In Hornby's "High Fidelity," Rob, a music fanatic as well as the owner of a failing record shop, the "Champion Vinyl," asks himself "Did I listen to music because I was miserable? Or was I miserable because I listened to music?" (25), referring to pop music. Like the saying goes "misery loves company" and Rob, depressed and miserable, listens to pop music because he wants companionship, and what better companion can a thirty-five year old loser whose girlfriend dumped him ask for?
Like a pop song, Rob complains about "broken hearts and rejection and pain and misery and loss" (25). Always negative, Rob's relationships are the epitome of pop music because after his most recent break up, Rob cannot clear his mind of Laura, who left him for the Ian, the neighbor with unbelievable stamina. In a pop song, the singer's lyrics express the pain of breaking up as well as how the singer refuses to accept the heartache anymore.
Unaware, Rob whines and moans about Laura, whom Rob proudly claims didn't make his "Top Five Heart Breakers" yet she never escapes his mind. Both Rob and pop music have the same theme, loss.
By listening to pop music, people set themselves up for an unrealistic view of relationship because pop music delivers a miserable message. Undetected, Pop music brainwashes its listeners by releasing "thousands-literally thousands of [pop songs]" (25), which express nothing but pain, pain, and yes more "Pain." The music lover that he is, Rob falls into the deceiving hand of pop music. Like many other victims of pop music, Rob, almost out of habit, needs to listen to depressing songs to accommodate the heart broken mood he feels when Laura leaves him.