The poetics of popular music Analysis One thing that has long been common in all genres of popular music is titling a
song with the name (usually only the first name) of a person. There are even a few
in our coursepack. More often than not, the names used are female and – again,
more often than not – the accompanying lyrics often fall under the broad thematic
category of “love song” though, of course, not always.
Analyze one song not in the coursepack through the lyricist’s/lyricists’
choice of titling it with a name. What are we told about the person
named? What is their relation to the speaker – or are they the speaker?
Unlike songs that use “I/you/he/she/we/us”, what is the effect on the
reader of having a name to connect to what is being discussed? Note:
Don’t just say that this choice of naming makes the song “more
specific” because it may or may not, meaning a name in the title doesn’t
automatically make the lyrics more specific. Why it actually does – or
doesn’t – is much worthier of analysis.
The poetics of popular music Analysis
Quote the lyrics directly, correctly and make clear connections. Also, you must
make direct and clear references to at least one technique used by the lyricist(s)
and its effect on the meaning of the lyrics as a whole.
Your mark will be based on analytical depth, proper formatting
and expression. Responses deserving 4-5 will not only do all of
the above but do it smoothly, clearly and concisely.
Remember: we’re thinking exclusively of the lyrics here. How the song is sung, its
genre, biography of lyricist(s), etc. are irrelevant and should not be considered.
Lastly, as always, choose your words carefully.
The poetics of popular music Analysis The poetics of popular music Analysis
Please include the lyrics in full (which will not be part of your word count) after
• 12-point font; double-spaced
• Correct MLA formatting followed throughout
• To be handed in at the beginning of class on Friday, November 23rd.
Responses received after this time lose 5% per day up to 3 school days;
after that period of time, none will be accepted.
Questions? Come see me after class, during office hours or MIO me anytime.
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