There is little question about the incredible power of Bruce Springsteen's work as a particularly transformative art, as a lyrical and musical fusion that never shies away from sifting through the rubble of human conflict. As Rolling Stone magazine's Parke Puterbaugh observes, Springsteen 'is a peerless songwriter and consummate artist whose every painstakingly crafted album serves as an impassioned and literate pulse taking of a generation's fortunes. He is the foremost live performer in the history of rock and roll, a self-described prisoner of the music he loves, for whom every show is played as if it might be his last.' In recent decades, Puterbaugh adds, 'Springsteen's music developed a conscience that didn't ignore the darkening of the runaway American Dream as the country greedily blundered its way through the 1980s' and into the sociocultural detritus of a new century paralysed by isolation and uncertainty. Bruce Springsteen, Cultural Studies, and the Runaway American Dream reflects the significant critical interest in understanding Springsteen's resounding impact upon the ways in which we think and feel about politics, religion, gender, and the pursuit of the American Dream. By assembling a host of essays that engage in interdisciplinary commentary regarding one of Western culture's most enduring artistic and socially radicalizing phenomena, this book offers a cohesive, intellectual, and often entertaining introduction to the many ways in which Springsteen continues to impact our lives by challenging our minds through his lyrics and music.
'The books’ strength lies [in the] diversity of vantage points… The reader who consumes the entire interdisciplinary book stands to learn much about the musician, his work and how researchers from many corners of the academy contribute to the big tent of popular music studies.' Notes '… unarguably a significant addition to the body of writings about Springsteen.' IASPM@Journal '… this collection is an important work as it both raises the stock and validity of one of the greatest musical icons of the current time and contends with some of the central and key questions of the academic study of popular music in general, the power of music to affect change in society and to strengthen the connection and bonds between people across racial and gender boundaries … Overall, a fascinating book for fans of the Boss, academics and students of Popular Music alike'. Popular Music
Popular musicology embraces the field of musicological study that engages with popular forms of music, especially music associated with commerce, entertainment and leisure activities. The Ashgate Popular and Folk Music Series aims to present the best research in this field. Authors are concerned with criticism and analysis of the music itself, as well as locating musical practices, values and meanings in cultural context. The focus of the series is on popular music of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, with a remit to encompass the entirety of the world’s popular music.
Critical and analytical tools employed in the study of popular music are being continually developed and refined in the twenty-first century. Perspectives on the transcultural and intercultural uses of popular music have enriched understanding of social context, reception and subject position. Popular genres as distinct as reggae, township, bhangra, and flamenco are features of a shrinking, transnational world. The series recognizes and addresses the emergence of mixed genres and new global fusions, and utilizes a wide range of theoretical models drawn from anthropology, sociology, psychoanalysis, media studies, semiotics, postcolonial studies, feminism, gender studies and queer studies.