I was driving along the coast when I dipped into that sort of "observing" space. Instead of humming along to the songs on the stations, I actually started listening to them -- and what they were trying to tell me.
Every year at this time, my friend Andy sends out a excited email asking a dozen of his music-obsessed friends to compile their lists of the year's best music. No music critic by training, I nevertheless dive in.
It saddens me to realize that the current "trend" may be one in which being an artist, writing songs, singing, and performing ranks rather low on the scale of importance when it comes to popular music; if at all.
The "Out 100" party has the distinction of being one of the few events where political hopefuls chat up pop artists, and reality TV stars are greeted with the same enthusiasm as porn actors as well as one notoriously disgruntled flight attendant.