Take On Top 40

Top 40: lowest common denominator or a stream out of Jung's collective consciousness? Whichever view you take, they're generally not the best songs, not the most powerful songs, not the hardest-rockin' songs, not the most emotional songs. Some are, but that's not why they're Top 40. They're Top 40 because they suck you in. Songs like "King of the Road," the lone highlight of that dreadful week of square dancing during P.E. class. Like "The Gambler," which put a 6-year-old on equal footing with Mom and Dad in the old Lincoln Continental. Like "Boys of Summer," by good Texan Don Henley, which (shhh!!) still triggers an unconscious sing-along every single time. Oh, if only A-Ha were from Texas ... .Things were different once, before hummability and quality diverged so sharply, but as good as Buddy Holly's "Rave On" is, there's not a snowball's chance in hell it would make today's Top 40. Not unless it was produced by Sean "Puffy" Combs. On my list are both "Theme From The Dukes of Hazzard" and Christopher Cross' "Sailing." Sure, they're just pap on some level, but when they catch you in their sticky-sweet web, they take you to a place where the hits just keep comin'.

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