One of the reasons that the the A.V. Club is pretty much my favorite place on all of the internets right now is that they’re constantly coming up with new angles for discussing the popular culture that they’re covering.
In 2008, one of those angles was Noel Murray’s Popless column, which is just now finishing up a year-long run that made Mondays much more tolerable for loads of music fans.
Popless is a deceptively simple idea: a long-time rock critic takes a year off from reviewing new music in order to go through his music collection and re-evaluate everything. The goal is not just to weed out his collection, but to recharge his critical batteries, which are overwhelmed by the ongoing glut of new music.
At the time, I was intrigued by the concept of stopping and taking stock. But that’s not why I fell in love with Popless. As someone who has been reading and (very) (occasionally) writing rockcrit for a long time, this was a new spin on solving the age-old problem of criticism in general: can I trust this person’s opinion? Popless turned out to be a internet-age combination of blog-based introspection and old-school critical judgments, and if I didn’t know where my tastes and his intersected previously, I sure as hell do now.
A couple of weeks ago, Noel was kind enough to consent to an email interview, and answered my barrage of questions with serious, considered answers. As you’ll see, he’s thought a lot about this project, the reasons behind it, and what doing it meant to him . . .