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This chapter has four sections: 1. Biography, Autobiography and Critical Survey of Artists; 2. Anthologies, Collections and Encyclopaedias; 3. History and Analysis; 4. Short Notices.
1. Biography, Autobiography and Critical Survey of Artists The influence of the German group Kraftwerk on contemporary popular music is unmistakable. Their music, which they dubbed motorik, fused together many of the elements to be found in contemporary dance music, industrial music and electronica—the use of the voice as an instrument, the emphasis on grindingly metonymic beats, the 'disappearance' of the human and the pre-eminence of the machine both in the studio and on stage—and was developed on a series of albums from Autobahn (1974) through to their latest (and possibly last) full album, Electric Cafe (1986). Yet, despite this massive influence, their work has largely gone unnoticed within academia, whilst attempts to dissect their music by French writer Pascal Bussy in Kraftwerk: Man, Machine and Music (S.A.F. ); reviewed in YWCCT 3) or the more straightforward biography of English rock critic Tim Barr From Dusseldorf to the Future (with Love) (Ebury Press ; reviewed in YWCCT 8) stopped short of the detail required to tease out the full meaning of their music. Wolfgang Flur was a member of the band until the late 1980s and his memoir, Kraftwerk: I was a Robot, finally reaches us in English translation—but not before Kraftwerk's Florian Schneider-Esleben and Ralph Hiitter tried to block publication. This failed attempt to gag Flur says less about the book's content (which can hardly be described as wildly salacious) and more about the astonishing privacy of the existing members of the band. In the Internet age, when pop stars with personal websites are encouraged to 'fess up' and reveal intimate details of their private lives, Kraftwerk's privacy is, in itself, an oddly eccentric feature, and their hermetic working practices at Diisseldorf s Kling Klang Studios have become the stuff of rock legend. Flur's florid account, translated by Janet Porteous, is an important memoir, if, at times, a self-serving one. Frustratingly it stops short of a detailed analysis of the music, but its value lies in (partially) demystifying the band. The © The English Association
a musician whose body of work stretches over four decades and whose cultural importance is global. Music journalist and broadcaster Stuart Maconie's new book. One of the leading Dylanologists is Michael Gray. the creative direction has ebbed and flowed with factional interest. Dylan the man is also sometimes absent from the text too and those less partisan of Dylan fans might find the lack of biographical detail a Downloaded from ywcct. as many musicians would tell you. this new book is published to mark the sixtieth birthday of the former Robert Zimmerman. in reality. Gray laboriously challenges us with detailed deconstructions of minor songs too.POPULAR MUSIC 123 duopoly of Hiitter and Schneider is discussed in some detail. and rather than tease out the cultural significance of his greatest performances. By the late 1980s Kraftwerk had ossified into a bizarre charade whereby the two guiding lights would spend most of the day drinking coffee and cycling before work began on an ambitious and hugely timeconsuming exercise in remixing some of their old hits. Like that other mercurial Manchester band. a technique pioneered in early 1970s by Anthony Scaduto in his biography of Bob Dylan (reviewed in YWCCT6).oxfordjournals. A constantly changing roster of band members has produced a fluid creativity. James's music has remained a parochial pleasure. Four times longer than the previous version and with extensive new analyses of Dylan's indebtedness to the blues and of post-structuralism. its culturally dislocating effects on a parochial foursome the core of this memoir. with Manchester's James. but will disappoint the casual fan. The main theme of / was a Robot. narrative and. Gray's analysis is all-inclusive. a project that took five years to complete. the words the singer sings are often a jumble of affecting words scrambled together to make a rhyme after a session in the pub. is valuable for popular music scholars in that it gives a detailed account of interpersonal relations which fire musical production. but went largely unbought globally. but leaves them as free-standing interlocutions inside the main narrative. The result is that Maconie's work is a mix of oral testimony. their appetites and increasing eccentricities adumbrated. Whereas with many bands one or two strong individuals emerge as leading conceptualists and songwriters. Rather than select. a band with one front man but no leader. It will delight those with a familiarity with Dylan's oeuvre looking for detailed cultural analysis. Rock auteurs such as Bob Dylan. occasionally. Song and Dance Man III: The Art of Bob Dylan. 2010 . the skill for the commentator is in selection. and works satisfactorily within this framework. the Smiths. Whilst the partisan fan might pore over each lyric as if it was the result of some sort of mystical cogitation. and a bizarre tale it is too. With dozens of albums and thousands of live performances to analyse. The strength of the book (the authoritativeness gained by the band's co-operation) is simultaneously a weakness (since punches are pulled and frank assessments generally avoided). James: Folklore—The Official History. however. such as how James found a niche for their music in the UK. Ultimately. still remain to be answered. Some other pertinent issues. Maconie also elects not to interweave the oral testimony from the band and from producers (most notably Brian Eno) into the main body of the text.org at University of Adelaide on November 8. perceptive cultural scene setting. then the working practices of other major rock acts have at least been covered in more detail. is the impact travel had on the band. His book. / was a Robot is the story of a non-rock band on the road. offer up a different sort of challenge for the biographer. is a new version of a book first published in 1972 and then revised a decade later. If Kraftwerk's code remains largely a secret.
Spice Girls-style. and the result is an uncontroversial and generous book. Yet they haven't accomplished fundamental changes as Dylan has. In an era in which thirty.org at University of Adelaide on November 8. videos and so on. musician and cultural agent provocateur's rock memoir. It is also a terrific read. is a bewildering mix of chronological jump-starts. The Complete David Bowie. Joan Armatrading.and forty-something (male) nostalgia for pop's past is de rigueur. With headache-inducing small type. Pegg's book organizes Bowie into lists. They've come into rock music accepting it more or less as they' ve found it: all they've done is find themselves a corner each to sit in. though when Pegg's voice is heard through the chatter. though zealous synopticism. Dylan's majesty is assumed and then evidenced over 800 pages of detailed explication: If the oddness of Dylan as a pop figure. for those pop 'failures' who release one Downloaded from ywcct. together with its detailed literary criticism. this is an indispensable reference book and a kindly tome for rock completists everywhere. If Pegg's industrious work anatomizes Bowie's career. live performances. it is a sensible one.124 POPULAR MUSIC handicap. Big on detail. it is a book that sates the very male desire for itemizing and codifying. with sections on the songs. the films. Underpinning Drummond's analysis is his middle-age enthusiasm for all things pop. small on any sort of cultural or contextual analysis. John Lennon. since the whole rationale behind Bowie is that he mixed media and elided boundaries between the musical and visual (and between his persona and that of the characters he created). before his analysis morphs again into an idiosyncratic deconstruction of why the Scots hate the English. does. Pegg imposes his own order to the chaos of Bowie's career. Mick Jagger. then Bill Drummond. suggested that intelligence was assaulting the pop scene. This taxonomy jars. Pegg decides to keep sanity intact and replaces first-hand testimony with kindly. Whereas many previous Bowie biographers have followed the painful path of contacting ex-producers. Among others Phil Spector. with all his perplexing innovations. an infectiousness. This is also not a book to convert the disbeliever. nevertheless.oxfordjournals. he is itemized in a new work. make this an admirable work and still something of a landmark in popular music scholarship. cultural ruminations and personal witticisms. enthusiasm and knowledge that so much academic writing about popular music lacks. satirized dance culture so successfully and who ludicrously invited (and made a laughing stock out of) a hapless Tammy Wynette to sing on their biggest hit. 45. For a David Bowie fan. Drummond's enthusiasm for pop is less for the mainstream than it is for the margins. We should expect no less from a man whose group. ex-lovers and ex-friends of the man Q magazine dubbed the Dame. flashbacks. If Dylan is analysed in Gray's work. the albums. The quixotic Drummond switches from a candid personal history of his involvement as manager with internationally-successful Liverpool rock band Echo and the Bunnymen to a trenchant discussion of pop copyists. by Nicholas Pegg. 2010 . ex-musicians. Elvis Costello and David Bowie are all intelligent artists. that didn't mean that no clever people besides Bob Dylan had ever made their mark in pop. the KLF. The analysis that appends itself to the listing is overwhelmingly based on a collage of existing printed journalistic sources. 117) The scope and scale of the book. (p.
oxfordjournals. This is music as contagion: Pop music has become a cancer that has spread through my whole body and is now affecting my brain. jurisprudence or politics. I can't pass a mirror without hitting a power chord. The immediacy of racy.POPULAR MUSIC 125 great record. We don't have the same input from friends and all that to change us' (p. as a study of such obsessions. Can't pass a sweet shop without hearing the Shangri-Las. then by the bewildering fragmentation of dance culture which occurred in the early 1990s. Throughout the 1990s. a new wave of British fiction writers. Most of these writers lived through a time when the New Right began aggressively policing popular culture and began to be published in the wake of a succession of moral panics (the phrase. Redhead's interview with Downloaded from ywcct. short story. But what if I were cured? What would be left of me? I'd be like a shrivelled-up party balloon seven days after the birthday party .. They used all kinds of forms of story-telling—science fiction. (pp. So 45 is the product of an ageing pop obsessive and. lived experience fires works such as Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh (Minerva ). But still it goes on. 'but they wrote it in fiction. then explode into dust—'it's strange. However. 'repetitive beat generation'. 3-4) By the early 1990s. It's just taking these basic elements. if certain strands of rock music had become pastiche. affirms Redhead. hook. Things like that do stick longer in the provinces.. 2010 . Sarah Champion and Irvine Welsh. is taken from the text of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act of the Major government in the UK). including Nicholas Blincoe. I've tried everything. xxvii). began to report their experiences through both the novel and the short story format. Can't put out the milk bottles without wondering what happened to the Hermits. horror. it's a fascinating psychological drama of the power of pop fandom.. Roddy Doyle's inclusion is a necessary backwards glance to the mid-1980s. chorus and backing vocals to every moment of waking life. biography. fucked-up. 'The repetitive beat generation authors interviewed in this book wrote a cultural history as it was happening'. inspired first by acid house. What comes across from these conversations is the fact that the literary can be just as good at capturing truths about contemporary society as investigative journalism or academic research. We rely more on this. An interview with author Gordon Legge highlights the slower pace of cultural change in the provinces: 'The Scottish hardcore scene is basically to acid house what "oi" was to punk—it's that kind of boom boom boom all the time. of how a demotivated Western youth had relegated music to a background role in their lives.org at University of Adelaide on November 8. certain cultural commentators were talking pessimistically about the 'death of rock'. weird. It's got to stop. drug fiction. and it's too late to hope I die before I get old. an era in which the connection between pop music and pop fiction was less obvious. 7). Steve Redhead's Repetitive Beat Generation is a collection of fourteen interviews with many of the leading hip literati of their day. then dance culture was energizing contemporary debate. performance art—to tell the fascinating tale of the last counter cultures . history. unsuccessful pop music that I dig' (p. reportage. 69). Perhaps not unsurprisingly.. not in the language of sociology. this internal soundtrack of riff. A feature of many a tale told to Redhead is the story of a parochial resistance to centralizing London politics and culture. of the twentieth century' (p. crime fiction.
and handy cross-references to solo projects. John Lydon or Julie Burchill. It's no longer to do with understanding complexity but with niche marketing. Strong has fast become an essential reference work. Seppo Niemi. in that one suspects that quite elaborate and complex ideas in the original Finnish are expressed in a generalized way in the English. The media has become very much a kind of self-serving stagnant pool' (p. for reasons of space. namely that the repetitive beat generation spurned a generation of apolitical defeatists who merely created a counterculture of hedonism not rebellion. Following on from Henry W. The lead off article. The counter argument.100 words. Although Redhead hints at the inherent contradiction of this stance (Welsh rails against a media that makes his work/fame and wealth possible in the first place). the Beatlestudies project has a rehearsed quality. Identity. Sullivan's 1995 study. Finland. with so much academic and journalistic writing to compete against. There then follow essays on the likes of the Beatles' studio technique. 138). Authenticity. it would be "who is Julie Burchill?" Power becomes more concentrated. The Great Rock Discography by Martin C. but. 'The Beatles and Their Times: Thoughts on the "Relative Autonomy" of Stylistic Change' provides a useful guide to popular music historicism before embarking on an ambitious. I bet you the journalists would say Julie Burchill. The main theme of the interview is the distorting influence of the media. on the Liverpool sound from 1957 and 1962. for that matter. Surely it's time for academia to leave Dylan. along with chart positions. Madonna alone and to seek out different artists to re-freshen critical discussion? Downloaded from ywcct. 2010 2. the oppositional nature of Welsh (and indeed of all the writer's interviewed here to a greater or lesser extent) is taken as read. If you ask people outside in the street. is one which the book studiously avoids. a research report from the Music Department at the University of Jy vaskyla. Collections and Encyclopaedias At over 110. splinter groups and side projects . and Terhi Nurmesjarvi. but now.org at University of Adelaide on November 8. and an in-depth analysis of the track 'Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds'. outside of that world you know. Jouni Koskimaki. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Cambridge University Press ). and Allan Moore's Sgt. another academic book about the Beatles. Welsh goes on to attack the media for distorting reality through labelling and categorizing: 'I feel the media have created an industry in inventing spurious divisions which are superficial. the media is obsessed with power: 'If you ask people. though sketchy discussion of the post-war musical antecedents to the Beatles. They thrive on creating false deficiencies so that they can sell products to make us more "complete"'. Strong provides chapter and verse on around a thousand top rock and pop acts. According to Welsh.oxfordjournals. shorn of Harry Horses' idiosyncratic cartoon portraitures of many of the leading rock acts under the microscope. including serviceable biographical details and a full list of recorded material both on album and single. edited by Yrjo Heinonen.126 POPULAR MUSIC Welsh is the key contribution to the anthology. Anthologies. comes the collection Beatlestudies [sic] 2: History. the Beatles and. The Beatles with Lacan: Rock 'n' Roll as Requiem for the Modern Age published by Peter Lang (reviewed in YWCCT 5). if you took a poll amongst journalists and asked who is more important in culture in the seventies. Finally in this section. Unfortunately something is lost in the translation. snippets of trivia.
none the less. This is an excellent work. However. shows little affection for contemporary dance styles or teen pop. though the selection reflects the AngloAmerican bias of the source magazine. Felicity Laurence's essay 'Children's Singing' is a fascinating analysis of the development of human musicality and contains practical information on how to teach singing at school: '85 per cent of secondary schools provided no vocal curriculum at all' (p. Strong's publisher. the Cure. therefore. The most innovatory articles are those concerning the pedagogy of vocal technique. and. 'The Teaching (and Learning) of Singing'. jazz and punk. as it is. 'Rock' is defined pretty loosely. Liszt and Mahler. is particularly welcome. but also uncertain writing and overly technical theorization. Far more assured is The Cambridge Guide to Singing. The Mojo Collection is. Rather than the dully-neutral biographies of many reference works. to assess and evaluate. 222). Although not an academic work. However. an inaccurate one (no.org at University of Adelaide on November 8. makes for a strangely traditional interpretation. The Great Rock Discography is. is a valuable cultural history with information on early modern developments in the teaching of vocal style. whilst 'Where Does the Sound Come From?' by Johan Sunderg. and. Walter Everett. If the Mojo Collection has a faint air of male clubiness. but the actual selection of albums is fairly indisputable and the book is a handy reference tool. Dave Mason's contribution. Their huge cult success in the UK remains a lacuna in virtually all histories of the 1970s. at times. U2. An introduction by John Potter yields to the likes of John Schaefer on world music. Downloaded from ywcct. funk. The Mojo Collection: The Greatest Albums of All Time discusses what they regard as the seminal albums of the rock era. by a roster of tried and trusted venerables. like its parent magazine. with entries on folk. Mojo Books. lays down the book's prime objective as follows: 'We have sought to bring to the table a multiplicity of issues. Strong is not afraid to express his opinion. in his keenness to link some of the overall structures of the music to classical composers such as Stravinsky. There are groundbreaking analyses. Expression in Pop-Rock Music: A Collection of Critical and Analytical Essays has all the advantages and draw backs of youthful enthusiasm. essential for any serious scholar of Anglo-American contemporary popular music. edited by John Potter. The analysis of Genesis' 1972 epic 'Supper's Ready' by MarkS. collecting as it does nineteen essays on vocal style. Discussions of acts as diverse as early Genesis. touching on both popular and classical music. an offshoot from the respected UK monthly rock magazine.oxfordjournals. is a helpful analysis of vocal production and the site of sound itself. Those researchers interested in non-Western music outside of the rock tradition must look elsewhere. a mix of various techniques and perspectives and (as affirmed by a glance through the index) the representation of a great variety of styles from all periods of pop-rock history' (p. The anthology's editor. a page per record. 2010 . a proudly rockist affair.POPULAR MUSIC 127 where appropriate. Richard Middleton on rock singing and an essay on rap by David Toop. Genesis have always been rather a guilty pleasure. Spicer's analysis makes no concessions to the non-musician and. Frank Zappa and Tori Amos make good on this promise. written. has also published a new critical guide. ix). Everett's collection seeks to provide a 'post-journalistic' music analysis. Edited by Jim Irvin. Brian Eno did not work on Bowie's Scary Monsters for example). but the analysis itself often remains too technical for all put the most gifted of musicians to understand. the discography's beauty lies in its partisanship. Spicer in his essay 'Large-Scale Strategy and Compositional Design in the Early Music of Genesis'.
Part 3. that a musical work. Undergraduates are now well served by introductory anthologies. but I think accurately: a proponent of the work as 'text' .. the writing in this Downloaded from ywcct. Part 1 of the book is centred on musical analysis and reprints David Brackett's excellent article on James Brown. this collection is invaluable in that it gives a 'greatest hits' selection from a journal which some undergraduates may not have access to. Richard Middleton and Philip Tagg all make worthwhile contributions.org at University of Adelaide on November 8. a battle over priorities and even ideals . In the main. is likely to enjoy actively collecting and perusing scores.oxfordjournals.. 'I Have the Touch'. but at times densely theoretical discussion of the status of the text within both classical and popular music studies. Serge Lacasse. to the relative weight we attach to durability and topicality. abstractly considered. 'Modes of Representation'. Talbot goes on to argue that the: battle over definitions and their application is perhaps. in the final analysis. Sean Cubitt and Richard Middleton. 2010 . which from the very outset creates immense potential for controversy' (p. Philip Tagg.128 POPULAR MUSIC The Musical Work: Reality or Invention?. although the quality and intelligibility of other contributions is less consistent. 3). reproducible and attributable . although some common ground was found. Once one gets beyond the illogicality of the anthology's title. has to be discrete. and to the raft of other factors that have more to with educational background. and includes Umberto Fiori's excellent deconstruction of the 1982 Peter Gabriel song. Reading Pop: Approaches to Textual Analysis in Popular Music. There was at least broad agreement among the contributors. and gender issues of which Sheila Whitely's 'Progressive Rock and Psychedelic Coding in the Work of Jimi Hendrix' and Alf Bjornberg's 'Structural Relationships of Music and Images in Music Videos' remain powerful pieces of analytical writing. In his 'Introduction'. to merit the description. as in the world at large. although each of the three mentioned primary conditions possess a measure of elasticity. Part 2 of the collection is concerned with the interplay between music and words. out concept of the musical work probably correlates closely with our attitude to the written (as opposed to spoke) word. To sum up the situation empirically... which helpfully gives a summary of the entire terrain of popular music studies for the newcomer) as this collection simply reprints sixteen previously published articles from the journal Popular Music. is the first in the Liverpool Music Symposium series. co-ordinated by the Institute of Popular Music and the Music Department at the University of Liverpool. the advocate of the work as 'act' is likely to go to many concerts (or listen to many recordings). questions of ideology and power. Its value lies not in new research (although there is a typically perspicacious new introductory chapter from Middleton. edited by Michael Talbot. Rather.. broadens the discussion to deal with visual cultures. 6-7) David Horn. (pp. In other words. along with articles from Peter Winkler.. one finds a sensitive. Talbot's introduction problematizes the definitional complexity pertaining to a musical 'work' discussed in the symposium: 'I cannot pretend that a firm consensus was reached. and Richard Middleton has edited one of the best yet. Stan Hawkins. professional activity and social attitudes than with reason and judgement.
it's such hazy wordings that many .POPULAR MUSIC 129 collection is admirable and the concerns refreshingly pluralistic. For the first time all twelve issues are reprinted in the second half of the book. However. urban. The first half of the book contains a punk retrospective. male youth in the failing economy of post-corporatist Britain. Sniffin' Glue: The Essential Punk Accessory by Mark Perry. illustrated with some really excellent photographs of the leading figures. which contains material on the unmistakably Ur punk of the Ramones. In fact. There are drawbacks to the book though. originally published between the summers of 1976 and 1977. lyrics were being written'. we should perhaps return to the original punk commentary itself and recognize just how inconsistent was the voice of protest. which is more that can be said for the journal as a whole which has. A more educated. '(Don't Fear) the Reaper'. interviews and personal rants. 6) or.oxfordjournals. A review of a Sex Pistols gig from January 1977 notes that Johnny Rotten stands in the crowd after the final number and claps his own encore. was the most visible punk fanzine. the band is praised for their musicianship. is edited by Terry Rawlings and has a foreword by punk poet John Cooper Clarke. Downloaded from ywcct. we've got it here'—tempers the fanzine's appreciation of love of American new wave. and they make for fascinating reading. even poetic. the astonishing impact of Jews as songwriters is less often discussed and it is here that Billig makes a useful contribution. The second half of the book reprints the original fanzine. More complex. Mark P's Sniffin' Glue. shown an increasing tendency to print careerist cant. Finally in this section. definition of the new wave. 'Pop was changing. middle-class type of person was beginning to use rock as a means of expression. Take issue one. A separatist dialogue between editor and fan. though worthwhile history. "sixties music" did not really get going until about 1964' (p. but also includes a review of the work of the Blue Oyster Cult. comes a highly confused and contradictory ideology that reflects a calamitous time for white. Rock 'n' Roll Jews argues that whilst most of the major figures in twentieth-century popular music were not Jewish. a band most known for their big fat rock hit. Michael Billig's slight. a call to arms to create a new scene—'We don't need New York. for example. 2010 3. In attempting to tease out the oppositional standard of punk. a crucial number of behind the scenes operators were. some might say contradictory. Perhaps there's a lesson for us here. One of the striking features of these reissued magazines is the Catholic. Billig is largely uninterested in contemporary popular music and his analysis often tends towards the general rather than the particular. He would win few plaudits for vague simplifications such as 'musically speaking. a telling image of punk's wilful deconstruction of the fan-idol power nexus. The existence of Jewish managers and impresarios confirms the stereotype of Jewish business acumen and self-help. Far from being the musically limited dupes of popular myth. Out of the curious medley of gig reviews. regrettably. History and Analysis One of the most important roles in the drama of popular music history over the last hundred years or so has been acted out by Jews. There are some interesting contemporary observations concerning the rise of the Sex Pistols.org at University of Adelaide on November 8.
but it is nearly twenty years old itself. whose personal life (including drug-addiction and a breakdown) and professional dealings are laid bare in detail. 1955 or 1956. but surely the big picture should not be ignored? James Miller. former journalist and critic and now a professor of political science.130 POPULAR MUSIC tenacious rock journalists would rumble in reviews. Bowie and the Sex Pistols. However.oxfordjournals. Miller's book is also a work of psychology. One of the most incisive modern-day journalists is David Cavanagh. two books in one. Why has there been such an unwillingness to grasp the nettle that is rock 'n' roll history? Perhaps the reason lies in the fact that surprisingly few professional historians are involved in popular music studies? Or is it that with so much research now centred on the 'local'. contains the input of over 170 interviewees. Miller begins his account almost a decade before. 1947-1977. The Creation Records Story is. 2010 . It is a peculiar feature of popular music studies that so few detailed histories of popular music itself have ever been written. Miller writes in his preface: 'What had seemed mysterious to a nine-year-old boy. piece of old-fashioned historical analysis in his book. As the narrative unfolds episodically. and at times controversial. Flowers in the Dustbin: The Rise of Rock and Roll. the need for a totalizing grand historical narrative is no longer apparent? The fragmentation of popular music studies may indeed leave us with compelling mini-narratives. the seismic impact of Presley is once again the motor of Miller's enthusiasm. to the adult critic. Primal Scream and Oasis. The prime evidence comes from the labels' creator. Flowers in the Dustbin is an account of how his own pop world turned sour. Iain Chambers' Urban Rhythms (MacMillian ). The Creation Records Story: My Magpie Eyes are Hungry for the Prize is a model of painstaking research and. It is a tale of baby-boomer optimism sullied by post-countercultural blandness and avarice. is likewise an astute piece of cultural history. how a punk-inspired kid from Glasgow became a member of Tony Blair's New Labour think tank. Cavanagh discusses how unpopular indie music became popular. in fact. Rather than start his analysis in 1954. and investigates the post-war scene. thus pinning the elevation of Elvis Presley to the rise of rock 'n' roll itself as so many writers have done before him. The history of rock is therefore a history of disappointment and disillusionment. Yet we have to go back decades to find an academic work of such scope.org at University of Adelaide on November 8. astonishingly. Alan McGee. The book also details the complex story of Creation's leading lights—the Jesus and Mary Chain. became. the book's strengths lie in some brilliant set piece analyses of Presley. and how an independent label has to continually reposition and redefine its sense of independence in order to survive. has produced an extremely sharp. and on non-Western popular music. Despite this chronological novelty. a routinized package Downloaded from ywcct. Journalists regularly provide us with illustrated rock histories of variable quality and television has also commissioned histories of the rock era with reasonable regularity. although centred on the British experience. and his history of the Creation record label spans two decades and almost 600 pages. and what augured a revolutionary youth culture in the mind of an impressionable nineteen-year-old. Da Capo ) remains one of the few successful attempts by a writer to provide us with an academically minded history of pop. Charlie Gillet's classic The Sound of the City: The Rise of Rock 'n' Roll (second edition. the Beatles. but which academics endure more kindly. It is the story of the label's history and the story of British post-punk alternative music and its youth culture.
By the 1990s. was contained in the dance 'track'. Sonic experiences depend on making the listener work to fill in the blanks and absences. Young adults were now rooted in a different sonic tradition. popular music's function within our society has changed. a theatrical conceit' (p. in this sense. will doubtless find Miller's generational misanthropy unappealing. Since then. In the 'blind' world of radio. generally expressed in a blaze of musical cliches' (p. as a form. 'No-one just sits around listening to music anymore— do they?' says one teenage undergraduate in Ron Moy's book. By the time of Bowie's Ziggy Stardust. Music as music. Punk rock had been a quintessence. the listener is forced into an act of imaginative reconstruction. The Sound Ratio as a valuable piece of historical investigation into a little regarded aspect of modern society and. its place is now less central. writes Miller. the purely aural experience is largely outdated or certainly uncommon. dizzying speed. a simulacrum. It is when discussing the sense of lack sound that Moy's imaginative book comes into its own. 352). unreal: it was mummery. killed off by a volley of noise—the bleeps and blurts of techno.oxfordjournals. 2010 . pop had reduced to the production of 'artefacts of stunning ugliness. most popular rock and roll acts have been musically crude or gleefully obscene or just plain silly' (p. they don't (perhaps even 'can't') listen anymore. One of the striking features of the development of popular music studies over the last three decades has been the absence of much meaningful discussion of the music Downloaded from ywcct. In the early nineties it indeed appeared to some that the moribund corpus that was rock and pop was indeed dead. An Analysis of the Position and Status of Sound Ratio in Contemporary Society. a polysemic culture in which attention spans are shorter. meant less and less. The capacity of the Western intellect to decode sound has largely atrophied. 'Many of life's most ecstatic moments come when we deprive ourselves of the sense of sight' concludes Moy. However. as a controversial and enlivening polemic in itself. 'He was its product. In its place is a confused terrain. The subject of this book is sound itself and its increasingly marginalized position. Those who still find aspects of popular culture to be vital and new. but rather ambitiously attempts to describe an even more significant shift in the way Western society consumes cultural texts. and Miller's well-written analysis is a welcome addition to the 'rock is dead' debate. 303). 'Bowie himself had experienced the rock revolution'. Bowie knew that the Ziggy revue was. Sound is valued for its inherent ambiguity within the imaginative process of humankind. certainly music as 'song'. And no matter what his younger fans might feel. is an essential read. The last twenty years has witnessed a miscegenation of sound and vision which has befuddled the 'pure' qualities of both. Moy' s description of a Radio 4 drama in Chapter 2 of the book amply evidences how radio drama. rock had become a simulacrum.org at University of Adelaide on November 8. and Miller's own retirement from full-time music journalism. rather than pop 'song'. The signature music of the nineties. This book tries to tell us why. so many cultural commentators proclaimed. Moy doesn't deal directly with the thorny issue of why pop music itself is increasingly losing its power over the minds of young people. It is not simply that young people don't play pop music very much any more. Moy's central thesis is a simple but persuasive one: in the late-modern world in which we live. modern society had now become increasingly 'specularised'—sight over sound. information is sped at us and spewed back out at an alarming.POPULAR MUSIC 131 of theatrical gestures. After a fifty-year sound hegemony. is both radical in its temporal dislocation and accommodating in its open-endedness. 17).
it should be hoped that more and more musicians and musicologists speak out not just to academia but to a wider public too. Although all five inventions are crucial to the development of modern music. over time. writer and television presenter. Goodall (perhaps best known for composing the theme tune to one of the BBC's biggest comedy hit of 1980s.132 POPULAR MUSIC itself. Western man has taken what nature gave us and manipulated it artificially—-every single note of our musical repertoire is a monstrous compromise. Blackadder) sets off on a musical journey. Musicians have become increasingly happy to talk intelligently and clearly about both culture and music.org at University of Adelaide on November 8. whilst non-musicians appeared to make it an article of faith that they didn't know where middle C was on a keyboard. However. which is always powerfully realized and clearly explained. 4.oxfordjournals. a music therapy session) 'Too much writing within the sociology of music—and cultural studies more widely—is abstract and ephemeral. the piano. what else are they doing with their leisure time? David Buckingham's provocative new book. As a musician. equal temperament and recorded sound. Short Notices Some music critics have argued that youth culture simply doesn't hold popular music in the same high regard as it once did. It is to music what a calendar is to the days and nights or what the 24-hour clock is to the minutes and seconds. the situation has changed. a karaoke evening. but deals directly with how 'childhood' as a concept is being redefined and examines the perceived dangerous effects of the electronic media on children. His five 'moments' are the invention of notation. For the non-musician. If so. Howard Goodall's Big Bangs: The Story of Five Discoveries that Changed Musical History is a welcome addition. musically literate musicians. full of surprises for the non-expert. 'equal temperament' is the least understood: Equal Temperament is probably the single most important development in Western European music in the last 400 years and yet most people haven't even heard of it. uses an ethnographic approach to tease out how music makes sense in lived experience (an aerobics class. but an enormous amount of the world's beautiful music wouldn't exist without it. opera. histories of how the history of music has developed have been few and far between. should be seen as part of a general trend within trade publishing to demystify specialisms. culturalists less blinkered about learning some music theory. Equal Temperament is the tuning system by which practically all the notes in our Western music are organised and structured. (pp. As with the calendar. Musicians remained intent on talking to other. A new breed of talented scholars is emerging with a variety of specialisms to call upon. In the same way that popular science is now a large sector in the publishing world. Even musicians don't really understand it. 2010 . Sociologist Tina DeNora's Music in Everyday Life. 101-2) Goodall's popular musicology. Thankfully. After the Death of Childhood: Growing Up in the Age of Electronic Media deals with popular music only indirectly. there are very few close studies of how music is used and works as an ordering material in Downloaded from ywcct.
Bilyeu. Melinda. Cambridge University Press. 688. Westsiders: Stories of the Boys in the Hood by William Shaw. Finally. The Ultimate Biography of the Bee Gees: Tales of the Brothers Gibb.org at University of Adelaide on November 8. gives an account of seven would-be rappers in Los Angeles.  pp. The result is an important piece of firsthand testimony for those interested in countercultural London based on a series of interviews with suitably swinging eye-witnesses. David. and valenato styles became popular in a country which had hitherto prided itself on its white heritage. a professor of Afro-American Studies at the University of Wisconsin. £19. Bass Culture: When Reggae was King. . After the Death of Childhood: Growing Up in the Age of Electronic Media. Hector Cook and Andrew Mon Hughs with assistance from Joseph Brennan and Mark Crohan. ed. 372. 245. Michael. such as black consciousness. 45. £20 ISBN 1 8522 7775 0. Cavanagh. Rap Music and the Poetics of Identity by Andy Krims looks at how rap is 'composed' and critiques music theory and genre along the way. Drummond. Clearly written and solidly researched.  pp.95 ISBN 0 5216 3447 4. Five Leaves. in his biography People Funny Boy: The Genius of Lee 'Scratch' Perry. by Lloyd Bradley.99 ISBN 0 7456 1933 9. together with his discussion of jazz. Walter. His memoir comes 'written and produced' by his good self.POPULAR MUSIC 133 social life' (p. pb £12.99 ISBN 0 3168 5385 2. Brown. The Ultimate Biography of the Bee Gees: Tales of the Brothers Gibb by Melinda Bilyeu. the Rolling Stones themselves. A new concept: rock biography by committee. pb £14. x). 573. Polity. pb £12. the ex-manager of the Rolling Stones. by Andrew Loog Oldham. Bill.95 ISBN 0 7119 7917 0. Tina. refused to co-operate with the project. The Creation Records Story: My Magpie Eyes are Hungry for the Prize. Garland. Bradley. 2010 Books Reviewed Billig. David. Werner's detailed history of intellectual and social trends. pb £7. $47.50 ISBN 0 8153 3160 6. gospel. seventies irony and eighties music in the Reagan era.99 ISBN 0 6708 5563 4. Another multitasked biography is Stoned. Lloyd. A senior lecturer in social anthropology at the University of Manchester. Buckingham. and Nation: Musica Tropical in Colombia examines how the porro.  pp. Expression in Pop-Rock Music: A Collection of Critical and Analytical Essays. disco. make this a formidable contribution to the history of post-War popular music. hip-hop and rap. Rock V Roll Jews. has established itself as the definitive journalistic account. blues.  pp. 181. A Change is Gonna Come: Music. pb £13. edited by Ron Ross. a cultural history of reggae.99 ISBN 0 9071 2353 8. Downloaded from ywcct. cumbia.  pp. Bass Culture: When Reggae was King. with 'interviews and research' by Simon Dudfield. Omnibus. Race. though the central players. Viking.oxfordjournals. Everett.  pp. Little. DeNora.  pp. 361. disentangles the Bee Gees story unaided by the surviving Gibb brothers. Peter Wade's Music. Music in Everyday Life. Race and the Soul of America by Craig Werner. 168. Virgin. David Katz concentrates on just one reggae act.  pp. but arguably the most influential. Hector Cook and Andrew Mon Hughs with assistance from Joseph Brennan and Mark Crohan. 584.
pb £14. Irvin.  pp. Michael. The Great Rock Discography. pb £20 ISBN 1 8419 5017 3. pb ISBN 9 5139 0733 3. The Cambridge Guide to Singing. Martin C.99 ISBN 0 0992 8354 9. Oldham.95 ISBN 0 8532 3835 9. Music. Ron. pb £13 ISBN 0 2268 6845 1. Stuart.99 ISBN 0 7535 0494 4. 286. William. 2010 . ed. Maconie. pb £12. Moy. 918.99 ISBN 0 7475 3529 9. pb $15 ($CAN 22) ISBN 0 6848 6560 2. pb £29. Strong. Stoned. 374. Vintage. 217. John.  pp. Wolfgang. Howard. Payback Press. 1109. 538. Wade.  pp. The Musical Work: Reality or Invention? Liverpool University Press. Big Bangs: The Story of Five Discoveries that Changed Musical History. Sanctuary Press.  pp.  pp. Redhead.  pp. Virgin. Foreword by John Cooper Clarke. Goodall.99 ISBN 0 8624 1854 2.95 ISBN 0 5216 2709 5. An Analysis of the Position and Status of Sound Ratio in Contemporary Society. 1947-1977.  pp. Authenticity. Richard. Fireside. Kraftwerk: I was a Robot. Perry. 177. Edited by Terry Rawlings. Flowers in the Dustbin: The Rise of Rock and Roll. People Funny Boy: The Genius of Lee 'Scratch' Perry.  pp. Miller. Middleton. Michael.99 ISBN 1 8419 5050 5. 576. Gray. pb £14 ISBN 1 8607 4320 X. and Nation: Musica Tropical in Colombia.99 ISBN 0 4362 8866 4. Rap Music and the Poetics of Identity. 157.  pp. James: Folklore—The Official History. The Mojo Collection: The Greatest Albums of All Time. pb £14. Song and Dance Man III: The Art of Bob Dylan. Payback Press. University of Chicago Press. Identity. Department of Music: Research Reports 23.  pp. Oxford University Press.  pp. Cassell. The Complete David Bowie. Jouni Koskimaki. 323. Bloomsbury. Sanctuary. pb £19.99 ISBN 0 1981 6611 7. Reynolds and Hearn. Jim. Fully revised and expanded fifth edition with a Foreword by John Peel. ed.  pp. pb £ 14. Krims.  pp. Pegg. Race.99 ISBN 1 8419 5067 X. Werner. Downloaded from ywcct. pb £7. Craig. £16. 238. 388. 255. University of Jyvaskyla. Translation by Janet Porteous. James. Westsiders: Stories of the Boys in the Hood. Seppo Niemi and Terhi Nurmesjarvi. £12. Yrjo. A Change is Gonna Come: Music. Rebel. 'Sniffin' Glue: The Essential Punk Accessory. Beatlestudies 2: History. 260. 388. 287. Katz. eds. Nicholas.oxfordjournals. Mojo Books.  pp. pb £11. Potter.  pp. 430.  pp. Talbot. pb £15. Repetitive Beat Generation.  pp. 914. £64. Andy. Mark.  pp. Edwin Mellen. 266. Steve.  pp. Cambridge University Press.95 ISBN 0 8264 5150 0. Reading Pop: Approaches to Textual Analysis in Popular Music. pb £20 ISBN 1 8607 4275 0. pb £14. Heinonen. pb £14.  pp. Mojo Books. Race and the Soul of America. 415.org at University of Adelaide on November 8.134 POPULAR MUSIC Flur.  pp. Shaw. Peter. David. 345. Seeker and Warburg.95 ISBN 0 7734 7540 0. Andrew Loog. pb £10 ISBN 0 8624 1930 1.95 ISBN 19031 1140 4. Cambridge University Press.99 ISBN 0 5216 3447 4.
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