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Pop Music and the Press


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Table of Contents

AcknowledgmentsThe Intro: Popular Music, Media, and the Written Word - Steve JonesPart I: Institutions and History1. Re-Viewing Rock Writing: Narratives of Popular Music Criticism - Steve Jones and Kevin Featherly2. Brit Crit: Turning Points in British Rock Criticism, 1960-1990 - Gestur Gudmundsson, Ulf Lindberg, Morten Michelsen, and Hans Weisethaunet3. Word Power: A Brief, Highly Opinionated History of Hip-Hop Journalism - Jeff Chang4. Critical Senility vs. Overcomprehension: Rock Criticism and the Lesson of the Avant-Garde - Robert B. RayPart II: Discourses5. Consumers' Guides: The Political Economy of the Music Press and the Democracy of Critical Discourse - Mark Fenster6. Between Rock and a Hard Place: Gender and Rock Criticism - Kembrew McLeod7. Exclusive! The British Press and Popular Music: The Story So Far. . . - Martin Cloonan8. Abandoning the Absolute: Transcendence and Gender in Popular Music Discourse - Holly Kruse9. The Politics and History of Hip-Hop Journalism - Kembrew McLeodPart III: Case Studies10. Jewel Case: Pop Stars, Poets, and the Press - Thomas Swiss11. Taking Country Music Seriously: Coverage of the 1990s Boom - Joli Jensen12. Sweet Nothings: Presentation of Women Musicians in Pop Journalism - Brenda Johnson-Grau13. "The Day the Music Died"-Again: Newspaper Coverage of the Deaths of Popular Musicians - Sharon R. Mazzarella and Timothy M. MatyjewiczCoda14. Fragments of a Sociology of Rock Criticism - Simon FrithThe Outro - Chris NelsonAbout the ContributorsIndex

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Seeing pop music journalism as a form of cultural criticism

About the Author

STEVE JONES is Professor of Communication at the University of Illinois, Chicago. Among his books are CyberSociety: Computer-Mediated Communication and Community (ed.) and Rock Formation: Popular Music, Technology, and Mass Communication.


"As one of the gatekeepers, I stopped reading reviews and music criticism in the press nearly ten years ago. Cold Turkey. Steve Jones's book offers the history and perspective to show why I was both right and wrong to do so." --Paul Marszalek, Vice President/Music Programming, VH-1 "Pop Music and the Press will be a necessary addition to the collection of anyone interested in the study of popular music. These essays, written from a variety of academic disciplines and perspectives, explore and even sometimes capture the variability, the passion, and the frustration of writing and reading music journalism. This book really does add something to the mix that is popular music studies." --Lawrence Grossberg, Morris Davis Distinguished Professor of Communication Studies and Cultural Studies, University of North Carolina "Warning, my people (that is to say, rock and rap critics): read these pages and find yourselves subject to all-too-partial observation, someone else's critical agenda, and a bit of misplaced envy. Seem familiar? You've been doing it to musicians for years. And now the tables are turned..." --Eric Weisbard, Experience Music Project "A compilation of essays from scholars and professional music critics, this is a highly academic look at the practice of music criticism, the craft's brief history, and the trends that shape the opinions of American and British music writers. While the history lesson and excerpts by highly regarded protocritics like Lester Bangs and Robert Christgau are enjoyable, the book truly shines when it examines ongoing industry issues such as giving equal opportunity to women musicians and how to cover properly the death of a musical legend. Editor Jones (communications, Univ. of Illinois, Chicago) and his contributors aren't afraid to criticize the critics, but in doing so they sometimes sink to the methods they're denouncing. Missing are in-depth meditations on the importance of underground music fanzines and the sudden rise of Internet rock criticism. Overall, however, this book provides a thought-provoking and inspiring look at the practice of music criticism." --Library Journal "This fascinating new volume...fill[s] a significant gap in popular music scholarship...the book is an essential text for any scholar of popular music...a major contribution to the academic literature on popular music in part because it provides a foundation, heretofore absent, for future investigations of the world of music journalism and the cultural significance of the same." --The Journal of Communication

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