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Settling the Pop Score: Pop Texts and Identity Politics

Author: Stan Hawkins

Publication date: 2002

Ashgate Popular and Folk Music Series

Ashgate Publishing

"The need for a critical approach to evaluating popular music lies at the heart of this book. Hawkins explores the relationships that exist between music, spectatorship and aesthetics through a series of case studies of pop artists from the 1980s and 1990s. Madonna, Morrissey, Annie Lennox, the Pet Shop Boys and Prince represent the diversity of cultures, identities and sexualities that characterised the start of the MTV boom.

Through the interpretation of aspects of the compositional design and musical structures of songs by these pop artists, Hawkins suggests ways in which stylistic and technical elements of the music relate to identity formation and its political motivations. Settling the Pop Score examines the role of irony and empathy, the question of gender, race and sexuality, and the relevance of textual analysis to the study of popular music. Interpreting pop music within the framework of musicology, Hawkins helps us to understand the pleasure so many people derive from these songs."

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