Popular music is far more than just songs we listen to; its meanings are also in album covers, lyrics, subcultures, voices and video soundscapes. Like language these elements can be used to communicate complex cultural ideas, values, concepts and identities.

Analysing Popular Music is a lively look at the semiotic resources found in the sounds, visuals and words that comprise the ‘code book’ of popular music. It explains exactly how popular music comes to mean so much. Packed with examples, exercises and a glossary, this book provides the reader with the knowledge and skills they need to carry out their own analyses of songs, soundtracks, lyrics and album covers.

Written for students with no prior musical knowledge, Analysing Popular Music is the perfect toolkit for students in sociology, media and communication studies to analyze, understand, and celebrate, popular music.



You switch on the TV. It is a music show. A band is introduced as the latest thing on the indie scene. Yet when the camera cuts to them you see two middle-aged women playing acoustic guitars. Strumming gently they start to sing about lost summer's days and world peace. This must be a joke. This is not indie music. The look, the instruments, the sound and the words are not how they should be. An indie band should not look like this. Their music should be more ‘raw’, ‘darker’ and troubled, as should their lyrics. In terms of attitude they should be more intense and yet indifferent at the same time, but certainly not brightly warm and eager. The next act to be ...

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