Lists and Puzzles

The Futurist’s ”2008 Modern Rock 500“ raises all sorts of conundrums. The obvious ones include, “By what earthly criterion does ‘Blister In The Sun’ (enjoyable as it is) count as a top-ten selection apart from, say, ‘Top Ten Violent Femmes songs’?” Everyone will have some of those I-can’t-believe-it bafflements, and I can take those in stride. Mostly.
The second order of bafflement arises with the question, “What work is the modifier ‘modern’ doing in that list?” Note that among the “modern” selections they list we find David Bowie’s “Space Oddity,” from 1969 — so “modern” here isn’t an oblique way of saying “recent.” Since both the Beatles and the Stones could plausibly be included based on chronological criteria — but are not — I infer that “modern rock” means something idiosyncratic in this usage: “the sort of music that WOXY and comparable stations play, whether recent or not, whether generically distinct or not.” But that seems weird to me.

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