Prince: The Making of a Pop Music Phenomenon

Prince: The Making of a Pop Music Phenomenon

Prince: The Making of a Pop Music Phenomenon

Prince: The Making of a Pop Music Phenomenon

Synopsis

The career of the prolific pop artist Prince has become inextricably intertwined with the history of popular music since the late 1970s. This multi-instrumental icon, who remains one of the highest-grossing live performers in America, has been called a genius for his musicianship, composition and incredible performances. But Prince holds iconic status for more than his music. Best known for his racial blurring and extravagant sexual persona, Prince's music and visual iconography has always chimed with the ambiguity of subjectivity at any given moment. 'Prince' the sign offers a space for fans to evaluate and reconfigure their attitudes towards their own identities, and towards their position as subjects within the socio-cultural sphere. This much-needed interdisciplinary analysis is the first of its kind to examine critically Prince's popular music, performances, sounds, lyrics and the plethora of accompanying visual material such as album covers, posters, fashions, promotional videos and feature films. Specifically, the book explores how and why he has played such a profoundly meaningful and significant role in his fans' lives.

Excerpt

The upheaval that occurred in musicology during the last two decades of the twentieth century has created a new urgency for the study of popular music alongside the development of new critical and theoretical models. A relativistic outlook has replaced the universal perspective of modernism (the international ambitions of the 12-note style); the grand narrative of the evolution and dissolution of tonality has been challenged, and emphasis has shifted to cultural context, reception and subject position. Together, these have conspired to eat away at the status of canonical composers and categories of high and low in music. A need has arisen, also, to recognize and address the emergence of crossovers, mixed and new genres, to engage in debates concerning the vexed problem of what constitutes authenticity in music and to offer a critique of musical practice as the product of free, individual expression.

Popular musicology is now a vital and exciting area of scholarship, and the Ashgate Popular and Folk Music Series presents some of the best research in the field. Authors are concerned with locating musical practices, values and meanings in cultural context, and draw upon methodologies and theories developed in cultural studies, semiotics, poststructuralism, psychology and sociology. The series focuses on popular musics of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. It is designed to embrace the world’s popular musics from Acid Jazz to Zydeco, whether high tech or low tech, commercial or non-commercial, contemporary or traditional.

Professor Derek B. Scott Professor of Critical Musicology University of Leeds . . .

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