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Mortality and Music
Popular Music and the Awareness of Death. Bloomsbury Studies in Religion and Popular Music
The evidence of death and dying has been removed from the everyday lives of most Westerners. Yet we constantly live with the awareness of our vulnerability as mortals. Drawing on a range of genres, bands and artists, Mortality and Music examines the ways in which popular music has responded to our awareness of the inevitability of death and the anxiety it can evoke. Exploring bereavement, depression, suicide, violence, gore, and fans' responses to the deaths of musicians, it argues for the social and cultural significance of popular music's treatment of mortality and the apparent absurdity of existence.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
Partridge draws from an impressive array of songs, artists, and genres ... Original, engagingly written and full of ideas to consider carefully. * BASR Bulletin * [Mortality and Music] is accessible and wide-ranging, and demonstrates an impressive depth of scholarship ... This ambitious book claims important space in this developing area of research ... [It] is a highly engaging and thought-provoking read. * Popular Music * By focusing on death and mortality, and drawing on a fresh and distinctive body of thought, this thoughtful and strangely pleasurable book provides new resources for thinking about the role of music in contemporary culture, and in people's lives. -- David Hesmondhalgh, Professor of Media, Music and Culture, University of Leeds, UK Once again, Christopher Partridge takes us on an adventure into rarely considered regions of the pop culture world. Bringing together two of humankind's defining experiences-our awareness of death, the possibility of a world in which we are not, and our compulsion to record, celebrate, and lament our life courses musically-he has given us another example of why he remains one of our premier pop culture scholars. Highly recommended. -- Douglas E. Cowan, Professor of Religious Studies and Social Development Studies, Renison University College, Canada Delightfully spooky and illuminating all at once. Christopher Partridge is Virgil-in-headphones guiding readers into the realms of the dead. Analyzing a vast catalogue of popular songs through various theoretical lenses, and considering ways artists and audiences identify with them, he finds music functioning as memento mori, reminders of mortality; as a form of memory, a medium for the returned, the revenant; and as a cultural strategy for dealing with impermanence. Violence, gore, pilgrims hanging around the graves of dead rock stars-it's all here, thoroughly researched and beautifully written. -- Michael J. Gilmour, Associate Professor of New Testament and English Literature, Providence University College, Canada