NO101 Chapter Notes -The Guess Who, Anti-Americanism, Collective Identity

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16 Nov 2012
NO101- Tutorial November 14, 2012
American Woman- The Guess Who
- Iconic Canadian song even 40 years later
- Describes the USA in negative light
o Las Vegas lights
o Vietnam war draft
- A drive for Canadianness- remove American influence/ control
- Canada is a male overpowered by the female USA (odd)
- Music is a multi-national commodity
- There is a growing music production scene in Canada
- Canadian culture defined by who we aren’t *American
- The song is key because there is nothing like this (iconic, political) at the time and even still
- Nationalism around “American Woman” time
o Lyrics can be interpreted (simple enough they can have many meanings)
- Is the song relevant today?
o Collective identity
o Continued Anti- Americanism
o Canadian culture rejects USA (true or untrue?)
- Song creates the “Other” in the Americans
- Music today is based on beats not lyrics (clubs, etc don’t play music with words very often)
- Against mainstream music (smaller band singing about meaningful things)
o Sells to Canadian audience which is rare (better/ easier to make it big in USA- artists constantly moving
to LA to find fame- selling out?)
Guess Who stayed in Canada
- Canadian artists use distinctly Canadian things in their music to distinguish from Americans- towns,
descriptions, brands (beaver,etc)
- Kanye West
- Dixie Chicks
- Lupe Fiasco
- K’naan *
- Tragically Hip *
o Artists with a political message in their songs (*= Canadian)
Do people want political music?
Consumer based
Sell products and make sponsors happy but also sell what people want to listen to
(please the audience)
Desire to be entertained and not think
Culture isn’t something we question
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