Category Archives: Popular Music

Why we no longer engage with popular music

During the second half of the twentieth century popular music functioned as a major public domain which gathered young people in a cultural field of intensity – a realm of collective excitement and passionate engagement.  Music as social life offered … Continue reading

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The pleasures of cataloguing in the list songs of Cole Porter and Stephen Sondheim

The obituaries for Stephen Sondheim (1930-2021) amounted to a late tribute to the Broadway integrated musical, a theater genre and cultural industry that lasted for thirty years, from Oklahoma! (1943) to Company (1970) and Follies (1971).  There are many elements … Continue reading

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Listening to classical cover versions

I read with special interest an interview that Benjamin Grosvenor gave recently on playing the Liszt sonata.  Instead of analyzing the work itself or placing it in the history of classical music, the 28-year-old pianist compared his recent recording to … Continue reading

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All the world’s a studio

The song produced by Phil Spector is the pop song as authentic concoction. It is not emotional or sincere, it does not represent a slice of life, as did its immediate predecessors, the songs by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. … Continue reading

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“Looking for the perfect beat”: Great pop songs since the 1950s

What is pop music and what makes it irresistible?  One way to find out is to list irresistible songs.  All fans of pop music make lists so here is my personal anthology of great Pop songs. 13 May 2020   … Continue reading

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Recent popular songs referencing classical music

[In this post I am happy and proud to host Erin Mays, a former student of mine and very successful professional in software product management, who has an admirable command of music as a performer, listener, thinker, administrator, even fundraiser.  Given … Continue reading

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