US Youth Films and Popular Music: Identity, Genre, and Musical Agency, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

US Youth Films and Popular Music

Identity, Genre, and Musical Agency, 1st Edition

By Tim McNelis


186 pages

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Paperback: 9780367874933
pub: 2020-03-31
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This book brings theory from popular music studies to an examination of identity and agency in youth films while building on, and complementing, film studies literature concerned with genre, identity, and representation. McNelis includes case studies of Hollywood and independent US youth films that have had commercial and/or critical success to illustrate how films draw on specific discourses surrounding popular music genres to convey ideas about gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality, and other aspects of identity. He develops the concept of ‘musical agency’, a term he uses to discuss the relationship between film music and character agency, also examining the music characters listen to and discuss, as well as musical performances by the characters themselves

Table of Contents

Introduction: Youth Films, Identity, and Musical Agency

Part I: She’s a Rebel?: Girls, Guitars, and Agency


1. The Girl Can’t Have It: Restricted Musical Agency in 10 Things I Hate About You and Love Don’t Cost a Thing

2. Queer Agency and Reappropriation of the "Technophallus" in All Over Me

3. Silent Punk and Audible Folk: Musical Sleight-of-Hand in Juno

Part II: Listening to the Other: Cultural Borrowing and Critical Reflection


4. Consumption, Authenticity, and Identity Experimentation in Ghost World

5. "I didn’t move to Bosnia": Critical Cultural Immersion in Save the Last Dance

6. Cheerleaders, Bullies, and Nerds: Intersections of White Stereotypes and Black Music in Bring it On, Mean Creek, and Napoleon Dynamite

Part III: Unheard Ethnicities: Musical Construction of Ethnic Identity and Agency


7. ‘Old World’ Ethnicity, Hybrid Identity, and ‘New World’ Agency in Real Women Have Curves

8. "Neighbourhood is sure changing, isn’t it?": Evolving Traditions and Complex Identities in Quinceañera

9. Reimagining the All-American Teenager: Inaudible Ethnicity and Agency from the Margins in Better Luck Tomorrow

Conclusion: The Continuing Relevance of Film Music to Identity and Agency

About the Author

Tim McNelis is University Teacher in the Communication and Media Department at the University of Liverpool, UK

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
MUSIC / General
PERFORMING ARTS / Film & Video / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Media Studies