Thanks to the miracle of Marconi's wireless radio and Sen. Ted Stevens' mighty Interweb, "series of tubes," I heard a song. It's "Hey There, Delilah." Aside from the most undeservedly pompous music video since Michael Bay's profoundly confusing "I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That," the song has some devotees. Here's a lyrical sample:
"Hey there Delilah / What's it like in New York City? / I'm a thousand miles away / But girl tonight you look so pretty / Yes you do / Times Square can't shine as bright as you / I swear it's true // Hey there Delilah / Don't you worry about the distance / I'm right there if you get lonely / Give this song another listen / Close your eyes / Listen to my voice it's my disguise / I'm by your side"
Well. The comments tend to talk about how sweet and tragic it is. Fair enough. It's not Sophocles, I say, so you should give it its due. Then, in the car today, I was listening to Peter Schreier do "Ich grolle nicht" (the 2002 András Schiff-accompanied recital in Dresden on Orfeo). Yes. The pop song, not as good as the misses of Rufus Wainwright or Pulp, I might say, seemed - well - to be blunt, not good. Not good at all, or, putting it another way: bad.
What do people say? That mainstream pop music and classical are as good as each other, just different. You have some evidence, "Hey There, Delilah," and Schreier's "Ich grolle nicht." You can make up your own mind. There might be an objective hierarchy of quality after all.