(I take it for granted: I’m gay, I’ve been to Cuba, I’ve worked in publishing, and I contact my Congresswomen. You tell me there’s no file with my names on it.)

I like an awful lot of music that’s conventionally called annoying—I was almost in tears of wonder the other day at the opening to Einstein on the Beach, “St. Andrew (This Battle Is in the Air)” is one of my favorite tracks on Icky Thump, and some of Messiaen is like the sun exploding in my face for joy—but the inanity of smooth-jazz and elevator-music backup singers popping out fragments of a chorus that nobody else is singing just drives me up a tree. I may be flexible nigh unto indiscrimination on many matters of art, but in this I am rigid: backup singing must back up singing.