MUS 210 Journal Week 4


13 July 2009


Classic Albums: A Night at the Opera, Queen


Authenticity, Camp & Irony



14 July 2009


1980s New Wave  (late 1970s-early 1980s)


Talking Heads & David Byrne (band member)

·         Early (“Psycho Killer,” 1977) rec. 1978 – nervous performance style fits the song text.

·         Twitchy nerd/geek moves absorbed into coherent performance style (“Once in a Lifetime”)

·         Performance style now developed and more radiating confidence (via absorbing African-American musical performance style) “Take Me to the River,” from Stop Making Sense, an excellent concert film)

·         In this interview he suggests that there are buttons are performing musician can press that will trigger predictable emotional reactions in an audience.  Does knowing that and using those tricks take away from the spontaneity or authenticity of the moment?  Levitin/Byrne discussion


Other ‘meta-pop’ daring to make fun of the codes of popular music

·         Devo – not very interested in authenticity (“Whip it” 1980)

·         The B-52’s “Rock Lobster” 1978 (longer version 1979)

·         Blondie, “Heart of Glass” 1979, an anti-love song; performance style bordering on indifference


The authenticity of irony?

(I know these musical codes and am manipulating you with them; you these musical codes and enjoy being manipulated by them)



Virtuosity (and non-virtuosity) as a signifier of authenticity

Punk: non-virtuosity = authentic

Metal: virtuosity = authentic

Metallica, “Hit the Lights” Kill ‘Em All, 1983 (initially titled Metal up Your Ass)

Grunge: non-virtuosity = authentic

Nirvana, “In Bloom” Nevermind, 1991; non-virtuouso solo at 2:50


Group discussions


15 July 2009


Michael Jackson, “Beat It”, Thriller 1983 (Garofalo p. 331)

“Thriller” Thriller


Toto example, “Hold the Line,” Toto IV, 1982


Bruce Springsteen, “Born in the U.S.A.” 1984  (Garofalo p. 338)



16 July 2009


New Wave of British Heavy Metal

but first –  the Old Wave of British Heavy Metal

Black Sabbath, “ParanoidParanoid, 1970


Deep Purple, “Smoke on the Water” (Garofalo p. 266)


Van Halen, “Jump” (Garofalo p. 368)

Metallica, “… And Justice for All” … And Justice for All  (Garofalo p.372) (singing after 2:15)

The Shortest Straw” best lyric construction (in my opinion)




David Meckler


Histories of Popular Music and Rock (MUS 210) main webpage


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