Bad Music: The Music We Love to Hate

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Christopher J. Washburne, Maiken Derno
Routledge, Jan 11, 2013 - Music - 288 pages
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Why are some popular musical forms and performers universally reviled by critics and ignored by scholars-despite enjoying large-scale popularity?  How has the notion of what makes "good" or "bad" music changed over the years-and what does this tell us about the writers who have assigned these tags to different musical genres?  Many composers that are today part of the classical "canon" were greeted initially by bad reviews.  Similarly, jazz, country, and pop musics were all once rejected as "bad" by the academy that now has courses on these and many other types of music. This book addresses why this is so through a series of essays on different musical forms and performers. It looks at alternate ways of judging musical performance beyond the critical/academic nexus, and suggests new paths to follow in understanding what makes some music "popular" even if it is judged to be "bad." For anyone who has ever secretly enjoyed ABBA, Kenny G, or disco, Bad Music will be a guilty pleasure!
 

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Contents

What is Bad Music?
15
Values Identity Politics
37
White Trash Alchemies of the Abject Sublime Country as Bad Music
39
Pop Music Racial Imagination and the Sounds of Cheese Notes on Losers Lounge
62
Bad World Music
83
Theorizing the Musically Abject
104
Canonizing the Popular Discovering the Mundane
121
Does Kenny G Play Bad Jazz? A Case Study
123
Noise Malfunction and Discourses of InAuthenticity
233
Extreme Noise Terror Punk Rock and the Aesthetics of Badness
235
Glitch The Beauty of Malfunction
257
Glitches Bugs and Hisses The Degeneration of Musical Recordings and the Contemporary Musical Work
275
Rock Critics Need Bad Music
294
Much Too Loud and Not Loud Enough Issues Involving the Reception of Staged Rock Musicals
311
Historical Afterthought
331
Trivial Music Trivialmusik Preface and Trivial Music and Aesthetic Judgment
333

The Flight from Banality
148
The Good The Bad and The Folk
173
Film Music and the Redemption of the Mundane
190
A Moment Like This American Idol and Narratives of Meritocracy
212
Contributors
363
Index
367
Copyright

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About the author (2013)

Chris Washburne is an Assistant Professor in the Music Department at Columbia University. He is also a trombonist who has played with major bands led by Tito Puente and Eddie Palmieri, and leads his own Latin-jazz group.
Maiken Derno holds a Post-Doctoral Fellowship in the Dept of Comparative Literature at the U of Copenhagen, and was a Fulbright Scholar at Columbia U from 1997-98. She also serves as an editor for Brondum Art Publishers, Copenhagen. They reside in New York City.

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