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 Genre: The Sounds of Britpop

Analysing Genre: The Sounds of Britpop

Analysing genre: The sounds of britpop

In this chapter we apply the tools developed in the previous chapters to three songs to explore the way that genres of music can have shared features and therefore communicate the same discourses. The songs we use for the analysis were part of the Britpop scene in the UK in the 1990s. This exercise allows us to assess whether or not these songs have anything in common. Often the music press speak of a collection of artists as being of a particular genre of music or a scene. It has been pointed out by a number of theorists (e.g., Frith, 1996) that such categories are generally rather vague and perhaps more than anything serve ...

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