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Perspective | The best singles of 2023: Top pop songs from Olivia Rodrigo to Kylie Minogue

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There are many ways to hear “Padam Padam.” First, as Edith Piaf dancing to Kraftwerk in a loud nightclub. Then, as a virality that swiftly thumped across the wilds of TikTok. By summertime, it had become the unofficial theme song of Pride Month. Now, in hindsight, it’s a hit that makes Minogue appear as durable as Janet Jackson or Madonna. Also, here’s a fourth way to hear it: What if this song, in all its artificial sleekness, is about facial recognition software (“You look a little like somebody I know”), virtual home assistants (“I know you wanna take me home”), data scraping (“I’ll be in your head all weekend”) and digital fitness wearables (“I can hear your heart beating”)? What if, instead of singing about one human seducing another, Minogue is singing about technology’s unstoppable seduction of our species? My worried heart padams a little faster.



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