17 Dec 2013

Pop, Power & the Vocal-Subject: NEW POSTS COMING SOON

I’ve been putting all my blogging on hold this Autumn, in order to complete what has become a rather monumental project of music writing which I’m provisionally titling Pop, Power & the Vocal-Subject. This will initially be a series of essay-chapters outlining something like a systematic analytical approach to pop music, in both recorded and live forms, which veers fairly erratically between musicology, pop criticism, cultural studies and phenomenology. The aim of this approach is, in turn, to inform analyses, critiques and reviews of pop music (of any style or genre) which aim to discuss the political (critical, emancipatory, utopian) potential of the music as music (i.e. bearing sonic elements in mind, rather than just lyrics, or a collection of ‘extramusical’ discourses). The project includes a large number of attempts at such an analysis, of music ranging from Beyoncé, Justin Timberlake and Donna Summer, via Burial, Björk and the Knife, to the Smiths and Nirvana.

I hope to format the essays into a PDF e-book thing which can be downloaded, as well as to make Soundcloud podcasts of chapters with musical examples, in the style of Rouge’s Foam.

I hope that, as a project, it won’t be too restrictively academic, but should nevertheless stand as my proposition for an informed, imaginative music criticism that is neither reduced to a purely subjective or coldly consumerist assessment of value, nor a quixotic academic search for the empirical ‘truth’ of a particular musical work, or of ‘music as such’. Most of all though, it’s been an opportunity to siphon off some of the more volatile and distracting (music-related) ideas from my brain and arrange them into something approaching coherence. With any luck, I’ll be back to posting more frequently by the end of January 2014.