You can dissect a song or analyze a movie until you’re blue in the face. But when a favorite TV show or a book really, truly speaks to you, it’s a feeling you just can’t explain. There’s no mathematical formula for that otherworldly joy, that love that drives fans to obsess over their media darlings.
So what’s a critic of pop culture to do when forced to find a balance between dissecting the value of this media and simply letting the magic of enjoyment happen?
Since 2006, Jeff Pike has been discussing these conundrums of cultural criticism while reviewing music, books, and movies on his blog Can’t Explain. There, he contemplates the value of mindless versus mindful entertainment, issues of consensus and taste, and the complexities of constructing a cultural canon.
Now, in this collection of short essays, Pike provides a fascinating look into his life and work as a media critic with a handpicked selection of reviews from his blog.
Organized alphabetically, from AI: Artificial Intelligence to an analysis of the letter Z, Index serves as a guide to pop culture and the reasons we love it—written for people everywhere who love to listen, read, and watch.