1st Edition

One-Track Mind Capitalism, Technology, and the Art of the Pop Song

Edited By Asif Siddiqi Copyright 2023
    308 Pages 17 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    308 Pages 17 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The song remains the most basic unit of modern pop music. Shaped into being by historical forces—cultural, aesthetic, and technical—the song provides both performer and audience with a world marked off by a short, discrete, and temporally demarcated experience. One-Track Mind: Capitalism, Technology, and the Art of the Pop Song brings together 16 writers to weigh in on 16 iconic tracks from the history of modern popular music. Arranged chronologically in order of release of the tracks, and spanning nearly five decades, these essays zigzag across the cultural landscape to present one possible history of pop music. There are detours through psychedelic rock, Afro-pop, Latin pop, glam rock, heavy metal, punk, postpunk, adult contemporary rock, techno, hip-hop, and electro-pop here. More than just deep histories of individual songs, these essays all expand far beyond the track itself to offer exciting and often counterintuitive histories of transformative moments in popular culture. Collectively, they show the undiminished power of the individual pop song, both as distillations of important flashpoints and, in their afterlives, as ghostly echoes that persist undiminished but transform for succeeding generations. Capitalism and its principal good, capital, help us frame these stories, a fact that should surprise no one given the inextricable relationship between art and capitalism established in the twentieth century. At the root, readers will find here a history of pop with unexpected plot twists, colorful protagonists, and fitting denouements.

    One-Track Mind: An Introduction

    Asif Siddiqi 

    1. Le Grand Kallé and African Jazz"Indépendance Cha Cha" (1960)
    2. Simon Zagorski-Thomas

    3. Gerald Wilson"Viva Tirado" (1962)
    4. Oliver Wang

    5. Moby Grape "Omaha" (1967)
    6. Susan Schmidt Horning

    7. Led Zeppelin"Immigrant Song" (1970)
    8. Esther Liberman Cuenca

    9. David Bowie"Rebel Rebel" (1974)
    10. Glenn Hendler

    11. Donna Summer"I Feel Love" (1977)
    12. Simon Reynolds

    13. X-Ray Spex"Oh Bondage Up Yours!" (1977)
    14. Helen Reddington

    15. Prince"When You Were Mine" (1980)
    16. Scott Poulson-Bryant

    17. Neil Young"Transformer Man" (1982)
    18. George Plasketes

    19. The Replacements"Unsatisfied" (1984)
    20. Gina Arnold

    21. NWA"F- Tha Police (1988)
    22. Austin McCoy

    23. Salt-N-Pepa"Shoop" (1993)
    24. Amy Coddington

    25. Hanson"MmmBop" (1997)
    26. Louie Dean Valencia

    27. Elton John"Candle in the Wind 1997" (1997)
    28. Christine Caccipuoti

    29. LCD Soundsystem"All My Friends" (2007)
    30. Gabrielle Cornish

    31. MIA"Paper Planes" (2007)

             Asif Siddiqi


    Asif Siddiqi is Professor of History at Fordham University in New York and specializes in the history of technology, Soviet history, and global histories of science. He has held visiting positions at Harvard University, MIT, Caltech, and the Smithsonian Institution. He received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2016 and was a visiting scholar at Princeton University’s Davis Center for Historical Studies in 2021–22.