What is it that makes us nod our head in time with the rhythm, tap our feet, grin, grimace, flip the dial? What is it that makes music "good" and what leads us to make these myriad critical decisions about popular culture each day? This text considers these questions and seeks to uncover the meaning which is manufactured by popular music. From Toscanini to the Pet Shop Boys, "Performing Rites" ranges over and beyond popular music in its exploration of the influence of popular aesthetics. Value judgements are made constantly in all our life-decisions, monumental and mundane, intellectual and apathetic. Simon Frith seeks the root of these decisions which inform our apprehensions of the very culture we daily construct.