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I have a deep love for Jefferson Airplane. It is a love so deep that I can’t help but feel a certain amount of goodwill for Jefferson Starship and Starship. So that definitely colours my reaction to this GQ oral history. I read it last night and have been mentally arguing with it ever since.

I have an essay’s-worth of thoughts, but I’ll boil it down to three things.

  1. There is no way We Built This City is the worst song of all time. It’s a perfectly fine pop song that merely suffered from being overplayed.
  2. I’m not a fan of oral histories in general. While it is vitally important to collect people’s stories in their own words, that’s not enough when presenting this information to the public. Context matters, and evaluation of sources matter. Just because somebody says something doesn’t mean it’s true.
  3. I think this piece is unnecessarily nasty towards Grace Slick (who clearly chose to not participate, but of course there’s no context or comment on that, because of the weakness of the pop culture journalism oral history format).

An Oral History of “We Built This City,” The Worst Song of All Time (GQ, via Go Fug Yourself)

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