Trinidad is known for its vibrant musical traditions, which reflect the island’s ethnic diversity. The annual Carnival, far and away the biggest event in Trinidad, is filled with soca and calypso music. Soca is a dance music derived from calypso, a music with African antecedents. In parang, a Venezuelan and Spanish derived folk music that dominates Trinidadian Christmas festivities, groups of singers and musicians progress from house to house, performing for their neighbors. Chutney is also an Indo-Caribbean music. In Bacchanalian Sentiments, Kevin K. Birth argues that these and other Trinidadian musical genres and traditions not only provide a soundtrack to daily life on the southern Caribbean island; they are central to the ways that Trinidadians experience and navigate their social lives and interpret political events.
Birth draws on fieldwork he conducted in one of Trinidad’s ethnically diverse rural villages to explore the relationship between music and social and political consciousness on the island. He describes how Trinidadians use the affective power of music and the physiological experience of performance to express and work through issues related to identity, ethnicity, and politics. He looks at how the performers and audience members relate to different musical traditions. Turning explicitly to politics, Birth recounts how Trinidadians used music as a means of making sense of the attempted coup d’état in 1990 and the 1995 parliamentary election, which resulted in a tie between the two major political parties. Bacchanalian Sentiments is an innovative ethnographic analysis of the significance of music, and particular musical forms, in the everyday lives of rural Trinidadians.
The Beatles, the 1968 double LP more commonly known as the White Album, has always been viewed as an oddity in the group’s oeuvre. Many have found it to be inconsistent, sprawling, and self-indulgent. The Beatles through a Glass Onion is the first-ever scholarly volume to explore this seminal recording at length, bringing together contributions by some of the most eminent scholars of rock music writing today. It marks a reconsideration of this iconic but under-appreciated recording and reaffirms the White Album’s significance in the Beatles’ career and in rock history.
This volume treats the White Album as a whole, with essays scrutinizing it from a wide range of perspectives. These essays place the album within the social and political context of a turbulent historical moment; locate it within the Beatles’ lives and careers, taking into consideration the complex personal forces at play during the recording sessions; investigate the musical as well as pharmaceutical influences on the record; reveal how it reflects new developments in the Beatles’ songwriting and arranging; revisit the question of its alleged disunity; and finally, track its legacy and the breadth of its influence on later rock, pop, and hip-hop artists.
The Beatles through a Glass Onion features the scholarship of Adam Bradley, Vincent Benitez, Lori Burns, John Covach, Walter Everett, Michael Frontani, Steve Hamelman, Ian Inglis, John Kimsey, Mark Osteen, Russell Reising, Stephen Valdez, Anthony D. Villa, Kenneth Womack, and Alyssa Woods. John Covach’s Afterword summarizes the White Album’s lasting impact and value. The Beatles through a Glass Onion represents a landmark work of rock music scholarship. It will prove to be an essential and enduring contribution to the field.
During the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, popular music was considered nothing but vulgar entertainment. Today, jazz and rock music are seen as forms of art, and their practitioners are regularly accorded a status on par with the cultural and political elite. To take just one recent example, Bono, lead singer and lyricist of the rock band U2, got equal and sometimes higher billing than Pope John Paul II on their shared efforts in the Jubilee 2000 debt-relief project.
When and how did popular music earn so much cultural capital? To find out, Bernard Gendron investigates five key historical moments when popular music and avant-garde art transgressed the rigid boundaries separating high and low culture to form friendly alliances. He begins at the end of the nineteenth century in Paris's Montmartre district, where cabarets showcased popular music alongside poetry readings in spaces decorated with modernist art works. Two decades later, Parisian poets and musicians "slumming" in jazz clubs assimilated jazz's aesthetics in their performances and compositions. In the bebop revolution in mid-1940s America, jazz returned the compliment by absorbing modernist devices and postures, in effect transforming itself into an avant-garde art form. Mid-1960s rock music, under the leadership of the Beatles, went from being reviled as vulgar music to being acclaimed as a cutting-edge art form. Finally, Gendron takes us to the Mudd Club in the late 1970s, where New York punk and new wave rockers were setting the aesthetic agenda for a new generation of artists.
Between Montmartre and the Mudd Club should be on the shelves of anyone interested in the intersections between high and low culture, art and music, or history and aesthetics.
The much-anticipated paperback edition of Arthur Kempton's story on the art, influence, and commerce of Black American popular music
Praise for Boogaloo:
"From Thomas A. Dorsey and gospel to Sam Cooke and the classic age of boogaloo ('soul') to George Clinton and hip hop, this comprehensive analysis of African-American popular music is a deep and gorgeous meditation on its aesthetics and business."
---Henry Louis Gates, Jr., W.E.B. Du Bois Professor of the Humanities, Harvard
"Surpassingly sympathetic and probing. . . . a panoramic critical survey of black popular music over seventy-five years. . . .There is no book quite like it."
---New York Review of Books
". . . a grand and sweeping survey of the history of soul music in America. . . . one of the best books of music journalism. . . ."
". . . a fascinating and often original addition to the extensive literature. . . . an astute and witty account. . . . there is plenty in Boogaloo to set the mind and heart alight, as well as some flashes of brilliance and originality rare in music writing today."
---Times Literary Supplement
Here is an illustrated guide to the rich music of Brazil—its history, styles, performers, instruments, and impact on musicians around the globe. From the boisterous rhythms of samba to the cool elegance of bossa nova to the hot percussion of Bahian axé music, The Brazilian Sound celebrates a world music phenomenon. This revised and expanded edition includes discussions of developments in samba and other key genres, the rise of female singer-songwriters in recent years, new works by established artists like Milton Nascimento and Marisa Monte, and the mixing of bossa with electronica. This clearly written and lavishly illustrated encyclopedic survey features new entries and photographs, an extensive glossary of Brazilian music terms and more.
This edition of The Brazilian Sound contains new discussions of:
· música sertaneja and música caipira
· Brazilian funk, rap/hip-hop, and electronic dance music
· important new samba and MPB artists
· Plus! An updated bibliography and glossary, and a list of Web resources
Based on exclusive interviews, Breakout tells the often riveting personal stories of fourteen popular musicians—some well known, others not—from Zaire, Ghana, Nigeria and Sierra Leone. The first book on African pop music to look closely at the lives of the musicians themselves, Breakout deals with four African musical genres: soukous, highlife, afro-beat, and palm wine.
Amid Africa's deepening economic and political crises of the last two decades, African musicians who developed these genres faced the need to cross cultural boundaries, or "break out," and achieve a hit in the international marketplace. Challenging conventional assumptions, Gary Stewart demonstrates for the first time the true dimensions of this struggle to create music that will qualify as both an authentic cultural expression and an export commodity. From accounts of the outrageous Fela, who snipes at African leaders and recounts his days with Isis in ancient Egypt, to S. E. Rogie, who lurches from the pinnacle of stardom in West Africa to delivering pizzas in California, to Olatunji, who finds new life with the Grateful Dead, these are the stories of Africans straddling traditional life and an encroaching modernity—and also the stories of third world musicians surmounting political and economic chaos at home and carrying their music to a world dominated by Western cultural and economic power.
In The Cat and the Fiddle, Jeremy Barlow explores 700 years of musical humor, a topsy-turvy world in which monkeys fiddle and pigs play the bagpipes. It is a vision of chaos and devilry as depicted in a variety of sources—the illuminated borders of medieval manuscripts, eighteenth-century prints of urban life, and even the illustrations of children's books.
Barlow reveals the shifting meanings behind such images, as they were often symptomatic of larger cultural trend such as rapid industrialization and urbanization, an emerging class system, and the moral movements of the late nineteenth century. As he compellingly argues, the development of the printing press, the popular spectacle of public concerts, and the rise of new political uses for music all played a critical role in musical history and were distinctly evident in images of musical humor.
The archives of Oxford's Bodleian Library provided a rich supply of previously unpublished material for Barlow's research. With full-color images throughout, The Cat and the Fiddle will be a delight for scholars of art and political history as well as lovers of music everywhere.
The history of Haiti throughout the twentieth century has been marked by oppression at the hands of colonial and dictatorial overlords. But set against this "day for the hunter" has been a "day for the prey," a history of resistance, and sometimes of triumph. With keen cultural and historical awareness, Gage Averill shows that Haiti's vibrant and expressive music has been one of the most highly charged instruments in this struggle—one in which power, politics, and resistance are inextricably fused.
Averill explores such diverse genres as Haitian jazz, troubadour traditions, Vodou-jazz, konpa, mini-djaz, new generation, and roots music. He examines the complex interaction of music with power in contexts such as honorific rituals, sponsored street celebrations, Carnival, and social movements that span the political spectrum.
With firsthand accounts by musicians, photos, song texts, and ethnographic descriptions, this book explores the profound manifestations of power and song in the day-to-day efforts of ordinary Haitians to rise above political repression.
There is no other way to put it: Elvis is the King. Note the present tense: even though Elvis (supposedly) died nearly forty years ago, he has lived on in our hearts, as a sound, as an image, and as an especially vigorous personality. In fact, it’s safe to say no other celebrity has done so quite as well. The Death and Resurrection of Elvis Presley is the story of that afterlife, of Elvis after he left the building. Walking the eccentrically carpeted rooms of Graceland, bidding into stratospheric sums on his auctioned relics, and mingling among the some 200,000 impersonators of his likeness, Ted Harrison offers nothing less than the ultimate Elvis tribute.
Harrison begins, of course, in pilgrimage: to Graceland. He shows how Elvis’s estate was pillaged nearly to ruin by his manager but was saved through the deft business acumen and financial vision of his divorced wife, one Priscilla Presley. If Graceland seems holy, that’s because it is: Harrison unveils in Elvis’s allure a deeply spiritual dimension, showing how Elvis fans, over the decades, have anointed their idol with Christ-like qualities. Through Elvis’s extravagance, Harrison raises fascinating links between money and faith, and through Elvis’s life, he shows how the King actually fulfilled a host of roles ranging from hero to martyr to saint. Underpinning the whole story is Elvis’s extraordinary charisma and—lest we forget—his astonishing musical genius.
Fascinating, colorful, and deeply informative, this book is a must-have for any fan, anyone who was ever lucky enough to see Elvis alive or who hopes they might still be able to.
In Extended Play, one of the country's most innovative music writers conducts a wide-ranging tour through the outer limits of contemporary music. Over the course of more than twenty-five portraits, interviews, and essays, John Corbett engages artists from lands as distant as Sweden, Siberia, and Saturn. With a special emphasis on African American and European improvisers, the book explores the famous and the little known, from John Cage and George Clinton to Anthony Braxton and Sun Ra. Employing approaches as diverse as the music he celebrates, Corbett illuminates the sound and theory of funk and rap, blues and jazz, contemporary classical, free improvisation, rock, and reggae. Using cultural critique and textual theory, Corbett addresses a broad spectrum of issues, such as the status of recorded music in postmodern culture, the politics of self-censorship, experimentation, and alternativism in the music industry, and the use of metaphors of space and madness in the work of African American musicians. He follows these more theoretically oriented essays with a series of extensive profiles and in-depth interviews that offer contrasting and complementary perspectives on some of the world’s most creative musicians and their work. Included here are more than twenty original photographs as well as a meticulously annotated discography. The result is one of the most thoughtful, and most entertaining, investigations of contemporary music available today.
Genre in Popular Music
Fabian Holt University of Chicago Press, 2007 Library of Congress ML3477.H65 2007 | Dewey Decimal 781.64
The popularity of the motion picture soundtrack O Brother, Where Art Thou? brought an extraordinary amount of attention to bluegrass, but it also drew its share of criticism from some aficionados who felt the album’s inclusion of more modern tracks misrepresented the genre. This soundtrack, these purists argued, wasn’t bluegrass, but “roots music,” a new and, indeed, more overarching category concocted by journalists and marketers. Why is it that popular music genres like these and others are so passionately contested? And how is it that these genres emerge, coalesce, change, and die out?
In Genre in Popular Music, Fabian Holt provides new understanding as to why we debate music categories, and why those terms are unstable and always shifting. To tackle the full complexity of genres in popular music, Holt embarks on a wide-ranging and ambitious collection of case studies. Here he examines not only the different reactions to O Brother, but also the impact of rock and roll’s explosion in the 1950s and 1960s on country music and jazz, and how the jazz and indie music scenes in Chicago have intermingled to expand the borders of their respective genres. Throughout, Holt finds that genres are an integral part of musical culture—fundamental both to musical practice and experience and to the social organization of musical life.
Good Vibrations brings together scholars with a variety of expertise, from music to cultural studies to literature, to assess the full extent of the contributions to popular culture and popular music of one the most successful and influential pop bands of the twentieth century. The book covers the full fifty-year history of the Beach Boys’ music, from essays on some of the group’s best-known music—such as their hit single “Good Vibrations” —to their mythical unfinished masterpiece, Smile. Throughout, the book places special focus on the individual whose creative vision brought the whole enterprise to life, Brian Wilson, advancing our understanding of his gifts as a songwriter, arranger, and producer.
The book joins a growing body of literature on the popular music of the 1960s, in general, and on Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys in particular. But Good Vibrations extends the investigation further and deeper than it has gone before, not only offering new understanding and insights into individual songs and albums, but also providing close examination of compositional techniques and reflections on the group’s place in American popular culture.
Hearing Harmony offers a listener-based, philosophical-psychological theory of harmonic effects for Anglophone popular music since the 1950s. It begins with chords, their functions and characteristic hierarchies, then identifies the most common and salient harmonic-progression classes, or harmonic schemas. The identification of these schemas, as well as the historical contextualization of many of them, allows for systematic exploration of the repertory’s typical harmonic transformations (such as chord substitution) and harmonic ambiguities. Doll provides readers with a novel explanation of the assorted aural qualities of chords, and how certain harmonic effects result from the interaction of various melodic, rhythmic, textural, timbral, and extra-musical contexts, and how these interactions can determine whether a chordal riff is tonally centered or tonally ambiguous, whether it sounds aggressive or playful or sad, whether it seems to evoke an earlier song using a similar series of chords, whether it sounds conventional or unfamiliar.
“Hello, hello Brazil” was the standard greeting Brazilian radio announcers of the 1930s used to welcome their audience into an expanding cultural marketplace. New genres like samba and repackaged older ones like choro served as the currency in this marketplace, minted in the capital in Rio de Janeiro and circulated nationally by the burgeoning recording and broadcasting industries. Bryan McCann chronicles the flourishing of Brazilian popular music between the 1920s and the 1950s. Through analysis of the competing projects of composers, producers, bureaucrats, and fans, he shows that Brazilians alternately envisioned popular music as the foundation for a unified national culture and used it as a tool to probe racial and regional divisions.
McCann explores the links between the growth of the culture industry, rapid industrialization, and the rise and fall of Getúlio Vargas’s Estado Novo dictatorship. He argues that these processes opened a window of opportunity for the creation of enduring cultural patterns and demonstrates that the understandings of popular music cemented in the mid–twentieth century continue to structure Brazilian cultural life in the early twenty-first.
From Queen Latifa to Count Basie, Madonna to Monk, Hole in Our Soul: The Loss of Beauty and Meaning in American Popular Music traces popular music back to its roots in jazz, blues, country, and gospel through the rise in rock 'n' roll and the emergence of heavy metal, punk, and rap. Yet despite the vigor and balance of these musical origins, Martha Bayles argues, something has gone seriously wrong, both with the sound of popular music and the sensibility it expresses.
Bayles defends the tough, affirmative spirit of Afro-American music against the strain of artistic modernism she calls 'perverse.' She describes how perverse modernism was grafted onto popular music in the late 1960s, and argues that the result has been a cult of brutality and obscenity that is profoundly anti-musical.
Unlike other recent critics of popular music, Bayles does not blame the problem on commerce. She argues that culture shapes the market and not the other way around. Finding censorship of popular music "both a practical and a constitutional impossibility," Bayles insists that "an informed shift in public tastes may be our only hope of reversing the current malignant mood."
Once asked to name the ten best female singers, the renowned musical producer Billy Rose replied, “There is Jane Froman and nine others.” A legend in her time, Jane Froman (1907–1980) was one of Missouri’s greatest success stories. Her singing career, which spanned over three decades, included radio and television, recordings, nightclub performances, Broadway shows, and Hollywood movies.
Born in University City, Froman spent her childhood in the small town of Clinton and her adolescence in Columbia. After earning her associate degree from Christian (now Columbia) College, she auditioned as a vocalist for WLW, a Cincinnati radio station, and in 1934 was voted the top “girl singer” of the day in a poll of listeners.
At the height of her career, during World War II, Froman volunteered to travel for the USO. On February 22, 1943, her plane crashed into the Tagus River near Lisbon, Portugal. Although she suffered horrible injuries that plagued her for the rest of her life, she continued her singing career. On crutches, she entertained the troops, giving ninety-five shows throughout Europe. Her courageous return was the focus of the 1952 movie With a Song in My Heart,starring Susan Hayward. For scenes that required singing performances, Froman sang the songs through dubbing, and the movie soundtrack became a best-selling record album. Froman’s popularity led to her own television show from 1952 to 1955. In 1961, Froman retired from singing and returned to Columbia, Missouri, where she was active in volunteer work and lived out her remaining years.
Drawing upon an autobiography that Froman started but never finished, Ilene Stone skillfully uses the singer’s own words, along with other resource materials and extensive interviews with people who knew Froman, to produce the first biography of this extraordinary woman. Written in a clear and accessible style, Jane Froman: Missouri’s First Lady of Song will be of great value to anyone interested in Missouri history, women’s studies, or the history of popular entertainment in the twentieth century.
Now known internationally through the recordings of King Sunny Ade and others, juju music originated more than fifty years ago among the Yoruba of Nigeria. This history and ethnography of juju is the first detailed account of the evolution and social significance of a West African popular music. Enhanced with maps, color photographs of musicians and dance parties, musical transcriptions, interviews with musicians, and a glossary of Yoruba terms, Juju is an invaluable contribution to scholarship and a boon to fans who want to discover the roots of this vibrant music.
Over the past decade, Korean popular culture has become a global phenomenon. The "Korean Wave" of music, film, television, sports, and cuisine generates significant revenues and cultural pride in South Korea. The Korean Popular Culture Reader provides a timely and essential foundation for the study of "K-pop," relating the contemporary cultural landscape to its historical roots. The essays in this collection reveal the intimate connections of Korean popular culture, or hallyu, to the peninsula's colonial and postcolonial histories, to the nationalist projects of the military dictatorship, and to the neoliberalism of twenty-first-century South Korea. Combining translations of seminal essays by Korean scholars on topics ranging from sports to colonial-era serial fiction with new work by scholars based in fields including literary studies, film and media studies, ethnomusicology, and art history, this collection expertly navigates the social and political dynamics that have shaped Korean cultural production over the past century.
Contributors. Jung-hwan Cheon, Michelle Cho, Youngmin Choe, Steven Chung, Katarzyna J. Cwiertka, Stephen Epstein, Olga Fedorenko, Kelly Y. Jeong, Rachael Miyung Joo, Inkyu Kang, Kyu Hyun Kim, Kyung Hyun Kim, Pil Ho Kim, Boduerae Kwon, Regina Yung Lee, Sohl Lee, Jessica Likens, Roald Maliangkay, Youngju Ryu, Hyunjoon Shin, Min-Jung Son, James Turnbull, Travis Workman
It has long been assumed that people who prefer Led Zeppelin to Mozart live aesthetically impoverished lives. But why? In Listening to Popular Music, award-winning popular music scholar Theodore Gracyk argues that aesthetic value is just as important in popular listening as it is with “serious” music. And we don’t have to treat popular music as art in order to recognize its worth. Aesthetic values are realized differently in different musical styles, and each requires listening skills that people must learn.
Boldly merging insights from popular music studies, aesthetic theory, cognitive science, psychology, identity theory, and cultural studies, Gracyk crafts an innovative study that argues that understanding aesthetic value is crucial to the enjoyment of all forms of music. Listening to Popular Music thusoffers a new, general framework for understanding what it means to appreciate music, showing that an informed preference for popular music is a response to real values of the music, including aesthetic values.
"Finally, a book on aesthetics that's philosophically grounded, anti-elitist, and tailored to popular music. Much needed and deftly achieved."
—William Echard, Department of Music, and Institute for Comparative Studies in Literature, Art, and Culture, Carleton University
"A sophisticated account of aesthetic value in popular music that revealingly challenges orthodoxies of cultural studies and traditional aesthetics."
—Stephen Davies, Department of Philosophy, University of Auckland, and author of The Philosophy of Art
"Gracyk's arguments are thoughtful, clear, and persuasive, and it's refreshing to see him expose the flaws in commonly repeated critiques of popular music. This book will challenge open-minded doubters to take popular music seriously."
—Mark Katz, Assistant Professor of Music, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and author of Capturing Sound: How Technology Has Changed Music
Theodore Gracyk is Department Chair and Professor of Philosophy at Minnesota State University Moorhead. He is the author of Rhythm and Noise: An Aesthetics of Rock and I Wanna Be Me: Rock Music and the Politics of Identity, which won the 2002 IASPM-US Woody Guthrie Book Award.
Making the Scene in the Garden State explores New Jersey’s rich musical heritage through stories about the musicians, listeners and fans who came together to create sounds from across the American popular music spectrum. The book includes chapters on the beginnings of musical recording in Thomas Edison’s factories in West Orange; early recording and the invention of the Victrola at Victor Records’ Camden complex; Rudy Van Gelder’s recording studios (for Blue Note, Prestige, and other jazz labels) in Hackensack and Englewood Cliffs; Zacherley and the afterschool dance television show Disc-o-Teen, broadcast from Newark in the 1960s; Bruce Springsteen’s early years on the Jersey Shore at the Upstage Club in Asbury Park; and, the 1980s indie rock scene centered at Maxwell’s in Hoboken. Concluding with a foray into the thriving local music scenes of today, the book examines the sounds, sights and textures of the locales where New Jerseyans have gathered to rock, bop, and boogie.
Tiki torches, cocktails, la dolce vita, and the music that popularized them—Mondo Exotica offers a behind-the-scenes look at the sounds and obsessions of the Space Age and Cold War period as well as the renewed interest in them evident in contemporary music and design. The music journalist and radio host Francesco Adinolfi provides extraordinary detail about artists, songs, albums, and soundtracks, while also presenting an incisive analysis of the ethnic and cultural stereotypes embodied in exotica and related genres. In this encyclopedic account of films, books, TV programs, mixed drinks, and above all music, he balances a respect for exotica’s artistic innovations with a critical assessment of what its popularity says about postwar society in the United States and Europe, and what its revival implies today.
Adinolfi interviewed a number of exotica greats, and Mondo Exotica incorporates material from his interviews with Martin Denny, Esquivel, the Italian film composers Piero Piccioni and Piero Umiliani, and others. It begins with an extended look at the postwar popularity of exotica in the United States. Adinolfi describes how American bachelors and suburbanites embraced the Polynesian god Tiki as a symbol of escape and sexual liberation; how Les Baxter’s album Ritual of the Savage (1951) ushered in the exotica music craze; and how Martin Denny’s Exotica built on that craze, hitting number one in 1957. Adinolfi chronicles the popularity of performers from Yma Sumac, “the Peruvian Nightingale,” to Esquivel, who was described by Variety as “the Mexican Duke Ellington,” to the chanteuses Eartha Kitt, Julie London, and Ann-Margret. He explores exotica’s many sub-genres, including mood music, crime jazz, and spy music. Turning to Italy, he reconstructs the postwar years of la dolce vita, explaining how budget spy films, spaghetti westerns, soft-core porn movies, and other genres demonstrated an attraction to the foreign. Mondo Exotica includes a discography of albums, compilations, and remixes.
Música norteña, a musical genre with its roots in the folk ballad traditions of Northern Mexico and the Texas-Mexican border region, has become a hugely popular musical style in the U.S., particularly among Mexican immigrants. Featuring evocative songs about undocumented border-crossers, drug traffickers, and the plight of immigrant workers, música norteña has become the music of a “nation between nations.” Música Norteña is the first definitive history of this transnational music that has found enormous commercial success in norteamérica.
Cathy Ragland, an ethnomusicologist and former music critic, serves up the fascinating fifty-year story of música norteña, enlivened by interviews with important musicians and her own first-hand observations of live musical performances. Beyond calling our attention to musical influences, Ragland shows readers the social and economic forces at work behind the music. By comparing música norteña with other popular musical forms, including conjunto tejano, she helps us understand and appreciate the musical ties that bind the Mexican diaspora.
An influential writer on popular music asks what we talk about when we talk about music. Instead of dismissing emotional response and personal taste as inaccessible to academic critics, Frith takes these forms of engagement as his subject—and discloses their place at the center of the aesthetics that structure our culture and color our lives.
Phonographies explores the numerous links and relays between twentieth-century black cultural production and sound technologies from the phonograph to the Walkman. Highlighting how black authors, filmmakers, and musicians have actively engaged with recorded sound in their work, Alexander G. Weheliye contends that the interplay between sound technologies and black music and speech enabled the emergence of modern black culture, of what he terms “sonic Afro-modernity.” He shows that by separating music and speech from their human sources, sound-recording technologies beginning with the phonograph generated new modes of thinking, being, and becoming. Black artists used these new possibilities to revamp key notions of modernity—among these, ideas of subjectivity, temporality, and community. Phonographies is a powerful argument that sound technologies are integral to black culture, which is, in turn, fundamental to Western modernity.
Weheliye surveys literature, film, and music to focus on engagements with recorded sound. He offers substantial new readings of canonical texts by W. E. B. Du Bois and Ralph Ellison, establishing dialogues between these writers and popular music and film ranging from Louis Armstrong’s voice to DJ mixing techniques to Darnell Martin’s 1994 movie I Like It Like That. Looking at how questions of diasporic belonging are articulated in contemporary black musical practices, Weheliye analyzes three contemporary Afro-diasporic musical acts: the Haitian and African American rap group the Fugees, the Afro- and Italian-German rap collective Advanced Chemistry, and black British artist Tricky and his partner Martina. Phonographies imagines the African diaspora as a virtual sounding space, one that is marked, in the twentieth century and twenty-first, by the circulation of culture via technological reproductions—records and tapes, dubbing and mixing, and more.
Within popular music there are entire genres (jazz “standards”), styles (hip hop), techniques (sampling), and practices (covers) that rely heavily on references between music of different styles and genres. This interdisciplinary collection of essays covers a wide range of musical styles and artists to investigate intertextuality—the shaping of one text by another—in popular music. The Pop Palimpsest offers new methodologies and frameworks for the analysis of intertextuality in popular music, and provides new lenses for examining relationships between a variety of texts both musical and nonmusical. Enriched by perspectives from multiple subdisciplines, The Pop Palimpsest considers a broad range of intertextual relationships in popular music to explore creative practices and processes and the networks that intertextual practices create between artists and listeners.
Collegiate a cappella, part of a long tradition of unaccompanied singing, is known to date back on American college campuses to at least the colonial era. Considered in the context of college glee clubs, barbershop quartets, early-twentieth-century vocal pop groups, doo-wop groups, and contemporary a cappella manifestations in pop music, collegiate a cappella is an extension of a very old tradition of close harmony singing---one that includes but also goes beyond the founding of the Yale Whiffenpoofs. Yet despite this important history, collegiate a cappella has until now never been the subject of scholarly examination.
In Powerful Voices: The Musical and Social World of Collegiate A Cappella, Joshua S. Duchan offers the first thorough accounting of the music's history and reveals how the critical issues of sociability, gender, performance, and technology affect its music and experience. Just as importantly, Duchan provides a vital contribution to music scholarship more broadly, in several important ways: by expanding the small body of literature on choruses and amateur music; by addressing musical and social processes in a field where the vast majority of scholarship focuses on individuals and their products; and by highlighting a musical context long neglected by musicologists---the college campus. Ultimately, Powerful Voices is a window on a world of amateur music that has begun to expand its reach internationally, carrying this uniquely American musical form to new global audiences, while playing an important role in the social, cultural, and musical education of countless singers over the last century.
The crooner Rudy Vallée's soft, intimate, and sensual vocal delivery simultaneously captivated millions of adoring fans and drew harsh criticism from those threatened by his sensitive masculinity. Although Vallée and other crooners reflected the gender fluidity of late-1920s popular culture, their challenge to the Depression era's more conservative masculine norms led cultural authorities to stigmatize them as gender and sexual deviants. In Real Men Don't Sing Allison McCracken outlines crooning's history from its origins in minstrelsy through its development as the microphone sound most associated with white recording artists, band singers, and radio stars. She charts early crooners’ rise and fall between 1925 and 1934, contrasting Rudy Vallée with Bing Crosby to demonstrate how attempts to contain crooners created and dictated standards of white masculinity for male singers. Unlike Vallée, Crosby survived the crooner backlash by adapting his voice and persona to adhere to white middle-class masculine norms. The effects of these norms are felt to this day, as critics continue to question the masculinity of youthful, romantic white male singers. Crooners, McCracken shows, not only were the first pop stars: their short-lived yet massive popularity fundamentally changed American culture.
Winner, 2014 Lambda Literary Award in LGBT Studies
Since the 1970s, a key goal of lesbian and gay activists has been protection against street violence, especially in gay neighborhoods. During the same time, policymakers and private developers declared the containment of urban violence to be a top priority. In this important book, Christina B. Hanhardt examines how LGBT calls for "safe space" have been shaped by broader public safety initiatives that have sought solutions in policing and privatization and have had devastating effects along race and class lines.
Drawing on extensive archival and ethnographic research in New York City and San Francisco, Hanhardt traces the entwined histories of LGBT activism, urban development, and U.S. policy in relation to poverty and crime over the past fifty years. She highlights the formation of a mainstream LGBT movement, as well as the very different trajectories followed by radical LGBT and queer grassroots organizations. Placing LGBT activism in the context of shifting liberal and neoliberal policies, Safe Space is a groundbreaking exploration of the contradictory legacies of the LGBT struggle for safety in the city.
From its 1939 “Nickel, Nickel” jingle to pathbreaking collaborations with Michael Jackson and Madonna to its pair of X Factor commercials in 2011 and 2012, Pepsi-Cola has played a leading role in drawing the American pop music industry into a synergetic relationship with advertising. This idea has been copied successfully by countless other brands over the years, and such commercial collaboration is commonplace today—but how did we get here? How and why have pop music aesthetics been co-opted to benefit corporate branding? What effect have Pepsi’s music marketing practices in particular had on other brands, the advertising industry, and popular music itself?
Soda Goes Pop investigates these and other vital questions around the evolving relationships between popular music and corporate advertising. Joanna K. Love joins musical analysis, historical research, and cultural theory to trace parallel shifts in these industries over eight decades. In addition to scholarly and industry resources, she draws on first-hand accounts, pop culture magazines, trade press journals, and other archival materials. Pepsi’s longevity as an influential American brand, its legendary commercials, and its pioneering, relentless pursuit of alliances with American musical stars makes the brand a particularly instructive point of focus. Several of the company’s most famous ad campaigns are prime examples of the practice of redaction, whereby marketers select, censor, and restructure musical texts to fit commercial contexts in ways that revise their aesthetic meanings and serve corporate aims. Ultimately, Love demonstrates how Pepsi’s marketing has historically appropriated and altered images of pop icons and the meanings of hit songs, and how these commercials shaped relationships between the American music business, the advertising industry, and corporate brands.
Soda Goes Pop is a rich resource for scholars and students of American studies, popular culture, advertising, broadcast media, and musicology. It is also an accessible and informative book for the general reader, as Love’s musical and theoretical analyses are clearly presented for non-specialist audiences and readers with varying degrees of musical knowledge.
Boosting the bass guitar, blending the vocals, overdubbing percussion while fretting over shoot-outs in the street. Grumbling about a producer, teasing a white engineer, challenging an artist to feel his African beat. Sound of Africa! is a riveting account of the production of a mbaqanga album in a state-of-the-art recording studio in Johannesburg. Made popular internationally by Mahlathini and the Mahotella Queens, mbaqanga's distinctive style features a bass solo voice and soaring harmonies of a female frontline over electric guitar, bass, keyboard, and drumset. Louise Meintjes chronicles the recording and mixing of an album by Izintombi Zesimanje, historically the rival group of the Mahotella Queens. Set in the early 1990s during South Africa’s tumultuous transition from apartheid to democratic rule, Sound of Africa! offers a rare portrait of the music recording process. It tracks the nuanced interplay among South African state controls, the music industry's transnational drive, and the mbaqanga artists' struggles for political, professional, and personal voice.
Focusing on the ways artists, producers, and sound engineers collaborate in the studio control room, Meintjes reveals not only how particular mbaqanga sounds are shaped technically, but also how egos and artistic sensibilities and race and ethnicity influence the mix. She analyzes how the turbulent identity politics surrounding Zulu ethnic nationalism impacted mbaqanga artists' decisions in and out of the studio. Conversely, she explores how the global consumption of Afropop and African images fed back into mbaqanga during the recording process. Meintjes is especially attentive to the ways the emotive qualities of timbre (sound quality or tone color) forge complex connections between aesthetic practices and political ideology. Vivid photos by the internationally renowned photographer TJ Lemon further dramatize Meintjes’ ethnography.
Popular music culture serves as an arena for debates on English and British national identity in this lively discussion of English popular music of the 1980s and 1990s. Against the background of his own upbringing as a Pakistani Brit, Nabeel Zuberi deftly combines a detailed account of the development of this music with a sophisticated assessment of its relation to the politics of cultural identity in Britain.
Zuberi looks at how the sounds, images, and lyrics of English popular music generate and critique ideas of national belonging, recasting the social and even the physical landscapes of cities like Manchester and London. The Smiths and Morrissey play on romanticized notions of the (white) English working class, while the Pet Shop Boys map a "queer urban Britain" in the AIDS era. The techno-culture of raves and dance clubs incorporates both an anti-institutional do-it-yourself politics and emergent leisure practices, while the potent mix of technology and creativity in British black music includes local conditions as well as a sense of global diaspora. British Asian musicians, drawing on Afrodiasporic and South Asian traditions, seek a sense of place in Britain as commercial interests try to pin down an image of them to market.
Sounds English shows how popular music complicates cherished notions of Englishness as it activates cultural outsiders and taps into a sense of not belonging. Alert and readable, Zuberi's wide-ranging discussion includes the performers Oasis, Blur, Tricky, Massive Attack, Goldie, A Guy Called Gerald, Roni Size, Bally Sagoo, Funˆdaˆmental, Echobelly, Cornershop, Talvin Singh, and others.
Beyond the familiar forms of Mississippi Delta Blues and mainstream country music, the vernacular music of the South also ranges from the ceremonial music of Native Americans, to "shout" singing in South Carolina sea islands, Cajun fiddling, and Mexican-American conjunto music. Sounds of the South assesses past efforts to document these richly varied musical forms and the challenges facing future work. "Sounds of the South"—a 1989 conference that gathered record collectors, folklorists, musicians, record producers, librarians, archivists, and traditional music lovers—celebrated the official opening of the Southern Folklife Collection with the John Edwards Memorial Collection at the library of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Based on that conference, Sounds of the South includes Bill Malone's account of his own career as fan and scholar of country music, Paul Oliver on European blues scholarship, and Ray Funk on researching Black Gospel Quartets. The contributors look at a number of topics related to the role of the archivist/folklorist in recording and documenting the music of the South—evaluating past fieldwork and current needs in documentation, archival issues, prospects for the publication of recordings, and changes in music and technology. Written in an accessible style, this volume will be of interest to all those concerned with preserving the music of the American South.
From the silent era to the present day, popular music has been a key component of the film experience. Yet there has been little serious writing on film soundtracks that feature popular music. Soundtrack Available fills this gap, as its contributors provide detailed analyses of individual films as well as historical overviews of genres, styles of music, and approaches to film scoring. With a cross-cultural emphasis, the contributors focus on movies that use popular songs from a variety of genres, including country, bubble-gum pop, disco, classical, jazz, swing, French cabaret, and showtunes. The films discussed range from silents to musicals, from dramatic and avant-garde films to documentaries in India, France, England, Australia, and the United States. The essays examine both “nondiegetic” music in film—the score playing outside the story space, unheard by the characters, but no less a part of the scene from the perspective of the audience—and “diegetic” music—music incorporated into the shared reality of the story and the audience. They include analyses of music written and performed for films, as well as the now common practice of scoring a film with pre-existing songs. By exploring in detail how musical patterns and structures relate to filmic patterns of narration, character, editing, framing, and mise-en-scene, this volume demonstrates that pop music is a crucial element in the film experience. It also analyzes the life of the soundtrack apart from the film, tracing how popular music circulates and acquires new meanings when it becomes an official soundtrack. Contributors. Rick Altman, Priscilla Barlow, Barbara Ching, Kelley Conway, Corey Creekmur, Krin Gabbard, Jonathan Gill, Andrew Killick, Arthur Knight, Adam Knee, Jill Leeper, Neepa Majumdar, Allison McCracken, Murray Pomerance, Paul Ramaeker, Jeff Smith, Pamela Robertson Wojcik, Nabeel Zuberi
In Soundtracks of Asian America, Grace Wang explores how Asian Americans use music to construct narratives of self, race, class, and belonging in national and transnational spaces. She highlights how they navigate racialization in different genres by considering the experiences of Asians and Asian Americans in Western classical music, U.S. popular music, and Mandopop (Mandarin-language popular music). Her study encompasses the perceptions and motivations of middle-class Chinese and Korean immigrant parents intensely involved in their children's classical music training, and of Asian and Asian American classical musicians whose prominence in their chosen profession is celebrated by some and undermined by others. Wang interviews young Asian American singer-songwriters who use YouTube to contest the limitations of a racialized U.S. media landscape, and she investigates the transnational modes of belonging forged by Asian American pop stars pursuing recording contracts and fame in East Asia. Foregrounding musical spaces where Asian Americans are particularly visible, Wang examines how race matters and operates in the practices and institutions of music making.
Gordon Sumner was born in a mainly working-class area of North Tyneside, England, in 1951. Decades later, we would come to know him as Sting, one of the world’s best-selling music artists. Sting was the lead singer of the Police from 1977 to 1984 before launching a hugely successful solo career. In Sting:From Northern Skies to Fields of Gold, popular music scholar Paul Carr argues that the foundations of Sting’s creativity and drive for success were established by his birthplace, with vestiges of his “Northern Englishness” continuing to emerge in his music long after he left his hometown.
Carr frames Sting’s creative impetus and output against the real, imagined, and idealized places he has occupied. Focusing on the sometimes-blurry borderlines between nostalgia, facts, imagination, and memories—as told by Sting, the people who knew (and know) him, and those who have written about him—Carr investigates the often complex resonance between local boy Gordon Sumner and the star the world knows as Sting. Published to coincide with the fortieth anniversary of the formation of the definitive line-up of the Police, this is the first book to examine the relationship between Sting’s working class background in Newcastle, the life he has consequently lived, and the creativity and inspiration behind his music.
In Terminated for Reasons of Taste, veteran rock critic Chuck Eddy writes that "rock'n'roll history is written by the winners. Which stinks, because the losers have always played a big role in keeping rock interesting." Rock's losers share top billing with its winners in this new collection of Eddy's writing. In pieces culled from outlets as varied as the Village Voice, Creem magazine, the streaming site Rhapsody, music message boards, and his high school newspaper, Eddy covers everything from the Beastie Boys to 1920s country music, Taylor Swift to German new wave, Bruce Springsteen to occult metal. With an encyclopedic knowledge, unabashed irreverence, and a captivating style, Eddy rips up popular music histories and stitches them back together using his appreciation of the lost, ignored, and maligned. In so doing, he shows how pop music is bigger, and more multidimensional and compelling than most people can imagine.
If you drive into any American city with the car stereo blasting, you’ll undoubtedly find radio stations representing R&B/hip-hop, country, Top 40, adult contemporary, rock, and Latin, each playing hit after hit within that musical format. American music has created an array of rival mainstreams, complete with charts in multiple categories. Love it or hate it, the world that radio made has steered popular music and provided the soundtrack of American life for more than half a century.
In Top 40 Democracy, Eric Weisbard studies the evolution of this multicentered pop landscape, along the way telling the stories of the Isley Brothers, Dolly Parton, A&M Records, and Elton John, among others. He sheds new light on the upheavals in the music industry over the past fifteen years and their implications for the audiences the industry has shaped. Weisbard focuses in particular on formats—constructed mainstreams designed to appeal to distinct populations—showing how taste became intertwined with class, race, gender, and region. While many historians and music critics have criticized the segmentation of pop radio, Weisbard finds that the creation of multiple formats allowed different subgroups to attain a kind of separate majority status—for example, even in its most mainstream form, the R&B of the Isley Brothers helped to create a sphere where black identity was nourished. Music formats became the one reliable place where different groups of Americans could listen to modern life unfold from their distinct perspectives. The centers of pop, it turns out, were as complicated, diverse, and surprising as the cultural margins. Weisbard’s stimulating book is a tour de force, shaking up our ideas about the mainstream music industry in order to tease out the cultural importance of all performers and songs.
Yellow Music is the first history of the emergence of Chinese popular music and urban media culture in early-twentieth-century China. Andrew F. Jones focuses on the affinities between "yellow” or “pornographic" music—as critics derisively referred to the "decadent" fusion of American jazz, Hollywood film music, and Chinese folk forms—and the anticolonial mass music that challenged its commercial and ideological dominance. Jones radically revises previous understandings of race, politics, popular culture, and technology in the making of modern Chinese culture. The personal and professional histories of three musicians are central to Jones's discussions of shifting gender roles, class inequality, the politics of national salvation, and emerging media technologies: the American jazz musician Buck Clayton; Li Jinhui, the creator of "yellow music"; and leftist Nie Er, a former student of Li’s whose musical idiom grew out of virulent opposition to this Sinified jazz. As he analyzes global media cultures in the postcolonial world, Jones avoids the parochialism of media studies in the West. He teaches us to hear not only the American influence on Chinese popular music but the Chinese influence on American music as well; in so doing, he illuminates the ways in which both cultures were implicated in the unfolding of colonial modernity in the twentieth century.