“It would be easy to dismiss Rhino’s double-disc “Machine Soul: An Odyssey Into Electronic Dance Music” as tacky and inauthentic, full of songs no self-respecting club kid would ever allow to course through her Walkman. And there’s some seriously corny stuff here, like Prodigy’s bombastic “Charly” or L.A. Style’s “James Brown Is Dead.” Other songs are fine in themselves, but have been played so many millions of times that hearing them yet again is more painful than nostalgic: Gary Numan’s “Cars,” M/A/R/R/S’s “Pump up the Volume,” The Orb’s “Little Fluffy Clouds.” Even when “Machine Soul” gets it right, it does so only in the most clichéd way, including the epochal “Strings of Life” by Rythim Is Rythim (aka Derrick May) and “Planet Rock,” by Afrika Bambaataa, songs that monks in Bhutan could probably identify as seminal dance-music moments”

Not to take away from Tom pointing out an equally baffling and wrongheaded article by Michelle Goldberg, but this piece, which is linked to at the end of the Chemicals review, is perhaps even worse: a mix of P.J. O’Rourke-style youth culture bashing (the 90s were the 60s!; it’s always been about commerce you sheep!), and massive misinterpretations of the culture itself. (Denigrating dj’s for merely “picking and choosing” records?…what the hell did you think they did? Claiming that Goldie’s “recent” swerve away from the dancefloor is the result of his “subcultural capital waning.” Perhaps true in 1997, but in 2000 this was uttering the most banal, the “sound of the underground” having already shifted once to speed garage and then to two-step.) This is of course ignoring the rockist aesthetic choices (of which the above is a taste); how anyone could prefer the (beautiful yes, but) fussy, prissy “Strings of Life” to “James Brown is Dead”…well, you know the rest.

Yet another installment in the ongoing question: why do good people continue to read Salon?