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.

Visual Composition: Typeface and Colour

Visual composition: Typeface and colour

The previous chapter provided a set of tools to guide analysis of a range of features that appear on record sleeves allowing us to reveal how discourses are realised, how bands communicate their identities visually. Emphasis was on identifying the choices available to designers and on the art of description. The chapter dealt with the meaning of objects, postures, gaze, social distance, settings and modalities. The current chapter deals specifically with two further features of record sleeves and promotional material that are crucial for meaning making: colour and typeface. Why do some bands use rich, saturated colours on their record sleeves and others use more muted colours? Why do some bands use thick angular fonts for ...

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