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Hardcore R e‐visioned: Reading and Misreading in Sonic Youth, 1987–8

Hardcore R e‐visioned: Reading and Misreading in Sonic Youth, 1987–8 This article uses Harold Bloom's concept of revision, defined as a reading that is simultaneously a re‐interpretation, to examine how the alternative band Sonic Youth transformed the hardcore style. Sonic Youth embraced hardcore in the early 1980s as a means of expanding beyond their no‐wave origins, but because of a cultural gulf between them and other hardcore bands, their successful appropriation of hardcore necessarily involved fragmentation and ironic reversal of its stylistic elements, combined with formally unorthodox means of re‐integrating those elements. Examining lyrics, scalar subsets, gestural motions on the guitar, timbre, references to formal archetypes and cues for pitch centricity, this article shows revision in two Sonic Youth songs from the late 1980s. ‘Silver Rocket’ (1988) fragments riffs characteristic of hardcore and substitutes a large‐scale constructive principle for musical narrative in its verse and chorus. ‘White Kross’ (1987) transforms hardcore's characteristic stance against authority, creating instead a sense of internal conflict both lyrically and musically. I present the analyses in order to provide a foundation for examining other post‐punk songs and explaining Sonic Youth's cultural significance in the alternative‐rock scene. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Music Analysis Wiley

Hardcore R e‐visioned: Reading and Misreading in Sonic Youth, 1987–8

Music Analysis , Volume 32 (3) – Oct 1, 2013

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Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
Music Analysis © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd
ISSN
0262-5245
eISSN
1468-2249
DOI
10.1111/musa.12013
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This article uses Harold Bloom's concept of revision, defined as a reading that is simultaneously a re‐interpretation, to examine how the alternative band Sonic Youth transformed the hardcore style. Sonic Youth embraced hardcore in the early 1980s as a means of expanding beyond their no‐wave origins, but because of a cultural gulf between them and other hardcore bands, their successful appropriation of hardcore necessarily involved fragmentation and ironic reversal of its stylistic elements, combined with formally unorthodox means of re‐integrating those elements. Examining lyrics, scalar subsets, gestural motions on the guitar, timbre, references to formal archetypes and cues for pitch centricity, this article shows revision in two Sonic Youth songs from the late 1980s. ‘Silver Rocket’ (1988) fragments riffs characteristic of hardcore and substitutes a large‐scale constructive principle for musical narrative in its verse and chorus. ‘White Kross’ (1987) transforms hardcore's characteristic stance against authority, creating instead a sense of internal conflict both lyrically and musically. I present the analyses in order to provide a foundation for examining other post‐punk songs and explaining Sonic Youth's cultural significance in the alternative‐rock scene.

Journal

Music AnalysisWiley

Published: Oct 1, 2013

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