BONAFIDE 'til I Can't No More: “Old Town Road” as the Endpoint of a Century of Genre and Chart Evolution
The book's introduction places “Old Town Road” in context as a singular chart phenomenon and considers its value as both a piece of music and a pop artifact. An opening anecdote from a grade-school gymnasium reveals the depth of popularity of Lil Nas X's song with audiences of all ages. The song's run at No. 1 on the Hot 100 was longer than the biggest hits by many pop titans, raising the question of whether “Old Town Road” was a fluke. The introduction makes the case that the song is part of a long lineage of metatextual, self-referential pop hits that reset the idea of “cool” for a new generation. The song's great contribution was revealing what we value as a culture.