cover of book

Sounding Out Pop: Analytical Essays in Popular Music
by John Covach and Mark Spicer
University of Michigan Press, 2010
Cloth: 978-0-472-11505-1 | Paper: 978-0-472-03400-0
Library of Congress Classification ML3470.S635 2010
Dewey Decimal Classification 781.64


"A variety of approaches are brought to bear on fascinating repertoire, but with the underlying aim of better understanding some brilliant music. There’s nothing more exciting in music writing than something which entices you to listen to what’s familiar to you in a new way, and this collection brings such excitement in abundance."
---Allan Moore, author of Jethro Tull: Aqualung and Rock: The Primary Text

"These essays bring together a remarkable range of tools and perspectives to such diverse topics and contexts as the behind-the-scenes collaborations of composers, performers, arrangers, producers and engineers; pop culture; narratology; and race, politics and gender. The reader continuously benefits from a complementary lineup of sensitive ears that discover novelty in the familiar, exposing the heart of many rock and pop classics through imaginative and authoritative prose."
---Walter Everett, author of The Foundations of Rock and The Beatles as Musicians

The nine essays in Sounding Out Pop work together to map the myriad styles and genres of the pop-rock universe through detailed case studies that confront the music from a variety of engaging, thought-provoking perspectives---from historical to music-analytic, aesthetic to ethnographic, with several authors drawing liberally from ideas in other disciplines. The range of bands and artists covered is as vast and varied as the more than fifty-year history of pop and rock music, from the Coasters and Roy Orbison to Marvin Gaye, Bob Dylan, Radiohead, Beck, Genesis, Tori Amos, and the Police. Together these diverse essays cover a broad spectrum of studies ideally suited for classroom use and for other readers interested in gaining a deeper knowledge of the way popular music works.

Mark Spicer is Associate Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies in Music at Hunter College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York. His writings have appeared in Contemporary Music Review, Gamut, Music Theory Online, twentieth-century music, and other scholarly journals and essay collections.

John Covach is Professor of Music at the University of Rochester and Professor of Theory at the Eastman School of Music. He is the author of the college textbook What's That Sound? An Introduction to Rock and Its History and the coeditor of Understanding Rock, American Rock and the Classical Music Tradition, and Traditions, Institutions, and American Popular Music.

Cover art credit: © Dickov

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