1. Fuck irony. Think in colors. Britney is spangled, neon pink with strands of platinum blonde hair cascading down like so many shattered dreams. The Arcade Fire is a vapid, monochrome grey with the odd flashes of indigo. One represents excess and the fascination of watching people grow up and fall apart in public. The other grew up in their bedrooms, fighting off Canada.

2. Fuck irony. Think tunes. You like pop music, right? Good production line pop music. Phil Spector, Motown, the Spice Girls, Abba, the Rolling Stones… How many Arcade Fire tunes could you hum me right now? (And don't use that tired old excuse of never having heard them here: I'm not being literal. Substitute the Arcade Fire for the Dears or the Flaming Lips or Grandaddy, and the question is still relevant.) Now, try Britney. "Oops, I Did It Again," "Baby, One More Time," "Toxic"… the list goes on and on. These are songs you could play on the piano, rock baby to sleep with at night. Don't be afraid of the obvious. (Abba and Genesis: which one has stood the test of time? Now, c'mon… )

3. She's fun! Seriously. Away from all the crass marketing angles and that totally dire video where she slashes her wrists in the bath (actually it was a Kabbalah bracelet that looked like blood), this is solid entertainment. Don't be ashamed of liking glittery, shiny things. It's perfectly natural. Look at it this way: if I wanna see people get up on stage who look like they've just stepped off the street, I'll stay out on the street and not waste my money, thanks very much. Britney is a lift away from the mundane, the everyday--she cares what she looks like.

4. Her best friend is Madonna.

5. Pop is directly designed to appeal to the senses. If you deny that appeal then it probably means there's an element of shame in your music appreciation. And that's a shame in itself. What do you have to be ashamed about? Nothing, except the approval of your parents and peers. Fuck them. Indie music, on the other hand, is directly designed to appeal to the holier-than-thou tribal aspect of being a teenager: the clothes, the look and attitude, while simultaneously going out of its way to pretend that it doesn't. But it does! It does. Just because someone is dressing down doesn't mean they aren't conscious of it.

6. It's very easy to namedrop a cool name especially if the name isn't particularly well known. Don't patronize. Everyone's heard of Britney: to admit to liking her over the Arcade Fire indicates a sincerity in your appreciation of music that should not--and cannot--be denied.

7. The Arcade Fire is for now, maybe next year. Britney is for life, or what she represents is. Her people have managed to capture and manipulate the adolescent state of mind that stays with people for life: it's a communal experience, not an insular one.--Too many artists try to shed their fans. They think that to be taken seriously, to be perceived as mature, they should be elitist. Don't ever be ashamed of your love and enthusiasm for music. Britney has never been intimidating, and yet she's never boring either. She's crazy! She wears red PVC catsuits that could start a revolution. She gets married and divorced in less than 24 hours. She tongue kisses other women on stage. She offered her services to the Republicans! (AND they rejected her.)

8. Gay people are always cooler than straight people. Not that Britney is gay, but you know what I mean.

9. She looks like typical Southern white trash, which is always appealing: but (as Dolly Parton once said) it takes a lot of money to look this cheap. What do the Arcade Fire look like? Who knows? Who cares?

10. It's never just about the music.