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MUAR 392 Lecture Notes May 23.docx

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McGill University
Music-Arts Faculty
MUAR 392
Melvin Backstrom

MUAR 392 Lecture Notes May 23 Circle Sky from film Head (1968) featuring the didn‟t toll the bell: „Oh, no! Johnny Monkees Rotten likes me! I‟m done for! I can‟t take it anymore!” Lydon said, laughing. “Disco Sucks” (1979) by D.O.A “You know, what I loved about her was that crossover thing. She broke out of Punk all the genres and the labels and the  Discours for simplicity, authenticity, anti- categories and she opened up the world there for many kinds. Some of those mainstream/anti-commercialism (See songs gave women a sense of Lester Bangs article Chapter 50 of individuality. They learned to stand up reader) for themselves. Gays loved her, the  A musical alternative to 1960s musical dance crowds loved her, singer- alternative: rebellion against the ealier songwriters loved her. Very early dance rebellion seen to have “sold-out,” – precursor, really, to rave and all of become overly commercialized and that. I Feel Love – wonderful things. complex. Instead: “Three chords and That was the stuff I was enjoying.” From the Truth” – but how does musical Montreal Gazette, May 17, 2012 simplicity connect to epistemology? o Perhaps not so different as  Looked to simplicity of earlier rock & roll partisans than claimed? as locus of more authentic musical spirit o A dialectic of punk and disco? – how is this ironic? What would this mean?  Contraditctions: purportedly against commercial fashion yet a fashion system Velvet Underground “Heroin” (1966/67) itself; seen by some as espousing progressive politics yet some punks  Recorded in 1966: Released in 1967 used fascist/Nazi imagery and  Produced by Pop visual artist Andy associated with racist “skinhead” Warhol movement; “I don‟t give a fuck!” attitude  Key influence on punk: how does this yet claiming standpoint of bearers of song exemplify Bangs‟ ideals? authenticity and realism  Only two chords: I-IV  Explicity opposed to commercialism of  First line: “I don‟t know/Just where I‟m disco, but how different are they? going” Chapter 62 Punk o How might this relate to music?  Viola Drone: artful simplicity, anti- virtuosic; minimalism influence of La  What according to Wolcott is the Monte Young and Terry Riley “conversative impulse” of punk?  How is “conservative” here understood?  Dynamic and timbral crescendo  Ironic given seeming sonic, sartorial New York Dolls “Personality Crisis” (1973) radicalism of punks?  “[A]meliorating the post 60s hangover by  Power chord based – three chords: I-IV- giving us a sense of detachment”? How V is such detachment conveyed?  Expression of energy more important than technical ability Virulent antagonism towards disco yet...  Fashion o Shows links between glam rock  During an interview to promote the new and punk PiL album, This Is PiL, John Lydon (Johnny Rotten) reacted to Donna The Ramones: First punk band? Summer‟s death on Thursday, with typically irreverent humour but generous  Formed in 1974 in New York City spirit. “I was asked just recently about records I love, and there‟s more than a few by Donna Summer in there. I hope I  Began playing regularly at Bowery bar  Hardcore melded progressive politics of CBGB (Country, Bluegrass, and Bluess) some English punk rockers (notably the in 1975 Clash) with noice, confrontational  Loud distorted guitar using power performance art aspects of the avant- chords, fast tempos (songs always less garde than 3 min. Long), catchy pop melodies,  Importance of D.I.Y (Do It Yourself) lack of syncopation (denial of R&B aesthetic: Strong antipathy towards influences)? major labels  Toured Europe with Talking Heads in  Less glamorous than English punk, not 1975, extremely influential on British as “pop” as older punk punk rock  What is song‟s message?  “I Wanna Be Sedated” (1978  Is there contradiction between political o How could we describe this radicalism and musical conservatism? music? Their image? How might this relate to Adorno- Benjamin debate? Chapter 63 Sex Pistols Judt “The New Realism”  Creation of businessman Malcolm McLaren who had previously worked  Growing problems with post-WWII with New York Dolls, saw group as welfare state consensus promotion for his London Boutique  Aging baby boomers, less workers, increase in women‟s participation in Sex that specialized in punk and S&M clothin, ironic given punk claim work force causes decline in birth rate, to anti-commercialist authenticity longer life spans leading to greater pension and health care costs  „Rock is fundamentally a young  Rise in government debt as people‟s music, right? And a lot of kids feel cheated. They feel that the governments continue to expand welfare state but reach practical limit of raising m
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