Yesterday I posted my "musical eclecticism" score87/100, I'll remind you allbut, if the truth be told, technologies of the last ten years have made it easier than ever before to have a vast collection of music, and to enjoy the accompanying eclectic taste. (A partial list, roughly in the order of my experience with them: CD burners, file-sharing networks, the iPod and other MP3 players, MP3 blogs, MySpace, the iTunes music store, Last.fm.)
I do believe that the ability to randomly access a huge stockpile of cultural material, literally at the press of a button, has begun to yield a generation of listeners for whom strictly drawn genre lines hold no authority or appeal. Which maybe goes part of the way towards explaining the preponderance of unusual genre-crossing guest stars that have been cropping up in my listening this year.
A team-up like MIA and Timbaland (on "Come Around," from Kala) elicits a little bit of head-scratching, but they're basically operating at different points of a single genre continuum: it's exactly the same bit of insider patronage that inspired the Missy Elliot / Lady Sovereign pairup from last year. You need to make that genre continuum even broader to make sense of "Flashlight Fight," a Go! Team track featuring Chuck D (which functions downright beautifully and instantly reduces the distance between the two to nothing). But there's no genre large enough to legitimate the pedigree of "Poisenville Kids No Wins," which pairs apocalyptic Def Jux rapper/producer El-P and depressive indie-rocker Cat Power. But the muttishness of it works sublimely: although she's reduced to sample-status in the first half, she emerges as a Shirley-Bassey-level force around the piece's midpoint.
Poisenville Kids No Wins / Reprise [This Must Be Our Time] (edit)