A Social History of Early Rock ‘n’ Roll in Germany explores the people and spaces of St. Pauli’s rock’n’roll scene in the 1960s. Starting in 1960, young British rockers were hired to entertain tourists in Hamburg’s red-light district around the Reeperbahn in the area of St. Pauli. German youths quickly joined in to experience the forbidden thrill of rock’n’roll, and used African American sounds to distance themselves from the old Nazi generation. In 1962 the Star Club opened and drew international attention for hosting some of the Beatles’ most influential performances. In this book, Julia Sneeringer weaves together this story of youth culture with histories of sex and gender, popular culture, media, and subculture.
By exploring the history of one locale in depth, Sneeringer offers a welcome contribution to the scholarly literature on space, place, sound and the city, and pays overdue attention to the impact that Hamburg had upon music and style. She is also careful to place performers such as The Beatles back into the social, spatial, and musical contexts that shaped them and their generation.
This book reveals that transnational encounters between musicians, fans, entrepreneurs and businessmen in St. Pauli produced a musical style that provided emotional and physical liberation and challenged powerful forces of conservatism and conformity with effects that transformed the world for decades to come
Cathy van Eck
Composers and sound artists have explored for decades how to transform microphones and loudspeakers from “inaudible” technology into genuinely new musical instruments. While the sound reproduction industry had claimed perfect high fidelity already at the beginning of the twentieth century, these artists found surprising ways of use – for instance tweaking microphones, swinging loudspeakers furiously around, ditching microphones in all kinds of vessels, or strapping loudspeakers to body parts of the audience. Between air and electricity traces their quest and sets forward a new theoretical framework, providing historic background on technological and artistic development, and diagrams of concert and performance set-ups. From popular noise musician Merzbow to minimalist classic Alvin Lucier, cult instrument inventor Hugh Davies, or contemporary visual artist Lynn Pook – they all aimed to make audible what was supposed to remain silent.
The first book of its kind in English, Beyond No Future: Cultures of German Punk explores the texts and contexts of German punk cultures. Notwithstanding its “no future” sloganeering, punk has had a rich and complex life in German art and letters, in German urban landscapes, and in German youth culture. Beyond No Future collects innovative, methodologically diverse scholarly contributions on the life and legacy of these cultures. Focusing on punk politics and aesthetics in order to ask broader questions about German nationhood(s) in a period of rapid transition, this text offers a unique view of the decade bookended by the “German Autumn” and German unification.
Consulting sources both published and unpublished, aesthetic and archival, Beyond No Future’s contributors examine German punk’s representational strategies, anti-historical consciousness, and refusal of programmatic intervention into contemporary political debates. Taken together, these essays demonstrate the importance of punk culture to historical, political, economic, and cultural developments taking place both in Germany and on a broader transnational scale.
Christian metal has always defined itself in contrast to its non-Christian, secular counterpart, yet it stands out from nearly all other forms of contemporary Christian music through its unreserved use of metal’s main musical, visual, and aesthetic traits. Christian metal is a rare example of a direct combination between evangelical Christianity and an aggressive and highly controversial form of popular music and its culture.
Christian Metal: History, Ideology, Scene is the first full exploration of the phenomenon of Christian metal music, its history, main characteristics, development, diversification, and key ideological traits from its formative years in the early 1980s to the present day. Marcus Moberg situates it in a wider international evangelical cultural environment, accounts for its diffusion on a transnational scale, and explores what religious meanings and functions Christian metal holds for its own musicians and followers. Engaging with wider debates on religion, media and popular culture, Christian Metal: History, Ideology and Scene is a much-needed resource in the study of religion and popular music.
Rachel Lee Rubin
This collection brings together interviews with a compelling range of musicians, artists, and activists from around the globe. What does it mean for an artist to be “political”? Moving away from a narrow idea about politics that is organized around elections, advocacy groups, or concrete manifestos, the subjects of Creative Activism do their work through song, poetry, painting, and other arts. The interviews take us from Oakland to London to Johannesburg and from the Occupy movement to the coal mines of Appalachia to the fantasy worlds created by some of our most fascinating writers of spectacular fiction. Listening to the important “cultural workers” of our time challenges any idea that some other time was the golden age of political art: Creative Activism gives us a front-row seat to the thrilling artistic activism of our own moment.
Samantha Bennett and Eliot Bates
Who produces sound and music? And in what spaces, localities and contexts? As the production of sound and music in the 21st Century converges with multimedia, these questions are critically addressed in this new edited collection by Samantha Bennett and Eliot Bates. Critical Approaches to the Production of Music and Sound features 16 brand new articles by leading thinkers from the fields of music, audio engineering, anthropology and media. Innovative and timely, this collection represents scholars from around the world, revisiting established themes such as record production and the construction of genre with new perspectives, as well as exploring issues in cultural and virtual production.
Crossover Stardom: Popular Male Stars in American Cinema focuses on male music stars who have attempted to achieve film stardom. Crossover stardom can describe stars who cross from one medium to another. Although ‘crossover’ has become a popular term to describe many modern stars who appear in various mediums, crossover stardom has a long history, going back to the beginning of the cinema. Lobalzo Wright begins with Bing Crosby, a significant Hollywood star in the studio era; moving to Elvis Presley in the 1950s and 1960s, as the studio system collapsed; to Kris Kristofferson in the New Hollywood period of the 1970s; and ending with Will Smith and Justin Timberlake, in the contemporary era, when corporate conglomerates dominate Hollywood. Thus, the study not only explores music stardom (and music genres) in various eras, and masculinity within these periods, it also surveys the history of American cinema from industrial and cultural perspectives, from the 1930s to today.
Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen are widely acknowledged as the great pop poets of the 1960s, transforming the popular song into a medium for questionng the personal, social, and political norms of their times. They emerged at a time when the music industry was transforming the revolutionary sound of black music into something bland, homogenous, and fit for mass consumption. For many members of their generation, Dylan and Cohen were able to articulate what they were feeling and could not express: anti-establishement anger, angst, and despondency.
Dylan and Cohen is a fascinating political, psychological and artistic profile of these two iconic writers and performers. With reference to both biographical details and lyrics. David Boucher explores their similarities and differences, tracing the development of religious political, and social themes in their work and the ways in which those ideas engaged a new audience.
A must-read for all serious fans of either Dylan or Cohen, this book will also engage anyone interested in the North America of the 1960s, or more generally in the relationship between music, identity and politics.
Many critics have interpreted Bob Dylan’s lyrics, especially those composed during the middle to late 1960s, in the contexts of their relation to American folk, blues, and rock ‘n’ roll precedents; their discographical details and concert performances; their social, political and cultural relevance; and/or their status for discussion as “poems.” Dylan's Autobiography of a Vocation instead focuses on how all of Dylan’s 1965-1967 songs manifest traces of his ongoing, internal “autobiography” in which he continually declares and questions his relation to a self-determined existential summons.
A longstanding, successful and frequently controversial career spanning more than four decades establishes David Bowie as charged with contemporary cultural relevance. That David Bowie has influenced many lives is undeniable to his fans. He requisitions and challenges his audiences, through frequently indirect lyrics and images, to critically question sanity, identity and essentially what it means to be ‘us’ and why we are here.
Enchanting David Bowie explores David Bowie as an anti-temporal figure and argues that we need to understand him across the many media platforms and art spaces he intersects with including theatre, film, television, the web, exhibition, installation, music, lyrics, video, and fashion. This exciting collection is organized according to the key themes of space, time, body, and memory – themes that literally and metaphorically address the key questions and intensities of his output.
Although David Bowie has famously characterized himself as a “leper messiah,” a more appropriate moniker might be “rock god”: someone whose influence has crossed numerous sub-genres of popular and classical music and can at times seem ubiquitous. By looking at key moments in his career (1972, 1977–79, 1980–83, and 1995–97) through several lenses—theories of sub-culture, gender/sexuality studies, theories of sound, post-colonial theory, and performance studies Waldrep examines Bowie’s work in terms not only of his auditory output but his many reinterpretations of it via music videos, concert tours, television appearances, and occasional movie roles. Future Nostalgia looks at all aspects of Bowie’s career in an attempt to trace Bowie’s contribution to the performative paradigms that constitute contemporary rock music.
Global Punk examines the global phenomenon of DIY (do-it-yourself) punk, arguing that it provides a powerful tool for political resistance and personal self-empowerment. Drawing examples from across the evolution of punk – from the streets of 1976 London to the alleys of contemporary Jakarta – Global Punk is both historically rich and global in scope. Looking beyond the music to explore DIY punk as a lived experience, Global Punk examines the ways in which punk contributes to the process of disalienation and political engagement. The book critically examines the impact that DIY punk has had on both individuals and communities, and offers chapter-length investigations of two important aspects of DIY punk culture: independent record labels and self-published zines. Grounded in scholarly theories, but written in a highly accessible style, Global Punk shows why DIY punk remains a vital cultural form for hundreds of thousands of people across the globe today.
Hip Hop Headphones is a crash course in Hip Hop culture. Featuring definitions, lectures, academic essays, and other scholarly discussions and resources, Hip Hop Headphones documents the scholarship of Dr. James B. Peterson, founder of Hip Hop Scholars-an organization devoted to developing the educational potential of Hip Hop.
Defining Hip Hop from multi-disciplinary perspectives that embrace the elemental forms of Hip Hop Culture (b-boying, dj-ing, rapping, and graffiti art), Hip Hop Headphones is the definitive guide to how Hip Hop culture can be used in the classroom to engage and inspire students.
Hits and Misses examines a selection of songs and recordings through the lens of textual criticism and delineates the creative process as it unfolds from the initial conception of a song to the final mix presented on disc. The book takes as its subject top 40 singles released between 1963 and 1971 in the USA, Britain, and Canada, and considers the songs themselves and their transformation in the studio. Robert Toft studies the methods by which recordists (songwriters, arrangers, band members, producers, and engineers) impart their ideas to audiences.
The first part of the book concentrates on songs and examines lyrics and the strategies songwriters employ to develop a story, as well as the music that enhances the telling of those stories. The second part of the book investigates the sonic surface of recordings and considers how recordists fashion musical material into effective musical discourse. Hits and Misses will be an invaluable text for all those who are studying the sound, craft, and context of pop music.
Hymns to the Silence is a thoroughly informed and enlightened study of the art of a pop music maverick that will delight fans the world over. In 1991, Van Morrison said, Music is spiritual, the music business isn’t. Peter Mills’ groundbreaking book investigates the oppositions and harmonies within the work of Van Morrison, proceeding from this identified starting point. Hymns to the Silence is a detailed investigative study of Morrison as singer, performer, lyricist, musician and writer with particular attention paid throughout to the contradictions and tensions that are central to any understanding of his work as a whole. The book takes several intriguing angles. It looks at Morrison as a writer, specifically as an Irish writer who has recorded musical settings of Yeats poems, collaborated with Seamus Heaney, Paul Durcan and Gerald Dawe, and who regularly drops quotes from James Joyce and Samuel Beckett into his live performances. It looks at him as a singer, at how he uses his voice as an interpretive instrument. And there are chapters on his use of mythology, on his stage performances, and on his continuing fascination with America and its musical forms.
Inside the Music of Brian Wilson is, as author Phillip Lambert writes in the prologue “completely, and intensely, focused on the music of Brian Wilson, on the musical essence of his songs and the aesthetic value of his artistic achievements. It acknowledges the familiar biographical contexts of his songs, but it tells completely new stories about the birth and evolution of his musical ideas, identifying important musical trends in his work, heretofore undisclosed inter-song connections within his music, or between his music and that of others, and the nature and extent of his artistry. It aims not just to identify great songs, but to explain exactly what makes them so.”
Lambert, a renowned musicologist, brings to this work to life with both his professional expertise and an infectious personal appreciation of the power of pop music. His clear, engaging tone and accessible writing style allows even a musically inexperienced reader to follow him as he traces Wilson’s musical evolution, with a particular focus on the years leading up to the writing and recording of Pet Sounds and SMILE, albums which many consider to be the masterpieces of his oeuvre. Inside the Music of Brian Wilson is the definitive book on Wilson’s music and is essential reading for fans of Brian Wilson, the Beach Boys, and great pop music.
Includes THREE amazing Appendixes:
Appendix 1: Brian Wilson Song Chronology*
Appendix 2: Four Freshmen Albums, 1955-1961
Appendix 3: Favorite Songs and Influences Through 1961
*The most complete song chronology ever published.
A superb new study of Jerry Lee Lewis that’s as intense and fast paced as the life of “The Killer” himself, from the height of fame to the bumpy road that followed.
“The category in which Jerry Lee Lewis truly belongs is ‘Jerry Lee Lewis.’ The Killer is as big as Mount Rushmore, and he’s also as American, as revered, as clichéd, as misunderstood, as corny, and as taken for granted as that monument. The curse of iconoclastic American success. Elvis felt it, so does Dylan. So will others who haven’t been born yet.”
The story of Louisiana hellcat Jerry Lee Lewis and his 1958 wedding scandal-it was discovered that at 22 he had married his 13-year old second cousin, Myra, before he was divorced from his second wife-long ago took precedence over the man himself and the music he makes. In Jerry Lee Lewis: Lost and Found, author Joe Bonomo lets others focus on the scandal and delves more deeply into the accidental intersection between fading American Rockabilly and ascending Beatlemania. By first taking a look at the critical years before his famed night in 1964 at West Germany’s Star-Club - what that meant not only for him but the entire live album-making world - then the tumultuous years that follow, culminating in his time on the American Country charts in the late 60s/ early 70s, Bonomo brings Jerry Lee Lewis to life in new and fascinating ways.
In spite of plummeting record sales and concert fees, a media savaging of his personal character, a change of record labels and management, and a considerable upturn in his drug and alcohol abuse, Jerry Lee Lewis has persevered. In between being betrayed and ignored, he would record one of the greatest rock & roll performances in history. Bonomo’s thorough research includes new interviews with Live at the Star-Club producer Sigi Loch, members of the Nashville Teens, and other musicians and fans who were at the Star-Club performance, as well as with music industry figures ranging from famed Nashville producer Jerry Kennedy and legendary Memphis stalwart Jim Dickinson to Killer-influenced contemporaries John Doe and Dave Alvin. This passionate book examines and explains the almighty impact of the Father of Rock’n’Roll.
He was the leading light of the Beat Generation writers and the most dynamic author of his time, but Jack Kerouac also had a lifelong passion for music, particularly the mid-century jazz of New York City, the development of which he witnessed first-hand during the 1940s with Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie and Thelonious Monk to the fore. The novelist, most famous for his 1957 book On the Road, admired the sounds of bebop and attempted to bring something of their original energy to his own writing, a torrent of semi-autobiographical stories he published between 1950 and his early death in 1969. Yet he was also drawn to American popular music of all kinds – from the blues to Broadway ballads – and when he came to record albums under his own name, he married his unique spoken word style with some of the most talented musicians on the scene.
Kerouac’s musical legacy goes well beyond the studio recordings he made himself: his influence infused generations of music makers who followed in his work – from singer-songwriters to rock bands. Some of the greatest transatlantic names – Bob Dylan and the Grateful Dead, Van Morrison and David Bowie, Janis Joplin and Tom Waits, Sonic Youth and Death Cab for Cutie, and many more – credited Kerouac’s impact on their output. In Kerouac on Record, we consider how the writer brought his passion for jazz to his prose and poetry, his own record releases, the ways his legacy has been sustained by numerous more recent talents, those rock tributes that have kept his memory alive and some of the scores that have featured in Hollywood adaptations of the adventures he brought to the printed page.
A brilliant new biography of the extraordinary, outrageous performer who helped open the floodgates of Rock ‘n’ Roll. In June, 2007, Little Richard’s 1955 Specialty Records single, “Tutti Frutti,” topped Mojo magazine’s list of “100 Records That Changed the World.” But back in the early 1950s, nobody gave Little Richard a second glance. It was a time in America where the black and white worlds had co-existed separately for nearly two centuries. After “Tutti Frutti,” Little Richard began garnering fans from both sides of the civil rights divide. He brought black and white youngsters together on the dance floor and even helped to transform race relations.
Little Richard: The Birth of Rock ‘n’ Roll begins by grounding the reader in the fertile soil from which Little Richard’s music sprang. In Macon, Georgia, David Kirby interviews relatives and local characters, who knew Little Richard way back when, citing church and family as his true inspiration. His antics began as early as grade school, performing for his classmates every time the teacher would leave the room, connecting to an age-old American show biz tradition of charade and flummery. On the road, Little Richard faced competition from his peers, honing his stage show and making it, too, an act that could not be counterfeited.
Kirby sees Little Richard as a foxy warrior, fighting with skill and cunning to take his place among the greats. In the words of Keith Richards (on hearing “Tutti Frutti” for the first time), “it was as though the world changed suddenly from monochrome to Technicolor.” Those sentiments have consistently been echoed by the music-listening world, and the time is ripe for a reassessment of Little Richard’s genius and legacy.
In Long and Winding Roads: The Evolving Artistry of the Beatles, Kenneth Womack brings the band’s story vividly to life-from their salad days as a Liverpool Skiffle group and their apprenticeship in the nightclubs and mean streets of Hamburg through their early triumphs at the legendary Cavern Club and the massive onslaught of Beatlemania itself. By mapping the group’s development as an artistic fusion, Womack traces the Beatles’ creative arc from their first, primitive recordings through Abbey Road and the twilight of their career.
In order to communicate the nature and power of the band’s remarkable achievement, Womack examines the Beatles’ body of work as an evolving art object. He investigates the origins and creation of the group’s compositions, as well as the songwriting and recording practices that brought them to fruition. Womack’s analysis of the Beatles’ albums transports readers on a journey through the Beatles’ heyday as recording artists between 1962 and 1969, when the band enjoyed a staggering musical and lyrical leap that took them from their first album Please Please Me, which they recorded in the space of a single day, to Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, the White Album, and Abbey Road-albums that collectively required literally thousands of hours to produce. In addition to considering the band’s increasing self-consciousness about the overall production, design, and presentation of their art, Womack explores the Beatles’ albums as a collection of musical and lyrical impressions that finds them working towards a sense of aesthetic unity. In Long and Winding Roads, Womack reveals the ways in which the Beatles gave life to a musical synthesis that would change the world.
Mad Dogs and Englishness connects English popular music with questions about English national identities, featuring essays that range across Bowie and Burial, PJ Harvey, Bishi and Tricky. The later years of the 20th century saw a resurgence of interest in cultural and political meanings of Englishness in ways that continue to resonate now. Pop music is simultaneously on the outside and inside of the ensuing debates. It can be used as a mode of commentary about how meanings of Englishness circulate socially. But it also produces those meanings, often underwriting claims about English national cultural distinctiveness and superiority. This book’s expert contributors use trans-national and trans-disciplinary perspectives to provide historical and contemporary commentaries about pop’s complex relationships with Englishness. Each chapter is based on original research, and the essays comprise the best single volume available on pop and the English imaginary.
The popular music industry has become completely interlinked with the film industry. The majority of mainstream films come with ready-attached songs that may or may not appear in the film but nevertheless will be used for publicity purposes and appear on a soundtrack album. In many cases, popular music in films has made for some of the most striking moments in films and the most dramatic aesthetic action in cinema, like Ben relaxing in the pool to Simon and Garfunkel’s ‘The Sound of Silence’ in The Graduate (1967), and the potter’s wheel sequence with the Righteous Brothers’ ‘Unchained Melody’ in Ghost (1990). Yet, to date, there have only been patchy attempts to deal with popular music’s relationship with film. Indeed, it is startling that there is so little written on subject that is so popular as a consumer item and thus has a significant cultural profile.
Magical Musical Tour is the first sustained and focused survey to engage the intersection of the two on both an aesthetic and industrial level. The chapters are historically-inspired reviews, discussing many films and musicians, while others will be more concentrated and detailed case studies of single films. Including an accompanying website and a timeline giving a useful snapshot around which readers can orient the book, Kevin Donnelly explores the history of the intimate bond between film and music, from the upheaval that rock‘n’roll caused in the mid-1950s to the more technical aspects regarding ‘tracking’ and ‘scoring’.
Picture yourself in a darkened movie theater, or soothed by the pleasing glow of a television screen. You are watching as a history of the moving image unfolds onscreen, but this history will not take note of D.W. Griffith or Jean Renoir, nor will King Kong or Jaws make an appearance. As the images flicker past - of four ebullient Britishmen turning cartwheels in an open field, a man tap-dancing on an urban sidewalk, a wedding party in a rainstorm, a tragedy in a school classroom - they wax more familiar, the theme growing more coherent, more stable. They keep coming, though, quickly, relentlessly, constantly changing form, changing style, shapeshifting. The parade of images appears to possess a logic of its own, a guiding hand to steer its ship. Finally, as the last picture fills the screen - it happens to be of a shooting on a Brooklyn street - a light bulb goes off: these are all images from music videos, the short films that once ruled the airwaves, and still possess a significant hold on the generations raised by MTV. “I wonder what those were all about,” you say...
The music video is a medium that appears to have run its course, or at least hit a substantial rut in its evolution. MTV and VH1 have morphed into lifestyle channels, the musical component of their programming reduced to a mere blip on their schedule. BET, CMT, and other music channels still maintain their dedication to showing music videos regularly, but their narrower audiences render them distinctly niche channels. And yet the video’s shining moment as part disposable crap, part momentary, fleeting genius (the exact cinematic/televisual equivalent of the pop song, of course) renders it a subject worthy of some serious attention. Saul Austerlitz’s fascinating book tells the history of the music video, delving into its origins, function, stars, motifs, genres, conventions, and masterpieces.
Austerlitz sees the music video as a fascinating oddity, capable of packing great wit, emotion, and insight into its brief span. A compelling marker of cultural history, the video emerged onto television screens nationwide and shone gloriously for a brief moment before disappearing into the remembrance of television past. Informed, opinionated, and always entertaining, Money for Nothing goes a long way toward retrieving the memory of this fleeting, evanescent art-form.
Morrissey is arguably the greatest disturbance popular music has ever known. Even more than the choreographed carelessness of punk and the hyperbolic gestures of glam rock and the New Romantics, Morrissey’s early bookish ineptitude, his celebration of the ordinary, and his subversive endorsement of celibacy, abstinence and rock ‘n’ roll revolutionized the world of British pop. As a solo artist, too, he consistently adopts the outsider’s perspective and dares us to confront uncomfortable subjects. In his brilliant book, Gavin Hopps examines the work of this compelling performer, whose intelligence, humour, suffering and awkwardness have fascinated audiences around the world for the last 25 years.
Hopps traces the trajectory of Morrissey’s career and outlines the contours and contradictions of the singer’s elusive persona. The book illuminates Morrissey’s coyness (how can he remain a mystery when he tells us too much?), his dramatized melancholy (surely more of a radical existential protest than the gimmick some believe it to be), and his complex attitudes towards loneliness and alienation, as well as his intriguing sense of the religious.
The evidence of death and dying has been removed from the everyday lives of most Westerners. Yet we constantly live with the awareness of our vulnerability as mortals. Drawing on a range of genres, bands and artists, Mortality and Music examines the ways in which popular music has responded to our awareness of the inevitability of death and the anxiety it can evoke. Exploring bereavement, depression, suicide, violence, gore, and fans’ responses to the deaths of musicians, it argues for the social and cultural significance of popular music’s treatment of mortality and the apparent absurdity of existence.
Gordon E. Slethaug
Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, and Paul Simon—these familiar figures have written road music for half a century and continue to remain highly-regarded artists. But there is so much more to say about road music. This book fills a glaring hole in scholarship about the road and music. In a collection of 13 essays, Music and the Road explores the origins of road music in the blues, country-western, and rock ’n’ roll; the themes of adventure, freedom, mobility, camaraderie, and love, and much more in this music; the mystique and reality of touring as an important part of getting away from home, creating community among performers, and building audiences across the country from the 1930s to the present; and the contribution of music to popular road films such as Bonnie and Clyde, Easy Rider, Thelma and Louise, and On the Road.
We communicate multimodally. Everyday communication involves not only words, but gestures, images, videos, sounds and of course, music. Music has traditionally been viewed as a separate object that we can isolate, discuss, perform and listen to. However, much of music’s power lies in its use as multimodal communication. It is not just lyrics which lend songs their meaning, but images and musical sounds as well. The music industry, governments and artists have always relied on posters, films and album covers to enhance music’s semiotic meaning.
This book considers musical sound as multimodal communication, examining the interacting meaning potential of sonic aspects such as rhythm, instrumentation, pitch, tonality, melody and their interrelationships with text, image and other modes, drawing upon, and extending the conceptual territory of social semiotics. In so doing, this book brings together research from scholars to explore questions around how we communicate through musical discourse, and in the discourses of music. Methods in this collection are drawn from Critical Discourse Analysis, Social Semiotics and Music Studies to expose both the function and semiotic potential of the various modes used in songs and other musical texts. These analyses reveal how each mode works in various contexts from around the world often articulating counter-hegemonic and subversive discourses of identity and belonging.
This book is a lively, comprehensive and timely reader on the music video, capitalising on cross-disciplinary research expertise, which represents a substantial academic engagement with the music video, a mediated form and practice that still remains relatively under-explored in a 21st century context. The music video has remained suspended between two distinct poles. On the one hand, the music video as the visual sheen of late capitalism, at the intersection of celebrity studies and postmodernism. On the other hand, the music video as art, looking to a prehistory of avant-garde film-making while perpetually pushing forward the digital frontier with a taste for anarchy, controversy, and the integration of special effects into a form designed to be disseminated across digital platforms. In this way, the music video virally re-engenders debates about high art and low culture. This collection presents a comprehensive account of the music video from a contemporary 21st century perspective. This entails revisiting key moments in the canonical history of the music video, exploring its articulations of sexuality and gender, examining its functioning as a form of artistic expression between music, film and video art, and following the music video’s dissemination into the digital domain, considering how digital media and social media have come to re-invent the forms and functions of the music video, well beyond the limits of “music television”.
This is the first extensive scholarly study of drone metal music and its religious associations, drawing on five years of ethnographic participant observation from more than 300 performances and 74 interviews, plus surveys, analyses of sound recordings, artwork and extensive online discourse about music.
Owen Coggins shows that while many drone metal listeners identify as non-religious, their ways of engaging with and talking about drone metal are richly informed by mysticism, ritual and religion. He explores why language relating to mysticism and spiritual experience is so prevalent in drone metal culture and in discussion of musical experiences and practices of the genre.
The author develops the work of Michel de Certeau to provide an empirically grounded theory of mysticism in popular culture. He argues that the marginality of the genre culture, together with the extremely abstract sound produces a focus on the listeners’ engagement with sound, and that this in turn creates a space for the open-ended exploration of religiosity in extreme states of bodily consciousness.
Is there such a thing today as music that's meaningfully new? In our contemporary era of remixing and retro styles, cynics and romantics alike cry “It's all been done before” while record labels and media outlets proclaim that everything is new. Coded into our daily conversations about popular music, newness as an artistic and cultural value is too often taken for granted.
Nothing Has Been Done Before instigates a fresh debate about newness in American pop, rock ‘n’ roll, rap, folk, and R&B made since the turn of the millennium. Utilizing an interdisciplinary approach that combines music criticism, philosophy, and the literary essay, Robert Loss follows the stories of a diverse cast of musicians who seek the new by wrestling with the past, navigating the market, and speaking politically. The transgressions of Bob Dylan's “Love and Theft”. The pop spectacle of Katy Perry's 2015 Super Bowl halftime show. Protest songs against the war in Iraq. Nothing Has Been Done Before argues that performance heard in a historical context always creates a possibility for newness, whether it's Kendrick Lamar's multi-layered To Pimp a Butterfly, the Afrofuturist visions of Janelle Monáe, or even a Guided By Voices tribute concert in a local dive bar.
Provocative and engaging, Nothing Has Been Done Before challenges nothing less than how we hear and think about popular music—its power and its potential.
From the Tin Pan Alley 32-bar form, through the cyclical forms of modal jazz, to the more recent accumulation of digital layers, beats, and breaks in Electronic Dance Music, repetition as both an aesthetic disposition and a formal musicological property has stimulated a diverse range of genres and techniques. After decades of riffs, loops, vamps, reiterated rhythmic patterns, pervasive harmonic formulae and recurring structural units in standardised song forms, the time came to give these notions the recognition they deserve in the study of popular music. Whether addressed from the angle of musicology, psychology, sociology or science and technology, Over and Over reassesses the complexity connected to notions of repetition in a variety of musical genres.
This book will be the first edited volume on repetition in 20th- and 21st- century popular music. As such, it offers a multi-faceted view of the subject. The wide-ranging forms and use of repetition — from large repetitive structures to micro repetitions, and even to drones — are explored in relation to both specific and large-scale issues and contexts. Over and Over brings together a selection of original texts by leading authors in a field which is, as yet, little explored. Aimed at both specialists and neophytes, it aims to shed important new light on one of the fundamental phenomena of music of our times.
From 1987 to 1995, Bristol, England's Sarah Records was a modest underground success and, for the most part, a critical laughingstock in its native country–sneeringly dismissed as the sad, final repository for a fringe style of music (variously referred to as “indie-pop,” “C86,” “cutie” and “twee”) whose moment had passed. Yet now, more than 20 years after its founders symbolically “destroyed” it, Sarah is among the most passionately fetishized record labels of all time. Its rare releases command hundreds of dollars, devotees around the world hungrily seek out any information they can find about its poorly documented history, and young musicians–some of them not yet born when Sarah shut down–claim its bands (such as Blueboy, the Field Mice, Heavenly, and the Wake) as major influences.
Featuring dozens of exclusive interviews with the music-makers, producers, writers and assorted eyewitnesses who played a part in Sarah's eight-year odyssey, Popkiss: The Life and Afterlife of Sarah Records is the first authorised biography of an unlikely cult legend.
Lyndon C. S. Way
Popular music has long been used to entertain, provoke, challenge and liberate but also to oppress and control. Can popular music be political? What types of popular music work best with politics? How can songs, videos, concerts or any other musical commodity convey ideas about power, politics and identity?
Using Multimodal Critical Discourse Studies (MCDS), this book reveals the deeply political role played by popular music. Lyndon Way demonstrates how MCDS can provide important and timely insights on the political nature of popular music, due to its focus on how communication takes place, as well as its interest in discourse and how ideologies are naturalised and legitimised.
The book considers the example of contemporary Turkish society, with its complex and deep ideological divisions increasingly obvious under the stewardship of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his centre-right political party, in power since 2002. It looks at how the authorities seek to harness and control popular music and considers a wide range of popular music genres including rock, rap, protest and folk music. It shows how official promotional videos, protest cut-and-paste offerings, party-political election songs, live music events and internet discussions about popular music emerge as sites of power and resistance in certain venues and particularly across social media. Throughout the book, Lyndon Way shows that popular music is also deeply political.
Popular music, today, has supposedly collapsed into a ‘retromania’ which, according to leading critic Simon Reynolds, has brought a ‘slow and steady fading of the artistic imperative to be original.’ Meanwhile, in the estimation of philosopher Alain Badiou, a significant political event will always require ‘the dictatorial power of a creation ex nihilo’. Everywhere, it seems, at least amongst commentators of a certain age and type, pessimism prevails with regards to the predominant aesthetic preferences of the twenty first century: popular music, supposedly, is in a rut.
Yet when, if ever, did the political engagement kindled by popular music amount to more than it does today? The sixties? The punk explosion of the late 1970s? Despite an on-going fixation upon these periods in much rock journalism and academic writing, this book demonstrates that the utilisation of popular music to promote political causes, on the one hand, and the expression of dissent through the medium of ‘popular song’, on the other hand, remain widely in practice today.
This is not to argue, however, for complacency with regards to the need for expressions of political dissent through popular culture. Rather, the book looks carefully at actual usages of popular music in political processes, as well as expressions of political feeling through song, and argues that there is much to encourage us to think that the demand for radical change remains in circulation. The question is, though, how necessary is it for politically-motivated popular music to offer aesthetic novelty?
Postwar Europe and the Eurovision Song Contest examines how the Eurovision Song Contest has reflected and become intertwined with the history of postwar Europe from a political perspective.
Established in 1956, the Eurovision Song Contest is the world’s largest popular music event and one of the most popular television programmes in Europe, currently attracting a global audience of around 200 million people. Eurovision is often mocked as cultural kitsch because of its over-the-top performances and frivolous song lyrics. Yet there is no cultural medium that connects Europeans more than popular music, the development of which has always been tied to cultural, economic, political, social and technological change – making Eurovision the ideal tool to explain the history of Europe in the last sixty years. This book uses Eurovision as a vehicle to address topics ranging from the Cold War, liberal democracy and communism to nationalism, European integration, economic prosperity and human rights. It analyses these subjects through their cultural, political and social relationships with Eurovision entries as expressed through lyrics and music, as well as by examining public debates that have accompanied the selection of the entries and the organisation of the contest itself. Postwar Europe and the Eurovision Song Contest also considers how states have used Eurovision to define their identities in a European context, be it to assert their national distinctiveness, highlight political issues or affirm their Europeanism or Euroscepticism in the context of European integration.
Based on original sources, including hitherto unpublished archival documents from international broadcasting organisations, this is a novel historical study of interest to anyone keen to know more about the postwar history of Europe and its cultural history in particular.
Bob Dylan’s brief overt involvement in Christianity, his Jewish background, as well as the use of biblical material in his works, have led to a continuing discussion among fans and critics regarding his relation to religion. This relation is here studied in the context of the “rock mass.” This is a communion service, which is set to some form of popular music, in this case by Dylan. The material comes from Dylan masses in mainline Protestant churches in Scandinavia and North America. The chapter looks at stated reasons for using Dylan in church, the means through which Dylan’s music is adapted to serve as liturgy, and at various non-verbal practices negotiating the balance between understanding the event in question as a divine service or as a concert.
Through in-depth case studies, Religion and Popular Music explores encounters between music, fans, and religion. The book examines several popular music artists – including Bob Dylan, Prince, and Katy Perry – and looks at the way religion comes into play in their work and personas. Genres explored by contributing authors include country, folk, rock, metal, and Electronic Dance Music. Case studies in the book originate from a variety of geographic and cultural contexts, focusing on topics such as nationalism and hard rock in Russia, fan culture in Argentina, and punk and Islam in Indonesia.
Chapters engage with the central issue of how global music meets local audiences and practices, and considers how fans as well as religious groups react to the uses of religion in popular music. It also looks at how they make these interactions between popular music and religion components in their own identity, community, and practice.
Tapping into a vital and lively topic of teaching, research, and wider cultural interest, and employing diverse methodologies across musicians, fans, and religious groups, this book is an important contribution to the growing field of religion and popular music studies.
Monica R. Miller, Anthony B. Pinn and Bernard “Bun B” Freeman
Now a global and transnational phenomenon, hip hop culture continues to affect and be affected by the institutional, cultural, religious, social, economic and political landscape of American society and beyond. Over the past two decades, numerous disciplines have taken up hip hop culture for its intellectual weight and contributions to the cultural life and self-understanding of the United States. More recently, the academic study of religion has given hip hop culture closer and more critical attention, yet this conversation is often limited to discussions of hip hop and traditional understandings of religion and a methodological hyper-focus on lyrical and textual analyses.
Religion in Hip Hop: Mapping the Terrain provides an important step in advancing and mapping this new field of Religion and Hip Hop Studies. The volume features 14 original contributions representative of this new terrain within three sections representing major thematic issues over the past two decades. The Preface is written by one of the most prolific and founding scholars of this area of study, Michael Eric Dyson, and the inclusion of and collaboration with Bernard ‘Bun B’ Freeman fosters a perspective internal to Hip Hop and encourages conversation between artists and academics.
“Remixing multilingualism” is conceptualised in this book as engaging in the linguistic act of using, combining and manipulating multilingual forms. It is about creating new ways of ‘doing’ multilingualism through cultural acts and identities and involving a process that invokes bricolage. This book is an ethnographic study of multilingual remixing achieved by highly multilingual participants in the local Hip Hop culture of Cape Town. In globalised societies today previously marginalized speakers are carving out new and innovating spaces to put on display their voices and identities through the creative use of multilingualism.
This book contributes to the development of new conceptual insights and theoretical developments on multilingualism in the global South by applying the notions of stylization, performance, performativity, entextualisation and enregisterment. This takes place through interviews, performance analysis and interactional analysis, showing how young multilingual speakers’ stage different personae, styles, registers and language varieties.
San Francisco and the Long 60s tells the fascinating story of the legacy of popular music in San Francisco between the years 1965-69. It is also a chronicle of the impact this brief cultural flowering has continued to have in the city – and more widely in American culture – right up to the present day. The aim of San Francisco and the Long 60s is to question the standard historical narrative of the time, situating the local popular music of the 1960s in the city’s contemporary artistic and literary cultures: at once visionary and hallucinatory, experimental and traditional, singular and universal. These qualities defined the aesthetic experience of the local culture in the 1960s, and continue to inform the cultural and social life of the Bay Area even fifty years later.
The brief period 1965-69 marks the emergence of the psychedelic counterculture in the Haight-Ashbury neighbourhood, the development of a local musical ‘sound’ into a mainstream international ‘style’, the mythologizing of the Haight-Ashbury as the destination for ‘seekers’ in the Summer of Love, and the ultimate dispersal of the original hippie community to outlying counties in the greater Bay Area and beyond. San Francisco and the Long 60s charts this period with the references to received historical accounts of the time, the musical, visual and literary communications from the counterculture, and retrospective glances from members of the 1960s Haight community via extensive first-hand interviews.
For more information, read Sarah Hill's blog posts here:
A remarkably fresh piece of Dylan scholarship, focusing on the profound impact that his Midwestern roots have had on his songs, politics, and prophetic character.
The Arena Concert: Music, Media and Mass Entertainment is the first sustained engagement with what might said to be - in its melding of concert and gathering, in its evolving relationship with digital and social media, in its delivery of event, experience, technology and star - the art form of the 21st century.
This volume offers interviews with key designers, discussions of the practicalities of mounting arena concerts, mixing and performing live to a mass audience, recollections of the giants of late twentieth century music in performance, and critiques of latter-day pretenders to the throne. The authors track the evolution of the arena concert, consider design and architecture, celebrity and fashion, and turn to feminism, ethnographic research, and ideas of humour, liveness and authenticity, in order to explore and frame the arena concert.
The arena concert becomes the “real time” centre of a global digital network, and the gig-goer pays not only for an immersion in (and, indeed, role in) its spectacular nature, but also for a close encounter with the performers, in this contained and exalted space. The spectacular nature of the arena concert raises challenges that have yet to be fully technologically overcome, and has given rise to a reinvention of what live music actually means.
Love it or loathe it, the arena concert is a major presence in the cultural landscape of the 21st century. This volume finds out why.
The 1960s ushered in a time of creative freedom and idealism reflected in the popular music and films on both sides of the Atlantic. At the forefront of driving that creative change were four mop-topped musicians from Liverpool, The Beatles. While many scholars have examined their role as songwriters, as countercultural and political figures, and as solo artists, few have considered the important role film played in The Beatles’ career. This book focuses on the overlooked films the Beatles performed in from 1964 to 1970 in order to chart their journey from pop stars to musicians. Through these case studies, The Beatles on Screen uncovers how the relationship between film and pop music has changed the ways in which bands communicate with their fans.
Christopher Partridge and Marcus Moberg
The Bloomsbury Handbook of Religion and Popular Music is the first comprehensive analysis of the most important themes and concepts in this field. Drawing on contemporary research from religious studies, theology, sociology, ethnography, and cultural studies, the volume comprises thirty-one specifically commissioned essays from a team of international experts. The chapters explore the principal areas of inquiry and point to new directions for scholarship. Featuring chapters on methodology, key genres, religious traditions and popular music subcultures, this volume provides the essential reference point for anyone with an interest in religion and popular music as well as popular culture more broadly.
Religious traditions covered include Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Paganism and occultism. Coverage of genres and religion ranges from heavy metal, rap and hip hop to country music and film and television music. Edited by Christopher Partridge and Marcus Moberg, this Handbook defines the research field and provides an accessible entry point for new researchers in the field.
Samuel Cohen and James Peacock
On their debut, The Clash famously claimed to be "bored with the USA," but The Clash wasn't a parochial record. Mick Jones' licks on songs such as "Hate and War" were heavily influenced by classic American rock and roll, and the cover of Junior Murvin's reggae hit "Police and Thieves" showed that the band's musical influences were already wide-ranging. Later albums such as Sandinista! and Combat Rock saw them experimenting with a huge range of musical genres, lyrical themes and visual aesthetics. The Clash Takes on the World explores the transnational aspects of The Clash's music, lyrics and politics, and it does so from a truly transnational perspective. It brings together literary scholars, historians, media theorists, musicologists, social activists and geographers from Europe and the US, and applies a range of critical approaches to The Clash's work in order to tackle a number of key questions: How should we interpret their negotiations with reggae music and culture? How did The Clash respond to the specific socio-political issues of their time, such as the economic recession, the Reagan-Thatcher era and burgeoning neoliberalism, and international conflicts in Nicaragua and the Falkland Islands? How did they reconcile their anti-capitalist stance with their own success and status as a global commodity? And how did their avowedly inclusive, multicultural stance, reflected in their musical diversity, square with the experience of watching the band in performance? The Clash Takes on the World is essential reading for scholars, students and general readers interested in a band whose popularity endures.
The Death and Life of the Music Industry in the Digital Age challenges the conventional wisdom that the internet is ‘killing’ the music industry. While technological innovations (primarily in the form of peer-to-peer file-sharing) have evolved to threaten the economic health of major transnational music companies, Rogers illustrates how those same companies have themselves formulated highly innovative response strategies to negate the harmful effects of the internet. In short, it documents how the radical transformative potential of the internet is being suppressed by legal and organisational innovations. Grounded in a social shaping perspective, The Death and Life of the Music Industry in the Digital Age contends that the internet has not altered pre-existing power relations in the music industry where a small handful of very large corporations have long since established an oligopolistic dominance. Furthermore, the book contends that widespread acceptance of the idea that online piracy is rampant, and music largely ‘free’ actually helps these major music companies in their quest to bolster their power. In doing this, the study serves to deflate much of the transformative hype and digital ‘deliria’ that has accompanied the internet’s evolution as a medium for mass communication.
Popular music artists, as performers in the public eye, offer a privileged site for the witnessing and analysis of ageing and its mediation. The Late Voice will undertake such an analysis by considering issues of time, memory, innocence and experience in modern Anglophone popular song and the use by singers and songwriters of a ‘late voice’. Lateness here refers to five primary issues: chronology (the stage in an artist’s career); the vocal act (the ability to convincingly portray experience); afterlife (posthumous careers made possible by recorded sound); retrospection (how voices ‘look back’ or anticipate looking back); and the writing of age, experience, lateness and loss into song texts.
There has been recent growth in research on ageing and the experience of later stages of life, focussing on physical health, lifestyle and psychology, with work in the latter field intersecting with the field of memory studies. The Late Voice seeks to connect age, experience and lateness with particular performers and performance traditions via the identification and analysis of a late voice in singers and songwriters of mid-late twentieth century popular music.
From his days as the “quiet Beatle”--a tag he quite disliked--to his immensely successful and critically admired solo career, George Harrison produced one of the most memorable bodies of music in modern times. His “Something” and “Here Comes the Sun” can certainly lay claim to being the best offerings on The Beatles’ Abbey Road, while his 1970 album All Things Must Pass introduced new musical styles to rock and roll.
Harrison was the pioneer in making mainstream rock a vehicle for religious convictions. In this respect, he is a forerunner of bands such as U2 and Creed. People often criticized him for being preachy or didactic. Reviewers over the years exhibited either an anxious disinclination to say much about his evangelistic lyrics or showed a condescending tendency to dismiss them. His devotional language was not their language. They regularly thought him sanctimonious and full of irrelevant religious platitudes.
Allison’s book views Harrison’s religious bent as his most interesting trait. Harrison should be admired for having something distinctive to say, and for saying it while knowing that many would not understand and that others who might understand might not be sympathetic. He had the courage of his convictions, to sing to the public what he sang to himself in his heart.
Allison traces Harrison’s religious pilgrimage from Liverpool Roman Catholicism to a brand of philosophical Hinduism. He sorts through Harrison’s musical corpus--through its mixed bag of fragmentary feelings, religious poetry, secular love songs, perceptions of the world, and anxieties about life--to interpret what matters most to Harrison. In short, this is a book about Harrison’s religious sentiments as they surface in his songs.
Christopher Malone and George Martinez
The Organic Globalizer is a collection of critical essays which takes the position that hip-hop holds political significance through an understanding of its ability to at once raise cultural awareness, expand civil society’s focus on social and economic justice through institution building, and engage in political activism and participation. Collectively, the essays assert hip hop’s importance as an “organic globalizer:” no matter its pervasiveness or reach around the world, hip-hop ultimately remains a grassroots phenomenon that is born of the community from which it permeates. Hip hop, then, holds promise through three separate but related avenues: (1) through cultural awareness and identification/recognition of voices of marginalized communities through music and art; (2) through social creation and the institutionalization of independent alternative institutions and non-profit organizations in civil society geared toward social and economic justice; and (3) through political activism and participation in which demands are articulated and made on the state.
‘I’m going to camp out on the land … try and get my soul free’. So sang Joni Mitchell in 1970 on ‘Woodstock’. But Woodstock is only the tip of the iceberg. Popular music festivals are one of the strikingly successful and enduring features of seasonal popular cultural consumption for young people and older generations of enthusiasts. From pop and rock to folk, jazz and techno, under stars and canvas, dancing in the streets and in the mud, the pleasures and politics of the carnival since the 1950s are discussed in this innovative and richly-illustrated collection. The Pop Festival brings scholarship in cultural studies, media studies, musicology, sociology, and history together in one volume to explore the music festival as a key event in the cultural landscape — and one of major interest to young people as festival-goers themselves and as students.
Widespread distribution of recorded music via digital networks affects more than just business models and marketing strategies; it also alters the way we understand recordings, scenes and histories of popular music culture. This Is Not a Remix uncovers the analog roots of digital practices and brings the long history of copies and piracy into contact with contemporary controversies about the reproduction, use and circulation of recordings on the internet.
Borschke examines the innovations that have sprung from the use of recording formats in grassroots music scenes, from the vinyl, tape and acetate that early disco DJs used to create remixes to the mp3 blogs and vinyl revivalists of the 21st century. This is Not A Remix challenges claims that ‘remix culture’ is a substantially new set of innovations and highlights the continuities and contradictions of the Internet era.
Through an historical focus on copy as a property and practice, This Is Not a Remix focuses on questions about the materiality of media, its use and the aesthetic dimensions of reproduction and circulation in digital networks. Through a close look at sometimes illicit forms of composition—including remixes, edits, mashup, bootlegs and playlists—Borschke ponders how and why ideals of authenticity persist in networked cultures where copies and copying are ubiquitous and seemingly at odds with romantic constructions of authorship. By teasing out unspoken assumptions about media and culture, this book offers fresh perspectives on the cultural politics of intellectual property in the digital era and poses questions about the promises, possibilities and challenges of network visibility and mobility.
What were Prince’s politics? What did he believe about God? And did he really forsake the subject—sex—that once made him the most subversive superstar of the Reagan era? In this illuminating thematic biography, Joseph Vogel explores the issues that made Prince one of the late 20th century’s most unique, controversial, and fascinating artists.
Since his unexpected death in 2016, Prince has been recognized by peers, critics, and music fans alike. President Barack Obama described him as “one of the most gifted and prolific musicians of our time.” Yet in spite of the influx of attention, much about Prince’s creative life, work, and cultural impact remains thinly examined. This Thing Called Life fills this vacuum, delving deep into seven key topics—politics, sound, race, gender, sex, religion, and death—that allow us to see Prince in fresh, invigorating new ways. Accessible and timely, This Thing Called Life takes the reader on a journey through the catalog and creative revolution of one of America’s most compelling and elusive icons.
Through a transnational, comparative and multi-level approach to the relationship between youth, migration, and music, the aesthetic intersections between the local and the global, and between agency and identity, are presented through case studies in this book. Transglobal Sounds contemplates migrant youth and the impact of music in diaspora settings and on the lives of individuals and collectives, engaging with broader questions of how new modes of identification are born out of the social, cultural, historical and political interfaces between youth, migration and music. Thus, through acts of mobility and environments lived in and in-between, this volume seeks to articulate between musical transnationalism and sense of place in exploring the complex relationship between music and young migrants and migrant descendant’s everyday lives.
U2 and the Religious Impulse examines indications in U2’s music and performances that the band work at conscious and subconscious levels as artists who focus on matters of the spirit, religious traditions, and a life guided by both belief and doubt.
U2 is known for a career of stirring songs, landmark performances and for its interest in connecting with fans to reach a higher power to accomplish greater purposes. Its success as a rock band is unparalleled in the history of rock ‘n’ roll’s greatest acts. In addition to all the thrills one would expect from entertainers at this level, U2 surprises many listeners who examine its lyrics and concert themes by having a depth of interest in matters of human existence more typically found in literature, philosophy, and theology.
The multi-disciplinary perspectives presented here account for the durability of U2’s art and offer informed explanations as to why many fans of popular music who seek a connection with a higher power find U2 to be a kindred spirit. This study will be of interest to scholars and students of religious studies and musicology interested in religion and popular music, as well as religion and popular culture more broadly.
From massive raves sprouting around the London orbital at the turn of the 1990s to events operated under the control of corporate empires, EDM (Electronic Dance Music) festivals have developed into cross-genre, multi-city, transnational mega-events. From free party teknivals proliferating across Europe since the mid-1990s to colossal corporate attractions like Tomorrowland Electric Daisy Carnival and Stereosonic, and from transformational and participatory events like Burning Man and events in the UK outdoor psytrance circuit, to such digital arts and new media showcases as Barcelona’s Sónar Festival and Montreal’s MUTEK, dance festivals are platforms for a variety of arts, lifestyles, industries and policies.
Growing ubiquitous in contemporary social life, and providing participants with independent sources of belonging, these festivals and their event-cultures are diverse in organization, intent and outcome. From ethically-charged and “boutique” events with commitments to local regions to subsidiaries of entertainment conglomerates touring multiple nations, EDM festivals are expressions of “freedoms” revolutionary and recreational. Centres of “EDM pop”, critical vectors in tourism industries, fields of racial distinction, or experiments in harm reduction, gifting culture, and co-created art, as this volume demonstrates, diversity is evident across management styles, performance legacies and modes of participation.
Weekend Societies is a timely interdisciplinary volume from the emergent field of EDM festival and event-culture studies. Echoing an industry trend in world dance music culture from raves and clubs towards festivals, Weekend Societies features contributions from scholars of EDM festivals showcasing a diversity of methodological approaches, theoretical perspectives and representational styles.
Organised in four sections: Dance Empires; Underground Networks; Urban Experiments; Global Flows, Weekend Societies illustrates how a complex array of regional, economic, social, cultural and political factors combine to determine the fate of EDM festivals that transpire at the intersections of the local and global.
When Genres Collide is a provocative history that rethinks the relationship between jazz and rock through the lens of the two oldest surviving and most influential American popular music periodicals: Down Beat and Rolling Stone. Writing in 1955, Duke Ellington argued that the new music called rock ‘n’ roll “is the most raucous form of jazz, beyond a doubt.” So why did jazz and rock subsequently become treated as separate genres?
The rift between jazz and rock (and jazz and rock scholarship) is based on a set of received assumptions about their fundamental differences, but there are other ways popular music history could have been written. By offering a fresh examination of key historical moments when the trajectories and meanings of jazz and rock intersected, overlapped, or collided, it reveals how music critics constructed an ideological divide between jazz and rock that would be replicated in American musical discourse for decades to follow.