Bad Music : The Music We Love to Hate book cover
1st Edition

Bad Music
The Music We Love to Hate

ISBN 9780415943666
Published September 26, 2004 by Routledge
390 Pages

FREE Standard Shipping
USD $54.95

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

Why are some popular musical forms and performers universally reviled by critics and ignored by scholars-despite enjoying large-scale popularity?  How has the notion of what makes "good" or "bad" music changed over the years-and what does this tell us about the writers who have assigned these tags to different musical genres?  Many composers that are today part of the classical "canon" were greeted initially by bad reviews.  Similarly, jazz, country, and pop musics were all once rejected as "bad" by the academy that now has courses on these and many other types of music. This book addresses why this is so through a series of essays on different musical forms and performers. It looks at alternate ways of judging musical performance beyond the critical/academic nexus, and suggests new paths to follow in understanding what makes some music "popular" even if it is judged to be "bad." For anyone who has ever secretly enjoyed ABBA, Kenny G, or disco, Bad Music will be a guilty pleasure!

Table of Contents

Editor's Preface [Acknowledgements] Introduction Maiken Derno and Christopher Washburne Chapter 1: What is Bad Music? Simon Frith I. Value & Identity Politics Chapter 2: White Trash Alchemies of the Abject Sublime: Country as Bad Music Aaron A. Fox Chapter 3: Pop Music, Racial Imagination, and the Sounds of Cheese: Notes on Loser's Lounge Jason Lee Oakes Chapter 4: Bad World Music Timothy D. Taylor Chapter 5: Theorizing the Musically Abject Elizabeth Tolbert II. Canonizing the Popular, Discovering the Mundane Chapter 6: Does Kenny G play Bad Jazz?: A Case Study Christopher Washburne Chapter 7: The Flight from Banality James Koehne Chapter 8: The Good, The Bad, and The Folk Richard Carlin Chapter 9: Film, Music, and the Redemption of the Mundane Giorgio Biancorosso Chapter 10: A moment like this: American Idol and narratives of meritocracy Matthew Wheelock Stahl III. Noise, Malfunction, and Discourses of (In)Authenticity Chapter 11: Extreme Noise Terror: Punk Rock and the Aesthetics of Badness Angela Rodel Chapter 12: Glitch - The Beauty of Malfunction Torben Sangild Chapter 13: Glitches, Bugs, and Hisses: the degeneration of musical recordings and the contemporary musical work Eliot Bates Chapter 14: Rock Critics Need Bad Music Deena Weinstein Chapter 15: Much Too Loud and Not Loud Enough: Issues Involving the Reception of Staged Rock Musicals Elizabeth L. Wollman IV. Historical Afterthought Chapter 16: Trivial Music (Trivialmusik): Preface and Trivial Music and aesthetic judgment Carl Dahlhaus, translated by Ulrike Sailer Introductory comments by Walter Frisch List of contributors

View More



Chris Washburne is an Assistant Professor in the Music Department at Columbia University. He is also a trombonist who has played with major bands led by Tito Puente and Eddie Palmieri, and leads his own Latin-jazz group.
Maiken Derno holds a Post-Doctoral Fellowship in the Dept of Comparative Literature at the U of Copenhagen, and was a Fulbright Scholar at Columbia U from 1997-98. She also serves as an editor for Brondum Art Publishers, Copenhagen. They reside in New York City.


"Every now and then a book comes along that is embedded in our collective cultural conscience that we rarely see publicly discussed. Bad Music: The Music We Love to Hate is such a volume." -- Laura J. Gray, University of Wartloo, Notes