[Marxism] Post-Modern Music?

steve houston stevehouston3000 at yahoo.com
Thu Aug 2 14:51:49 MDT 2007

No surprise, I completely disagree and think you have
it entirely backwards.  While you aren't talking about
what is currently referred to as "prog" you might as
well be.  

Punk is three chords and the truth.  Has that been
pussified by bands like Green Day?  To some extent,
but think of them as a "gateway" drug.  Punk is an
ethic that having something to say matters more than
"talent" not some ridiculous po-mo existential

And, look, Zappa et al WERE pretentious.  Not because
of how "ambitious" their work is but because they
reflect NOTHING but a bourgeoisie mentality through
and through.  What type of music *other* than punk
reflects any type of social consciousness.  You could
say rap but all of the mainstream rap glorifies status
and power relationships.  Some consciousness there. 
Underground rap?  Sure, it is very similar in
aesthetic to punk.

Explain Operation Ivy using your argument. Or The
Adolescents.  Your only real response would be along
the lines of "Black Flag was on a major label". 

So while I respectfully disagree with you on that
part, of course your analysis of modern pop music
stands.  Hot Topic-ization for the win.
> Message: 1
> Date: Thu, 2 Aug 2007 06:07:45 -0400
> From: "Terrence McGovern" <mcgoverntj at gmail.com>
> Subject: [Marxism] Post-Modern Music?
> To: Marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu
> Message-ID:
<936ab6900708020307p6514ce7wb4fc32dd7db4dbfd at mail.gmail.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1
> [Note: First List Addition Thing Faint Idea of Mode
> of Operation, Apologies]
> ............
> As is often pointed out by many people [etc. etc.
> reference reference], art
> and literature are products of their times first but
> I have not often heard
> (never heard) an analysis of popular music in this
> vein.  For instance,
> after the nineteen seventies, roughly, the
> post-modernistic, late
> imperialist stereotype of thought became obvious in
> most of the artistic and
> scholarly fields. I'm not sure I need to reference
> critiques of the
> pervasive post-modernism in high scholarship. Once
> again however, music
> seems to have escaped this sort of critique. I
> happen to be a lover of music
> and equally a hater of modern music and my hateful
> reflections on the
> capitalist music industry have led me to become
> quite aware of a interesting
> fact.
> [this could take minute to explain]
> The music I enjoy (and naturally demand others to
> enjoy) is Progressive
> Rock, which existed for a limited time from about
> 1967 to 1981, (from
> earliest to latest). I believe a short description
> is in order: Today
> Progressive Rock is called "Classic Rock" more often
> than "Progressive" and
> it is indeed very similar in character to "classical
> music," it is
> essentially a reach for complexity and profoundness,
> instrumentally and
> thematically. For example, quite a few songs are
> over twenty minutes in
> length, solos are regularly given in each song by
> each artist, albums are
> themed and lyric writers are held to considerable
> poetic and literary
> standards. There are no all-powerful producers or
> celebrity stand-ins. Time
> signatures are used which are wholly unorthodox,
> refrains barely see the
> light of day... to get on with it, it is virtually
> the negation
> of pop music. I noted first that this "progressive"
> phenomenon came about at
> the height of the period just before post-modernism
> proper and was literally
> birthed in the student protest movement, being
> anti-establishment as a rule.
> Secondly, it shares similar iconoclastic ideals, of
> "progress"
> and that sort of considerate idealism with
> modernism.
> Well, Progressive Rock fell to pieces and now we
> have Lindsay Lohan singles.
> It seems to me that modern music _and not just in
> lyrics_ is fully
> post-modern. Starting with Punk, complex or
> proud/skilled music has been
> denounced as "pretentious" and is replaced by the
> simplest, honestly the
> most vulgar sound bites. I am reminded constantly of
> the post-modern attack
> on "meta-narratives." Essentially they pose a
> not-much dressed up argument
> of pretentiousness to tackle modernist philosophies.
> The idiocy, the
> contorted brutality and baseness of popular music,
> the emptiness of note and
> word, I have come to see it not as "populism" but as
> an active bourgeois
> repudiation of music. The argument returns to the
> question
> of whether "the people" take what they're given or
> ask for what they take.
> That the content modern music is almost perfectly
> explained by
> post-modernism leads me to conclusion similar to
> that of the WSWS with
> regards to historical falsification as an active
> component in academic work
> with today's bourgeoisie.
> - Terrence J. McGovern

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