What does the music of pop singers like Beyonce, Rihanna, Meghan Trainor, and Lana del Rey have to say about our modern conception of the self? What does it have to say about our relationship to power in society? To explore this, UNCC professor Dr. Robin James looks in part at the sonic structure of the music. It turns out, pop music today has more to say than we thought.
“In general,” she says on her website. “I use the compositional structure and critical (well, and sometimes, uncritical) reception of songs as a lens to focus my philosophical research in gender, race, and politics. Because songs are much smaller and easily comprehendible than social relations, understanding how these songs work helps us better understand how society works.”
Dr. James’s latest book, Resilience and Melancholy, explores how contemporary sonic structure can be used to reinforce and strengthen existing societal power systems despite a surface message to the contrary (resilience) or subvert those power systems by challenging our expectations (melancholy).
Don’t worry. Wednesday, March 22nd, at 6:00pm on Charlotte Community Radio, my Southern Wonder guest is Dr. James who will walk us through these ideas using examples from songs you’ve probably heard on Top 40 radio. She’ll hold our hands as we wade into a theoretical wonderland, and hopefully we’ll all come away with a new way to look at the kind of music we hear every day.
Bring your questions to Mixlr and tune in for another engaging LIVE conversation on Southern Wonder.
Southern Wonder, hosted by Allison Braden airs LIVE every Wednesday from 6:00pm to 7:00pm, celebrating open-mindedness and the spirit of asking why via CharlotteCommunityRadio.org, CLTCRadio.org or Mixlr.com/CLTCRadio where you can chat with our hosts and guests alike. Keep up with all things Southern Wonder on Twitter and Facebook.