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.

Analysing Lyrics: Values, Participants, Agency

Analysing lyrics: Values, participants, agency

This chapter deals with the discourses communicated by song lyrics. As with the visual analysis in the previous chapters the aim is to provide a systematic way to carry out analysis, asking specific questions of the semiotic choices made by the artists. As with the record sleeves, lyrics are one way an artist tells us how to listen to them, how to put meanings into their music. Lyrics are not only about artists telling stories but also communicating discourses about their identity. However banal lyrics might seem, as in the case of love songs, they can reveal much about cultural discourses of a specific time alongside which an artist may want to align themselves. Songs from ...

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