical.

And bringing in a Trump fiasco from 2015 to defend yourself is a prima facie absurd attempt to change the subject.

As to the essay itself it’s no different from Thomas Frank with a racial twist. Same shit they’ve been peddling for decades.

These rubes/deplorables/white trash are so blinded by racism/abortion/Christianity to vote “in their own interest.”

“In their own interest” meaning banning all semi-auto guns (aka 90% of guns), opening the border to all comers south of the Rio Grande and thus eliminating their franchise, giving all illegal immigrants free healthcare and welfare, race based affirmative action in colleges, and accepting the left wing view that the US is responsible for all the world’s ills, and white cishet men are responsible for all the nations ills.

But hey, they’ll get ... something. Not sure what that something is. But Democrat party officials are furious that they don’t value it. Medicaid ? They work. Section 8? They’re working class they don’t qualify. Unions? That’ll move the factory to Mexico.

This pretty much.

Ross Douthat: "I like the false narrative that right = racist, but not when its against my friends."

4. Does J.D. Vance believe America needs more black and brown babies? Are liberals humorless because they don’t appreciate the fine distinction between bigoted statements meant as sarcasm and bigoted statements meant as bigotry? Can’t liberals take a good joke about Jews? The parable of Jesus and the prostitute is one of my favorites, for nobody is without sin. If Douthat had used the parable to make his point about criticism of conservatives it would be much more effective. Instead, he whines about conservatives being misunderstood by the Pharisees, I mean the liberal mob.

I prefer the parable of the politician and the prostitute.

A politician and a hooker were seated at a bar. The pol said, "I've been in office 40 years and I am an honest man." The pro said, "I've been a prostitute for ten years and I'm a virgin."

Re: Trump's Jewish daughter and grandchildren. Tragically, two Jewish gentlemen were on the deck of the Titanic as it was sinking. One wept. The other said, "Why are you crying? It isn't your boat."

Is your real name Leo Gorcey?

Classy. Did you post to the correct blog?

The parable of Jesus and the prostitute is one of my favorites, for nobody is without sin. If Douthat had used the parable to make his point about criticism of conservatives it would be much more effective. Instead, he whines about conservatives being misunderstood by the Pharisees, I mean the liberal mob.

I agree, they seem to be loosing the idea of universality. They seem to be moving toward believing that all the problems in the world are due to white people, except left wing white people.

Well considering that Mr. Vance already has one "brown baby" I suspect he does indeed want more as a newly converted Catholic. I mean it is not like Usha Chilukuri sounds all that white-bread.

Does this fact change a lick of your opinion about Vance or his positions? I doubt it. Just as the fact innumerable pro-lifers have adopted children with medical needs in great number from Africa has never changed the charges of racism.

As somebody who gets this a lot, nothing is more racist than people assuming my well reasoned and strongly held convictions could not originate from a person of my race.

The vast majority of the pro-life movement is actively okay with more babies of any ethnicity and has been so for its entire history. It is the pro-choice side whose historical leaders were rapid racists and eugenicists who wished to limit black and brown fertility.

I never understand why people find it so hard to believe that the positions of some religious conservative might not have a strong racial component even when the opinion is shared by the vast bulk of Africans today and was religious dogma for the last 2000 years when the whitest northern Europeans were the barbarian heathens.

At the end of the day, yeah pretty much every pro-natalist in the US is fine with more non-white babies. It is only abundantly evident if you read their work, watch their concrete actions, or observe their personal lives.

The citizens UK are being CUCKED and you don’t even mention that in your links?!!! Brexit is being CUCKED!

based on the length of the eyelashes
we reckon this might be another hate crime hoax reckoning
just like david brooks predicted in the
+1 postmodern

#2 I gotta stand up for Stephin Merritt (Magnetic Fields, etc.). Partly because he can write in the styles of many on the named list. And he clears the Prolific Bar (see "69 Love Songs"). A Tin Pan Alley writer out of his time. Also, he got a cover story from the NYT Magazine, and they are never wrong (just kidding...).

Also, if one is going to include Eric Carmen for All By Myself, add Rachmaninoff, since the Carmen song is based on one of the Russian's piano pieces (and even pays royalties to Rocky's estate).

Finally, no argument with TC's remark that Sondheim and Simon deserve more praise, but it is interesting that one thing that unites those two is their, let us say, strong sense of self-esteem? I think each would rank himself as #1, frankly. Maybe the reviewer was aware of this and wanted to take them down a peg (whatever a peg is...)

5. First time I read that Weitzman committed suicide. What a shame. He really deserved the Nobel Prize alongside Nordhaus.

What? He had evidence against the Clintons?

Indeed. I have very high admiration and respect for him, but did not know about his internal struggles that now seem apparent. Being passed over for a Nobel was presumably just the triggering event or tipping point, most economists get passed over for Nobels and don't get depressed about it, so he presumably had something else already going on.

And no one's mentioned Alan Krueger. Maybe it's just a coincidence but if there's one group who'd I'd expect to have a low suicide rate, it'd be successful economists. There've probably been others who committed suicide but I didn't hear of any until Krueger. And now Weitzman.

Weitzman had just recently retired, and the NY Times obit claims that for the first time someone had recently found an error in a working paper that he circulated. And then there was the Nobel pass over. Maybe he saw his life's work at an end and saw no point in going on. Some people, economists especially, wrap themselves in their work so much that their work becomes their lives. But he had plenty of economics left in him, if he wanted to continue that route.

Maybe health problems had affected his mental state causing the downward spiral that his colleagues observed? Or maybe he had been diagnosed, or suspected that he had Alzheimers and did not want to wait around for the decline?

By coincidence, yesterday I read this essay from a few years back by a doctor saying that he hoped to live to 75 and no longer. Weitzman was about 77, with the mental decline that he had noticed, did he decide that his good time on earth was finished?

I do wonder about that incident described in the obit: has there ever been an economist who never had an error in the pre-published drafts of their papers (let alone their published ones)?

#2 - Guy is a typical music critic, snide toward anything he doesn't like and overly forgiving of insufferable crap like Lennon's "Imagine." Anyone who takes people like that seriously deserves the tin ears they'll be cursed with for the rest of their lives.

Correct. At least he also identifies Rap with novelty music and quite interestingly opines that it’s essentially anti-melodic.

I agree about Paul Simon.

Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys produced music comparable to the Beatles in the 1960s, but the intellectual class tends not to approve of them.

I think Leonard Cohen deserved a strong ranking. As good as Dylan but smaller output.

The Moody Blues wrote top quality tunes, but were too white for the critics. By contrast, the Who are very overrated.

Stephen Foster was 19th century, of course, but he started the American Song Book.

Steely Dan deserved more notice.

Finally, David Bryne and Talking Heads were very good and prolific and deserve more than be kissed-off as a CBGB band. They were the best to come out of the New Wave movement of the late-1970s.

Good point(s). His list was crazily Beatles-heavy. Brian Wilson matched the Beatles, for sure. Snobbery...

Ironically he IS aware of intellectual snobbery when he noted that it explains why Billy Joel isn’t as highly regarded as David Bowie.

Steely Dan and Procol Harum are two that make paying attention worth your while

+1 David Byrne was a genuine musicologist. His Beleza Tropical was absolutely brilliant.

+1 d.b.
also this is some good stuff with St. Vincent & its free!

#1: first time I read about the Apple Card.

And first time I read that a bank requires you to buy specific hardware before establishing a business relationship. It has no fees but you must buy a new iphone every 2-3 years ;)

For reasons I’m not sure of, Paul Simon’s solo stuff from the 1970s and ‘80s just doesn’t quite hold up over time.

I dunno, his "Rhythm of the Saints" is timeless, IMHO.

#2- GREAT list. This guy gets it. And you'll notice all the songs from the other guys on the list that Bob Dylan covers. Not only is Dylan a great songwriter, he has impeccable taste. It's why he is the legend that he is. Also, a riposte to all the people who made fun of him for his 'Sinatra albums'- which weren't really as much about Sinatra as they were about the great songwriters who's songs he was covering.

Also, nice to see someone who's not afraid to say that some things were better in the past.

2. Few arguments, albeit some differences in tastes.

But why is he repeatedly bringing up that they are Jewish? Or gay? Does that really matter?

Why don't we discuss the apparent absolute or comparative advantages of Jews in song writing? I'm familiar with the Hollywood story. Music, not so much.

A friend of mine, both an Israeli Jew and American citizen, how it came to be that Jews are so well represented in finance and business. He said something that I have never forgotten. Paraphrasing, "A people will contribute or participate where they can, or where they are allowed." In other words, where they are not prohibited or compete against the local dominant tribe, say Christians. They also needed something portable that they could take with them if they were chased out of town, like business and finance skills, or writing and calculating skills. Malcolm Gladwell described how Jewish lawyers picked up a segment of NYC law WASPish law firms wouldn't trust. In previous decades the entertainment industry was shunned by conservative Christians and Jews were able to enter and perfect music, comedy, and theater. Think of the "Borsch Belt" and Hollywood.

For the Irish, despised by the nation in the 1840s-60s, the opportunities were in labor, as Civil War fodder, and later policing and firefighting.

Blacks were left out of everything but sharecropping and later sports and entertainment.

They all did very well wherever they were allowed to participate.

That's something to consider.

Where is Willie Nelson? Johnny Cash?

Burt Bacharach and Hal David
Elton John and Bernie Taupin
Carole King

He listed both Nelson and Cash under the "Nashville" section of the 200 great songwriters.

About the Ross essay.

You might want to see the essay by Michael Anton in the Claremont Review of Books, called "Are the Kids Al(t)right."

NYT and WaPo will never figure this out. "Left" is not the same thing as "Liberal": Harry Truman was Liberal but Stalin was Left and not Liberal. And "Right" is the not the same thing as "Conservative" or even "Libertarian."

Richard Spencer is Nazi-Right but not Conservative. George Will is Conservative.

Modern Progressives would be happy to see Conservatives disappear and are doing their best to silence them on campuses. The result will not be Conservatives turning into Progressives. The result, which we are seeing, will be Conservatives turning into White Nationalists or Alt-Right.

If the Portland Police are happy to watch and do nothing as "antifa" gangs beat up conservative protesters, don't be so surprised when the next day you read about some rightwinger shooting a place up with an automatic rifle.

The Dialectic never stops, and if we don't work with it, it takes us to places we won't like.

"don't be so surprised when the next day you read about some rightwinger shooting a place up with an automatic rifle."

Surprised? It's expected, and we are never disappointed.

Seems like an unequal 'equivalence'

Nobody guarantees equivalence.

I’d be surprised.

Automatic firearms cost thousands of dollars and require an intensive background check by the ATF.

Ouch! I am embarrassed for you. Auto magic weapons are illegal in the US and have never, to my knowledge, been used in a mass shooting.

The AR-15 and it's generic variants is semi-automatic, widely available, is open system, and costs hundreds, not thousands, of dollars.

It is hard to convey to the anti-firearm crowd how silly they sound to us. They are so profoundly ignorant.

The reason so many AR-15s have been used in mass shootings is they are one of the top selling firearms in the US. It's a base rate problem.

Any list that puts Lennon's "Imagine" as one of the all time great songs can't be taken seriously

+1 Of course it's just about taste but for my taste I agree Imagine was not a good song.
I'd go further and say, the Beatles were great for the music that they loved and not what they wrote or how well the played. They introduced use to rock and roll by doing their best to copy the music of black USAers.

Almost gave up when I saw the overemphasis on the Beatles in the opening pages. I’m glad I persisted because I did learn a thing or two . And I was reminded of some great songs I’d not heard for a while. But as someone said, not enough Bernie Taupin.

Personally, I prefer Power To The People and Luck Of The Irish to Imagine.

Do you believe this because of your politics? I ask because I have heard many social conservatives rip this song because of it's message. If so, then fair enough (although I don't agree) but as a piece of music it's wonderful. There's a reason so many people know it and can sing along.

This was in reply to the comments on Lennon's 'Imagine'

People know it and sing along to it for the same reason that everyone knows "Baby Shark:" because the melody and lyrics are so inane that they can't help but be memorized in seconds.

But writing something stupid and simple is not usually what people mean when they talk about "great songwriting."

I have no idea what baby shark is. Something recent for children? Nobody I know is singing that song. Get back to me if this is still popular 20 years from now. Imagine has staying power because it touches a lot of people (even if you think it's stupid).

I know the Sesame Street song if I try to remember hard enough, but it doesn't stir up any emotions. The piano intro alone to Imagine is enough to make it one of the best songs of all time.

#2 I would choose the early rock progenitors and the known (Kansas Joe McCoy and Memphis Mimi) and unknown people who wrote the songs the Leadbelly compiled.

I can't argue much with the list except for Bob Dylan. I know very few people who like more than a handful of his songs. I think it was Norman Mailer who said "if Dylan is a poet, I'm a first baseman."

Some bits and pieces: Barry Manilow's best song, When October Goes, is unknown to most of the public, but great singers have sung it. Carmen's "All By Myself" uses a Rachmaninoff melody. I think composers like he and Tchaikovsky are in a special class. They did not specialize in songs. I think classical tune smiths should be a separate category.

Not enough due is given to Carole King who wrote or co-wrote 118 pop hits on the Billboard Hot 100. Yes, she wrote many with Goffin but Richard Rodgers co-authored too.

Ironically, some of the songs the writer mentions positively have been on others' "worst" lists. Dave Barry's writings on bad songs is some of the best stuff he's ever written.

Trivia: Neil Sedaka was a concert level classical pianist. You can see him play in an old "What's My Line" show where he revealed he was going to the Russian Tchaikovsky Competition. Henry Morgan interjected - once they find out you're a pop singer they'll rescind the invitation. Morgan was right.

Now I am remembering some long-ago Dave Barry column about explaining MacArthur Park to his young son, that it really was a big hit and a serious song, which the son doesn't believe. Thanks.

The examples of "not racism" in Dothat's piece seem fine. I was expecting something that plumbed the gray areas a bit more.

Fwiw, hannah responds:

Oh, and the Washington Examiner has a constructive response to it all:

I was going to bail if #2 hadn't included Irving Berlin. And I agree with Paul Simon and especially Carole King. As for 5 of the top 8 being Jewish, it might pay to remember that Tin Pan Alley transitioned from mostly Irish song writers to Jewish song writers about the time the phonograph changed the music scene. It might just be that most of us are simply more familiar with the song output from that era than when song writing fame was based solely on sheet music.

One theory for this was that as one wave of immigrants were slowly accepted in to mainstream life, another would take up things like the theater and songwriting. There was even an Irish song writer who changed is name to make it more Jewish so he could stay in the business.

I've got a lot of time for Lennon & McCartney but to place them above Gershwin and Berlin is not ... well, not to my taste, anyway. And he overrates Dylan absurdly.

I also found some of his detail odd: I can't for the life of me see a best-three song in in You'll Never Walk Alone. I can't see how Puttin' On The Ritz is not a best-three song.

Oh well, de gustibus non est disputandum. Or de gustibus non disputandum est, according to your taste in the matter.


Two big ones not mentioned: Michel Legrand, whose songs for "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg" and "Young Girls of Rochefort" are among the best of all film musicals; and Vietnam's Trinh Cong Son

Legrand writes the same song over and over again: finds a motif and sequences the shit out of it. Too predictable for my taste.

Agree with comments that Stephen Sondheim, Paul Simon, Brian Wilson and Carole King are under-rated.

I’m surprised not to see more people sticking up for Jimmy Page (not mentioned, unless I missed it) and Elton John, who dominated pop for half a decade. I also note the absence of Randy Bachman, who is at least as strong as a dozen people who made the list.

Jimmy Page is a bona-fied student of the blues and early rock and roll. He's a serious dude and he can play and write.

3. As the country's year-old African swine fever epidemic began to send pork prices into the stratosphere this summer

Banks must not cut off lending to swine farms and slaughterhouses; subsidized loans should be given to swine farms. Provincial government loan guarantee organizations should prioritize recovery of swine farms.

Doesn't sound much different than the free market/capitalist system found in the US.

#4: Ross is a temporizing capon.

4. The biggest problem with the American right and the global “right” if you will, is that the only uniting factor amongst the various factions-neo fascist, neo confederacy, anarcho capitalist, minarchist, neo mercantilist, classical liberalism, paleo conservative, neo conservative, alt right, old right-anti new deal, social-religious conservative is that they are avowedly non left.

The only thing that makes the political right-“the right” is that they are non left. That is a problem because all of these factions have really really strong views about the world that do not jive with one another. So for Ross to say that it is conservatism’s job to clean up its nasty bits, doesn’t mean much. It’s a political ideology that is far far far too diverse to simply try and lower the volume on.

Whereas the left-from Bolshevik, social democrat, socialist, neo liberal, greens, etc. is just a question of degree. How much state should rule people’s lives and how? The left doesn’t have the inter ideological conflict that the right has.

The only real outlier left wing ideology that directly conflicts with the rest of the left would be the anarchists that want to retreat back into the forest.

There is a deep division on the left between the greens and the old style worker's party. Trump managed to get quite a few of the worker's votes as a result. The left in Canada is divided between three parties who can't get along at all; Greens, NDP, and Liberals. On the right you have the progressive conservatives, the populist conservatives who typically are fiscal conservatives and the social conservatives.

There are lots of fringes on both sides, from the eco anarchists to the various ethnic separatists that are quite effective at organizing.

What would you call a center left socially liberal nationalist anti immigration movement that characterizes Quebec politics?

As for the latent racism, the blithering stupidity of academia is now defining the terms, where everything is racist. It works until a few people say 'fu*k you'. Douthat is doing the old dive under the furniture when someone says the R word. My rule of thumb is that an accusation of racism is an attempt to hide something vile. The current push is to hope that no one actually looks at the people and policies that the Democrats are advancing, simply RACIST! That works fine until someone like Ilhan Omar shows up.

"What would you call a center left socially liberal nationalist anti immigration movement that characterizes Quebec politics?"

I think that would definitely be classified as right wing in the US. Libertarians are extremely socially liberal, and favor more open borders, but are still considered right wing, after all.

Every time an electable Democrat like Obama says something like "Capitalism has done some good things", the Bernie bros die a little. Every time. And the bros are convinced Bernie woulda won in 2016. This is internecine Democratic warfare with no hope for common ground beyond orange man bad.

To be fair, there are some moderate Democrats running, but they aren't getting any traction other than the prominent exception of Joe Biden. And he may well be senile.

Neither party has it together. At least not since, 2012. Barack Obama and Mitt Romney were both statesmen. That seems a long time ago at this point.

Obama was called many things by the Republicans, but 'statesman' was never one of them. Same for Romney and the Democrats. 2012 was still very much in the throes of the partisan crap we are still in.

No Buddy Holly? Without Buddy Holly no Beatles

No Toby Keith?

David Haas, Darlene Zschech, and Marty Haugen have all made the hymnal at the church I attend. They’d make the 25 year cut off in 2013.

2. Carole King and Smokie Robinson

#2: boomer list.

Correct. I immediately thought of this:

Anybody compiling a "best of" list needs to try harder to establish the criteria for what makes it great. We can't get inside your head, we don't get the same rush of endorphins from hearing songs you like because you heard them back in high school when you didn't have a care in the world...

Gershwin, Porter, and Berlin are boomer favorites? Richard Rogers? Sigh, no, 'fraid not. You can't imagine how boomers thought these guys were old fashioned back when we thought we were important.

There are just some of the greatest song writers of the 20th century, bar none.

Boomer parent music. Note no one popular after 1970.

The reason these people are popular is because there were so few in that era. Today song writers are more common than garbage collectors.

Ross Douthat and the Beatles... Who cares?

But Dim Sums! Oooh! I really liked that (including the cute name for a Chinese statistics blog). More Dim Sums please! (And pass the Siu Mei before the price of pork goes up.)

#4: Progressives in the Trump era have unwittingly(?) become Literals. Allusions, allegories, similes and metaphors are completely incomprehensible to the apocalyptical-panicked mind of the modern Progressive; no irony or sarcasm is too outrageous to cause an instant of hesitation in the wild-eyed condemnation of it's source.

In fairness, the left has won. We now live in the era of 'that's not funny.', I don't agree. It's still possible to rescue language - and society - from the desolation, intellectual incarceration, repression and of Literalism.

#2. Usual critic’s argle bargle. He can tell us what he (thinks) is good but is vague, banal and ineloquent as to why it is good, which is a harder but much more interesting question. I deal with this nonsense in my professional life all the time. Best to ignore it.
Why does he insist on naming the Jews on the list. Seems anti-Semitic a bit.

4. Ross is right (NYT).
Yada yada yada

Actually it's the problem of anti racists that we have to solve. Those against eugenics and those against heterogeneous societies should be pruned away from the republican party and conservatives more generally. The best way to prevent human pain is better genetic selection.

#4. The job of disentangling conservatism from racism belongs to the right, not to the left. Ross is on some level engaging in a kind of special pleading for the left to play nice with conservatives, something they have little to no interest in doing. If you don't want to be associated with racists, don't associate with racists. Don't beg your political opponents to be super, super, nice by not associating you with racists when it is obviously to their advantage to do so.

It is not white nationalism to recognize limiting principles on liberal universalism, and a justifiable role for particularity — ethnic, cultural, religious — in many political arrangements. A sprawling multiethnic republic like the present United States is an admirable thing, to be defended against ethnic Balkanization and racist chauvinism alike. But our democratic imperium is not the only legitimate form of political order, and a society does not automatically become illiberal or racist or authoritarian just because it retains an established church or allows a right of return or maintains a preference for a particular language.

Particularism can lead to chauvinism and cruelty, certainly, and there’s room to criticize Israel or any other nation on those grounds. But liberal universalism is no panacea either: It can overreach and impose an oppressive uniformity, or overreach and simply self-destruct. The self-determination of specific tribes and peoples and traditions — be they Polish, Kurdish, Tibetan or Jewish — can be as necessary to human liberty in some cases as a push toward cosmopolitanism is in others. And insofar as universalists of different sorts — liberal Eurocrats, Bush-era neoconservatives — have gone terribly astray recently in ignoring the role of difference in human affairs, a healthy conservatism has to correct for this error even as it resists the pull of bigotry.

This seems like a very pained and special carve-out to exempt Israel, and potentially the US, from some of the principles held by liberal universalism. I'd say that there is a fundamental conflict between liberalisms respect for individual liberty, and the notion that the "self-determination of tribes can be necessary to human liberty", that cannot be hand-waved away by saying "ours is not the only system". Either individuals are primary or they aren't Collectives such as tribes don't suddenly supercede the liberty of minority peoples within them just because they live in different countries that it is politically expedient for the US to ally with at the moment. Sorry, Ross argument here doesn't cut it. Israel has a problem - not to say that Israel's crimes aren't overinflated for other reasons - but you can't exactly handwave away the rights of Palestinians, or Arab-Israelis by saying that the Jewish "tribe" has a collective right to self-determination.

+1. Those were exactly the points where Douthat's arguments wasn't his usual par. Somebody paid attention.

Hey, Hazel, to quote properly, you can put the word "blockquote" in between these two things: "".

heh. Failed to display my less-thans and greater-thans, but you get the point.

Yeah, sometimes I use it. Sometimes I forget which websites it will work on.

I mention it here because I tried it here "accidentally" (force of habit from another comments site) and was surprised to discover that it worked. I don't think it always did.

#1: I'm bothered by the fact that their brand name is a misspelling of the element Vanadium, and the fact that the titanium alloy used actually contains Vanadium so they should know how to spell it. But - joke's on them - a google search for "Vandium" returns results for "Vanadium".

#2 The Bono that gets included is Sonny.

2. Duke Ellington was mentioned in the "200" list, but should have been up there alongside the other "Greatests."

Not to mention Billy Strayhorn. Top 3 songs: Isfahan, Lush Life, Chelsea Bridge.

I don't understand why Tom Jobim is not in that list. Top 3 songs: Desafinado, Aguas de Março and Retrato in Branco e Petro.

#4....If you compare Russell Kirk's "The Conservative Mind" with George Will's "The Conservative Sensibility", you will notice one glaring difference...Abraham Lincoln. Kirk barely mentions him, while Lincoln is at the heart of Will's book. On the other hand, Kirk has John C. Calhoun front and center, while Will doesn't mention him. I'm with Will. So, I will put it bluntly....John C. Calhoun pollutes any decent concept of conservatism. This could be construed as a problem with Southern conservatism, but for the fact that there are genuine conservatives from the South. Calhoun is what I would label a Confederate/ Anti-Federalist reactionary, and followers of him would be so as well. It's important to remember that the Confederacy and Anti-Federalists lost, and were seen to have lost, a fact that I am exceedingly grateful for. I recommend both books, however.

I think that the right has a racism problem in a similar way that the left has a Marxism problem. In both cases, you have a broader movement which has some valid ideas, to which an older, discredited, ideology keeps trying to attach themselves to and smuggle in their ideas and principles.

Thus you have Marxism, which has been largely discredited in economics and historically via the collapse of communism constantly taking liberal or progressive ideals and reinterpreting them in terms of Marxist economic and political theory, and then adding Marxist policy recommendations based on those interpretations to the progressive policy agenda. So you have this significant community of Marxists and marxism-influenced people who reside in and influence the agenda and identity of the leftist tribe.

Likewise, you have racists of various sorts taking ideas like those derived from John C. Calhoun, and reinterpreting conservative ideological principles in light of those ideas, and then formulating new policy objectives based on those reinterpreted conservative concepts. And thus you have this community of racist and racism-influenced people that reside in and influence the agenda and identity of the rightist tribe.

It would be easy to view the political conflict as Marxists vs. racists, but it's really more like each side has it's share of wolves in sheep's clothing, trying to smuggle their ideas into more legitimate movements.

Ross's arguments ends with this:

"In the end the recrudescence of racism on the right is conservatism’s problem to solve"

Nothing about the "Marxists" on the left. Your argument sounds like a bunch of what-about-ism to me.

I hope the conservatives can solve their racist problem.

Read my comment above. I agree. I'm not at all arguing that conservatives have no obligation to do the work of expunging racists from their ranks because the left has a similar Marixst problem. The opposite actually, I think the right should try to be better than the left on that point.

I was making the comparison more by way of analogy - we can understand what's going on on the right with respect to racism by comparing it to what's going on on the left with respect to marxism. In each case, of course, opponents of the respective sides will try to say that the discredited ideology in question is really the secret heart of their opponents coalition. The way to counteract those portrayals is to actively engage in an effort to root out those elements within one's own ranks, and make that effort very public and very obvious to everyone watching.

I don't think race-ist and Marx-ist are very congruent concepts.

Racism is a bigotry. Marxism is a socioeconomic framework. One stokes white nationalist killers, one might cause raised voices in the faculty lounge.

A pagan worships "the bobblehead doll" the "Manchurian candidate" the "liminal zone". A satan worshipper goes from the devil to Satan to the Platonic Bull to the exile of socioeconomic status. The exile of socioeconomic status is a label?

Arguably, Marxist *should* be treated like racists in faculty lounges. After all Marxism killed something like 100 million people in the 20th century. It's a problem for the left that marxists *aren't* treated like Nazis.

That's a category error. Communist totalitarian governments, who espoused Marxism, killed millions of people. You are attempting to paint American liberals, with Marxist leanings, with that same brush.

That doesn't sound like a puffed-up threat to you?

I do, when it is clearly stacked against a stream of American killings in the here and now.

American "Marxists," to the extent that they even exist, ain't killed nobody.

How many racists have actually gone out and killed someone? The extremes of both -isms is murderous, that doesn't mean someone who leans Marxist (Bernie) or racist (Trump) is murderous.

Hazel's point is a good one, she isn't equating the severity or 'wrongness' of racism and Marxism, she is saying each side (left/right or Rep/Dem) has a problem in that some of their people lean that way. How do those groups shun those extreme elements? It's a good question.

How many?

In congressional testimony two weeks ago, Christopher Wray, the Trump-appointed director of our FBI, explained that the threat of white nationalist violence appears to be rising. Between October and June, there were about 100 arrests of domestic terrorism suspects — and if that trend continues, the total for 2019 will exceed the previous year, when there were about 120 cases. Wray added, “We, the FBI, don’t investigate ideology, no matter how repugnant… When it turns to violence, we’re all over it.

I believe zero of those were Marxists?

You guys are falling all over yourselves because you think Hazel gave you a "both sides do it" card.

And Hazel, seriously?

Not your best look

it's not really a "both sides do it" card. I'm actually kind of castigating conservatives for not doing to the racists in their midst what they are constantly complaining the left doesn't do with Marxists. Although, by way of analogy liberals could also understand the relationship between conservatives and the alt-right by comparison to the role of "liberals with Marxist leanings" in their own ranks. You don't want people who just happen to have a few marxist leanings to be tarred with the brush of Communism, in the way that conservatives think nationalists who've read Calhoun shouldn't be tarred with the brush of slavery.

And there are American conservatives, with racist leanings. Which as you know I'm pretty hard on. Why should liberals be less hard on liberals with Marxist leanings than conservatives should be on people with racist leanings? What's better about being a liberal who uses Marxist ideas to buttress a policy position on the minimum wage, than being a conservative who uses the ideas of John C. Calhoun to buttress a policy position on immigration?

What's better about being a liberal who uses Marxist ideas to buttress a policy position on the minimum wage, than being a conservative who uses the ideas of John C. Calhoun to buttress a policy position on immigration?

So you can support a min. wage but not use 'Marxist ideas'. Exactly which ideas are Marxist? I suppose a Marxist idea would be that the interests of workers and the interests of business owners are in conflict and the owners would take advantage of workers. But the idea of conflicting views goes back to the dialectic which goes back to Hagel but really it goes all the way back to Socrates.

Marx himself might have argued against the min. wage on classical economic grounds that Adam Smith and David Ricardo would have felt comfortable with. He did, after all, view capitalism as an advance over feudalism and a necessary step for a developing society to go through. Are libertarian think tanks scoffing at living wage movements therefore guilty of Marxist ideas?

Back in the day some Marxists opposed laws like min. wage because they just thought it would prolong the misery of capitalism, better let it get unbearable so the revolution comes faster.

So strictly speaking the only Marxism problem the Democratic party might have would be people demanding violent revolution as the solution. Does Bernie qualify there? No. AOC? No. Not even Antifa. I'm sure Twitter, Google and Facebook will help you find left wing people that qualify but not really seeing the symmetry here between the two parties.

Meade is having another strong game, +5 internet points.

+1, Agreed

Hazel, I think that Douthat is correct about the rush to impute racism to people in the hope that it will tarnish their ideas, as in the case of James Buchanan. In the case of Buchanan, it almost seems as if he's being castigated for not having said enough about these issues, or by implication. Calhoun's views were, in my view, tailored to defending slavery, and so he's not the father of any other convoluted scheme to ensure minority rights, since he would just as easily defended the opposite to ensure slavery. If he influenced Buchanan, I'm not aware of it. Ideology leads to a narrow focus and dearth of generosity.

Calhoun's views were, in my view, tailored to defending slavery,

Calhoun was defending the legal status quo. When he died, in 1850, it was still the legal status quo.

Chuck, I was referring to his theory of concurrent majorities, which makes me laugh just saying the name. This was not the legal status quo which is why he came up with it. In fact, Calhoun changed a number of his positions as he got older simply to defend slavery.

It is not so symmetric. It is respectable on the left to state "Marxism and communism didn't go well, but many of those people were well-intentioned and some of those ideas are worth pursuing if properly implemented."

It's not respectable on the right to say anything analogous, as the Derbyshire firing illustrated. There is a bright line against saying that kind of thing. The line has been dog-whistled over forever, and the alt-right has dedicated itself to erasing the line, but there is still the notion of the line in conservative society. In contrast, the left has never had a line at all.

"Arguably, Marxist *should* be treated like..."

Why are people who use the word 'arguably' treated seriously?

Let's face it, the main reason someone uses the word arguably is because they want to get a lot of attention for themselves espousing a position they don't really want to defend.

This type of silliness only exists in the world of discussion and thought. Imagine if we had the word 'sportably'. Instead of taking a 3-point shot, 'sportably' the basketball player gets some type of fuzzy credit because there was a point where he could have taken and plausibly made a 3 point shot...even though he didn't....err but he could have....

Either argue for something or don't. Arguably just about any position could, if you try hard enough, find some halfway decent reasoning that might appear to hang together long enough to outlast a snowman in spring. Is the purpose of the comments section to explore every possible argument that could be made in the English language? If not just make arguments you actually want to make.

You bastard! You got me!

No, seriously, sometimes I use "arguably" to mean "i see a decent argument for this though I'm not 100% convinced by it." The ability to take a stance where you can grant the reasonability of a hypothetical position without actually holding it is necessary for rational argument IMO.

Marxists are pretty bad. Are they as bad as Nazis? Depends upon how you measure badness I suppose. Nazis killed fewer people, but then they were sort of so horrible that they flamed out in an immediate catetrophic world war that resulted in their own destruction. Communism was not bad enough to destroy itself instantly, so it lasted longer and it's body count was higher. It's like comparing Ebola to the Spanish influenza. Which is worse, really?

Still, I think someone might be able to make a cases that Nazis are worse on some level, so that's why it is much more disrespectable to be a neo-Nazi than a Marxist.

Why did Stalin kill X million people? One might argue because he was a dictator formed by his culture and his own moral defects to put down anyone in his way...ideology was just along for the ride. One might argue that the Marxism requires one, in the end, to kill lots of people.

I would say probably both but ultimately it's the idea of warrant. The idea that since society must be remade, you, as leader, have permission to do anything and everything as long as it's under the banner of that mission. IMO then I could imagine a different era Stalin slaughtering millions in the name of making Russia Orthodox Christian rather than Roman Catholic.

So consider, a person might support a law requiring corporations to put some workers on their board of directors out of Marxist logic. It doesn't follow from that they are but one step from shooting people in the street for having fur coats. I could also see how someone could use Marxist analysis to write a long thesis for why some types of literature were once in favor and now aren't....yet not end up killing anyone.

Does Nazi philosophy have any track record of *not* taking one down a path of violence? I suppose some more brainy types of alt-righters have tried to develop some type of alternative to multicultralism where difficult cultures are more homogeneous but interact with each other as equals but the answer is no, fascisms history is shorter than Marxism and doesn't have a track record of anything other than violence. I would say the onerous is on a so-called nazi to articulate why his ideology is not violent without demanding the literature professor who pens a 700 page Marxist analysis of Jane Austin be treated with the same contempt.

#2 -

What a great website. Following other links there will be even more of a time sink than MR.

Excellent choice Professor!

Yes 3QD and MR are the only blogs I check daily anymore. Wide range of subjects and really provocatively curated.

#2: surprisingly un-objectionable. Yes there are problems with the list, there always are but this was not so bad, partly because it covered so much ground. So, Sondheim, Carole King, Pete Townsend, Springsteen, etc. could've been ranked higher but he did tip his cap to them.

And I did learn some things e.g. I'd never heard of Chip Taylor before:

"Wild Thing and Angel Of The Morning written by Chip Taylor, two one-offs (Chip Taylor is Angelina Jolie's uncle and Jon Voight's brother)."

In 2011 it would have been fine to leave Max Martin off of a list of great songwriters, but to not even mention him in a list of acceptable songwriters hundreds long seems like an oversight.

#2 is mostly over my head, and of course it's easy to nitpick a piece that is making so many judgments, but I think there's at least one place where the guy goes totally off the rails:

"Lou Reed (all his good songs are on the Bowie-produced album Transformer: Walk On The Wild Side, Perfect Day, Satellite Of Love, Vicious)"

Hmmm. The author himself at times brings in certain objective criteria, such as a song's popularity or influence. Can this really be ignored?

For example, I would say that the commenters above who denigrate The Zim are just being nutty. I don't love all that much of his stuff myself, but so what? When you consider the regard in which he was held by his contemporaries, how so many of his songs were covered by so many interesting artists, there's no way to not consider him a great songwriter.

Anyway, there's a reason why Pitchfork put _The Velvet Underground and Nico_ as the #1 album of the 1960's - it has become, for anyone paying at least marginal attention, either "the" or "an" obvious choice, depending on your view. There's a reason so many interesting artists have chosen to cover Waiting for the Man, or All Tomorrow's Parties, or Run Run Run. There's a reason why we know who Jonathan Richman is. Etc etc etc....

Not "off the rails" this time, but maybe amusing, at least to me:

"the amazing Bohemian Rhapsody, one of only four long-form rock monsters along with Stairway to Heaven, Free Bird and Deep Purple's Child In Time"

Three fairly ubiquitous cultural artifacts and a Deep Purple song I'd never heard or heard of, so far as I could remember. I don't know if this mention sent anyone else to You Tube, but it sent me there.

And after that, Wikipedia. "The song is also famous for showcasing Ian Gillan's full wide vocal range including his trademark powerful, high pitched banshee screams." I do felt that I learned something new about both music and humanity in encountering the way vocals are used on this track.

Wikipedia also says that Deep Purple for a time dropped Child in Time from their setlist. Why would Deep Purple, having managed to write one of the only four great long-form rock monsters ever, then drop it from their setlist?

#2 Legitimately one of the worst music articles I've ever read. How can someone know so much about music but so, so little?

Bands don't write songs? There are no great songwriters working today? All rap is just novelty? "Dude Looks Like a Lady" and "Livin La Vida Loca" are all-time great songs, and the man who wrote them is a greater songwriter than anyone in the last 20 years? The weird singling out of Jewish people as if they are a different species and non-jews are the default? The bizarre assertion that no one has made a list of greatest songwriters before? The equally bizarre exclusion of lyrics, structure, etc. from songwriting (why not just call it "Greatest Melodists" if you're only considering melody?)

The whole thing almost seems like a joke, a parody of old white guys' overly confident and outdated opinions on music, but it's so detailed I fear it's actually real.

Seriously though. "Creep" is the only sort of great Radiohead song? Chris De Burgh is like, 9th greatest overall? Rick James gets a mention somehow?

"4. Ross is right (NYT)."

To a degree. However I kind of recall Shirley Sherrod. She had given a speech where she said she was once racist against whites but had overcome that when dealing with white farmers who had suffered various hardships, we were all one. Of course the alt-right in the day took the video, edited out the end of the story and pushed the "Obama official is racist against whites" angle. The NAACP condemned her, Obama fired her and the MSM ran with the story fed them. Then, after the damage was done, the truth did get out and reversals were made but the damage had been done.

Then flash forward to one day I was in a bookstore and perused a random page from Milo's book. In it he gleefully recounted how one day Trump said he was going to announce something, the media lined up to hear what he would announce, then he didn't announce anything. Milo gleefully found it really fun and amazing that one could get the MSM all ready for something by telling them X would happen, then pull the carpet out by not doing X. Ha ha ha.

What do these stories have in common? The boy who cried wolf. The town extended the boy credibility but credibility was 'on credit'. After it was clear the boy was getting off on yanking everyone's chain, that credit was denied and from that point on hard evidence was needed of wolves (namely bloody body). The boy got eaten and it was for the good of society the boy was eaten by the wolves. Ross should remember there's consequences for deciding to align with alternative facts and 'post truth'. The man whose house collapses in on him because he thought it was a good idea to pawn the center beam really only has himself to blame.

That being said, there's a grain of salt to take here. Long before Trump trying to pick off low level appointments & staff by 'stretched' readings of things they said and did have been part of politics for a long time. (McCarthy, for example). The intelligentsia should resist it from both sides but a plea for it not to happen just isn't going to happen.

ctl+f townes in song writer post...nothing going. ok.

#2: There is too much emphasis on volume of output. Hank Williams left a prolific catalogue for someone who died so young and absolutely belongs in the first rank of songwriters. The aching beauty of "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" is unsurpassed. Don't take my word for it; Bob Dylan himself would put him there.

Top Songwriters: Another writer under pressure to generate content.
It's an interesting question if one wanted to take it seriously. If some grad student wanted to do it, she would sample songwriters and ask them to list (1) songwriters who they listened or listen to and (2) influenced them (in their own opinion). And then play around with the data. A different way is take the approach of songwriters themselves, who tend to focus on royalties, which (unless they are also the artist, but even then) is primarily a matter of how many people want to record their songs, and how many copies they sell. Thus Paul McCartney deservedly ranks at or near the all time top, up there with Mrs. Hill (if we divide total royalties by number of tunes and time). Never hear of her? Thanks to Mrs. Hill's royalties, I went through Grad school almost free of charge---long story. Short version is, you certainly know and have sung the one song she wrote. Tremendous composer royalties, really huge). Naturally it would be broken down into genre (a retailer's device, primarily, but better than nothing). Also, obviously, weighted by time, since a songwriter can't be influenced by someone who wasn't around yet.
You need to distinguish lyricists from music composers and people who write melodies versus those who construct total pieces where orchestration is a huge part of the success of the piece (but isn't copyrightable, obviously).
Also I have it on impeccable authority that Bob Dylan didn't consider himself a songwriter. He was either a poet, or a musician, depending on who asked him (he was poet if a musician asked, and vice versa). But obviously he was a songwriter when it came time to collect those royalties.
Finally, Brian Wilson doesn't consider himself remotely in the category of Lennon-McCartney, so why is your opinion better than Brian Wilson's about something that he knows tons about and you probably don't? Sir Paul's opinion is that he wrote some good songs, other people wrote some good songs. Why does everyone have to be better than someone else? I promise you that musicians who think in such terms are unhappy musicians.
Considered in terms of determinants of achievement would also be productive. All writers want to write "good" (or successful) songs, but what makes them focus their efforts where they do?
Please advise when Taylor Swift publishes her list of the Top 20 Economists.

"I don't count Schubert and his many Lieder. Can you whistle or hum even one of them?"

Hard to take anything this guy says about songs, or music generally, seriously after this.

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