Can pop music be cathartic? No, Randy says, sad content plus happy music is a formula for hit-making, not for personal growth. And by kicking things off with preemptive mockery of a litany of sorrows, he casts doubt on the very existence of the manifold miseries turned into solid-gold pop. It sure sounds like musicians have the blues, but the music's immediately pleasurable pop sheen reveals the bullshit beneath. The music is cheerful and upbeat from the get-go, and that's a problem: pop bliss is where we should end, not start, if music is leading us through a process of catharsis. The same tension plays out between Randy's froggy singing and Paul Simon's sweeter, softer vocalizing. There's a falseness, an artificiality, to Simon's smoother singing. How's he hitting so many high notes while in such dire emotional straits? Randy's untutored voice, on the other hand, is that of a musician as craftsman, of one who knows no man but a blockhead ever wrote music, except for money.