Why do we enjoy pop songs (or not)? Why do they mean so much to us? What do they mean? Is it the sounds, the rhythms, or the words? Is it the singing, the personae of the stars, or the messages and images that the songs conjure up?
Plenty of people have written about pop personalities, the music industry, or about their own tastes, but serious analysis of the songs themselves is still rare. This collection of essays, all previously published in the leading journal Popular Music, brings together key studies by many of the leading scholars studying pop music today. Together they add up to the first substantial anthology to focus on musical "texts." Collecting a wide range of approaches, and looking at songs by performers as varied as Irving Berlin, Hank Williams, Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, Bruce Springsteen, Prince, Peter Gabriel, Jimi Hendrix, John Mellencamp, David Bowie, James Brown, Randy Newman, and John Zorn, the book marks out a distinctive new territory characterized by the fusion of cultural studies and pop musicology.
Reading Pop will be required reading for all serious students and lovers of popular music.
`extensive introduction is particularly valuable ... the paperback price is worth it for the introduction, and the Bjornberg and Tagg essays, alone.'
Allan More, British Journal of Music Education, Vol.18:1, 2001