Dara writes:

I am sorry for the lapse in posting, readers. As you know James's father has been sick. We will soon post an update and photos about that!

In the meantime, when I had some time on my hands recently, I filled it by surfing the iTunes store. I listened to every singer recommended recently either in The New York Times or The New Yorker, two of my most regular reads. Did I say "every singer"? I meant every singer whose CD I was too embarrassed to buy: you know, Mariah, Nelly Furtado, Justin Timberlake.

I have a weakness for Mariah's melisma. But I have to say I did not enjoy the tracks from her latest, "The Emancipation of Mimi," even though "We Belong Together" is fun. I kind of can't stack El Timberlake, but gave him the benefit of the doubt because, in a recent sidebar, New Yorker critic Sasha Frere-Jones called him a "superhero," and exulted:

With neither the frequent traffic infractions nor the rehab antics of his young pop peers, Timberlake is ably sustaining the old-fashioned tradition of physical, real-time entertainment.

In such columns, critics for high-brow publications try to prove their street cred, that they are NOT out of touch with the 18-29-year-old demographic. I say this because I can think of no other reason to laud Timberlake. Frere-Jones's column, and others like it, promote the youthfulness and vernacular of the writer, not the talent or timelessness of the singer.

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