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16 February 2011

Comments

Stephen

In our Pop Music this summer you said that you were skeptical about the ability of music to be a significant force for change in the world anymore. I don't remember if you got into too many details as to why you think that is so, but I wonder if part of it might be due to (for lack of a better word) the "individualization" of music. In movements like punk it is obvious that a culture develops around the music. Individuals come to wholly define their identity by their membership in the culture. You don't just listen to punk, you are a punk.

By contrast, we seemed to have shifted to music as consumption. Most of the music that is listened to today is on iPods. We shuffle around the hit singles from every genre imaginable. Hard to build a strong culture around that.

Back to Gaga - she seems to be making a concerted effort to build a strong culture around her music, "the little monsters." I'm curious what you think of this development? The little monsters seem to have made some impact on the congressional debate around "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

One last note, it's interesting to me that prior cultural revolutions based around music culture (e.g. punk) were egalitarian. Could this coalescence around the singular figure of Gaga be a hindrance to the movement's impact?

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