Thursday, November 10, 2016

What is Brad Osborn reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Brad Osborn, author of Everything in its Right Place: Analyzing Radiohead.

His entry begins:
I teach a graduate seminar on analyzing popular music, so I’m (re-)reading music-analytical articles along with my students. We just read Robert Fink’s excellent 2011 article on rhythmic teleology in African-American popular music. It’s all about how late-60s Motown sometimes withheld that signature 4-on-the-floor beat until a pivotal moment, and how this plays directly into lyrical themes of the time, which preach striving for the American (bourgeois) dream instead of ingesting instant (chemical) pleasures. We also just read Suzanne Cusick’s article “On the Musical Performances of Gender and Sex,” after which I had each student share a music video in which they saw (and heard) an artist performing various gender roles in interesting ways.

Even when I’m not working, in truth, I’m not much of a fiction reader. I consume, voraciously, every issue of The New Yorker the moment it hits my door, but I often skip the fiction.

That said, I just finished Dubliners, which really transported me into...[read on]
About Everything in its Right Place, from the publisher:
More than any rock artist since The Beatles, Radiohead's music inhabits the sweet spot between two extremes: on the one hand, music that is wholly conventional and conforms to all expectations of established rock styles, and, on the other hand, music so radically experimental that it thwarts any learned notions. While averting mainstream trends but still achieving a significant level of success in both US and UK charts, Radiohead's music includes many surprises and subverted expectations, yet remains accessible within a framework of music traditions. In Everything in its Right Place: Analyzing Radiohead, Brad Osborn reveals the functioning of this reconciliation of extremes in various aspects of Radiohead's music, analyzing the unexpected shifts in song structure, the deformation of standard 4/4 backbeats, the digital manipulation of familiar rock 'n' roll instrumentation, and the expected resolutions of traditional cadence structures.

Expanding on recent work in musical perception, focusing particularly on form, rhythm and meter, timbre, and harmony, Everything in its Right Place treats Radiohead's recordings as rich sonic ecosystems in which a listener participates in an individual search for meaning, bringing along expectations learned from popular music, classical music, or even Radiohead's own compositional idiolect. Radiohead's violations of these subjective expectation-realization chains prompt the listener to search more deeply for meaning within corresponding lyrics, biographical details of the band, or intertextual relationships with music, literature, or film.

Synthesizing insights from a range of new methodologies in the theory of pop and rock, and specifically designed for integration into music theory courses for upper level undergraduates, Everything in its Right Place is sure to find wide readership among scholars and students, as well as avid listeners who seek a deeper understanding of Radiohead's distinctive juxtapositional style.
Learn more about Everything in its Right Place at the Oxford University Press.

The Page 99 Test: Everything in its Right Place.

Writers Read: Brad Osborn.

--Marshal Zeringue