What defines pop music? Why do we consider some styles as easier listening than others? Arranged in three parts: Aesthetics and Authenticity - Groove, Sampling and Industry - Subjectivity, Ethnicity and Politics, this collection of essays by a group of international scholars deals with these questions in diverse ways. This volume prepares the reader for the debates around pop's intricate historical, aesthetic and cultural roots. The intellectual perspectives on offer present the interdisciplinary aspects of studying music and, spanning more than twenty-five years, these essays form a snapshot of some of the authorial voices that have shaped the specific subject matter of pop criticism within the broader field of popular music studies. A common thread running through these essays is the topic of interpretation and its relation to conceptions of musicality, subjectivity and aesthetics. The principle aim of this collection is to demonstrate that pop music needs to be evaluated on its own terms within the cultural contexts that make it meaningful.
Contents: Introduction; Part I Aesthetics and Authenticity: 'Sing it for me': posthuman ventriloquism in recent popular music, Joseph Auner; Art versus technology: the strange case of popular music, Simon Frith; Pearls and swine: the intellectuals and the mass media, Simon Frith and Jon Savage; Remodeling Britney Spears: matters of intoxication and mediation, Stan Hawkins and John Richardson; The production of success: an anti-musicology of the pop song, Antoine Hennion; In excess? Body genres, 'bad' music, and the judgment of audiences, Leslie M. Meier; Hits and misses: crafting a pop single for the top-40 market in the 1960s, Robert Toft. Part II Groove, Sampling and Production: Frank Sinatra: the television years - 1950-1960, Albert Auster; Mediating music: materiality and silence in Madonna's Don't Tell Me, Anne Danielsen and Arnt MaasÃ¸; Sample and hold: pop music in the digital age of reproduction, Andrew Goodwin; 'Caught in a whirlpool of aching sound': the production of dance music in Britain in the 1920s, Mark Hustwitt; Spice world: constructing femininity the popular way, Dafna Lemish; Modelling the groove: conceptual structure and popular music, Lawrence M. Zbikowski. Part III Subjectivity, Ethnicity and Politics: Like a virgin-mother? Materialism and maternalism in the songs of Madonna, Barbara Bradby; 'That ill, tight sound': telepresence and biopolitics in post-Timbaland rap production, Dale Chapman; Sex, pulp and critique, Eric F. Clarke and Nicola Dibben; Pop and the nation-state: towards a theorisation, Martin Cloonan; Believe? Vocoders, digitalized female identity and camp, Kay Dickinson; Music and Canadian nationhood post 9/11: an analysis of Music Without Borders: Live, Susan Fast and Karen Pegley; Black pop songwriting 1963-1966: an analysis of US top 40 hits by Cooke, Mayfield, Stevenson, Robinson, and Holland-Dozier-Holland, Jon Fitzgerald; 'A fifth of Beethoven': disco, classical music, and the politics of inclusion, Ken McLeod; 'The di