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Use Your Allusion I: Classics in Pop Music (Ad Navseam, Episode 98)

September 27, 2022

Wait a minute…this sounds like rock and/or roll! Indeed, after some digging through attic boxes stuffed with 45s, 8-tracks, and cassettes, the guys sit down to puzzle over a number of classical allusions in pop songs from the ‘60s to the present day. The references are all over the place—from prog rock to new wave to folk to jazz-fusion to regrettable dabblings by Bob Dylan in cheese-ball ‘80s production. What purposes do these allusions serve? Is it just to make the singer look smart (looking at you, Sting)? To comment wryly on an ankle injury (sorry to hear about that, Mr. Plant)? To apply core themes of Plato’s Euthyphro to social commentary (Jay-Z and Kanye, really?)? So clean that wax out of your ears, strap yourself to that mast, and tune in as Jeff attempts to defend his title as “Johnny Pop” and Dave wrestles with jazz aversions and the over-cutesiness of folk.  

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