Magazine article New York Times Upfront

The Best (Whatever) of All Time

Magazine article New York Times Upfront

The Best (Whatever) of All Time

Article excerpt

And other millennial notions

The new millennium is almost here, and somehow things don't seem ready. All those books, magazines, TV specials, and Y2K conferences, and still it doesn't feel as if the whole thing has sunk into the popular culture. Where's the official millennial cheese dip? The 5,000 Elvis impersonators singing in the year 2000?

For years now, I've been imagining driving along sometime in December 1999 and hearing the radio announcer say: "And now, the Top Ten Tunes of the Millennium!" But it doesn't feel as if we're going to get there.

Years ago I did talk three music writers, John Rockwell and Jon Pareles of The Times and Robert Christgau of The Village Voice, into coming up with just the kind of list we're missing out on. Their Top Ten Tunes of the Millennium are:

* "Ave Maria"

* Brahms's "Lullaby"

* "La Donna e Mobile"

* "Greensleeves"

* "Happy Birthday"

* "La Marseillaise"

* "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God"

* "L'Homme Arme"

* "Oh! Susanna"

* "Louie, Louie"

Like all experts who get sucked into this sort of effort, my list-makers apologized for sticking to European sources. But in my experience, those who demand that their millennial overviews have planetary scope are going to spend their New Year's Eve waiting for the phone to ring.

I get a stronger feeling of connection to the march of history with the Top Ten Tunes than with millennial big thoughts, interesting as they are. …

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