McGill Blog and Stuff

"Art is anything you can get away with." – Marshall McLuhan

Annotated Bibliography

Brackett, N. et al. (2004). The New RollingStone Album Guide. New York, NY: Fireside.

This website will provide me with critical reviews of the songs presented in the assignment and on the blog. It has been in the music industry for over 50 years, and provides useful reviews and reflections on albums and songs for opinion and analytical pieces. These reviews will be excellent in providing data such as chart placement and critical (but also non-critical) reception of the songs in the music industry. It should be noted that my assignment will be focused primarily on North American values, Canadian if possible.

Brabazon, T. (2012). Popular music: Topics, trends & trajectories. Los Angeles, CA: Sage.

Brabazon (2012) analyzes what makes a song popular in its given context and geographical location. She not only goes as far to suggest what exactly comprises a popular song, but also goes into depth in discussion of specific genres. This will provide me with a good understanding of why these songs are popular, but may also suggest something of the culture from which they emerged. In addition, Brabazon addresses the nature of genres reaching out from their original context in order to appeal to a wider audience, thereby making it a part of the popular music category. This will be essential in determining any common themes between those genres I have selected for this assignment.

Brabazon has held many titles as a professor, in areas such as media, communication photography, and creative arts. She is currently the Dean of Graduate Research at Flinders University and the Director of the Popular Culture Collective, an Australia-based organization dedicated to discourse around popular culture. Her expertise in the field, as well as her usage of secondary sources in her text, provides an excellent resource from which to draw information regarding the popularity of various genres relating to this project.

Cameron-Lewis, V., Allen, L. (2013). Teaching pleasure and danger in sexuality education. Sex Education: Sexuality, Society and Learning 13(2), 121-132.

Cameron-Lewis & Allen’s 2013 article recommends that young men and women be taught a sex education that promotes healthy relationships and less about the “fear” of the dangers of sex. This, she suggests, will promote more communication in a relationship about one’s own sexual desires as well as respect of those of one’s partner(s). Using this contention, she challenges the current notion of rape culture, arguing that we are only reinforcing it by teaching about sex from a fear-centered perspective, and that “this preoccupation with risk aversion has left little space for exploration of desire and pleasure” (p.122). Her article will be crucial in the development of my argument, that music can also help break down these stereotypes and give students a platform from which to analyze and come to an understanding of consent.

Carmody, M. (2005). Ethical erotics: Reconceptualizing anti-rape education. Sexualities 8(4), 465-480.

Carmody’s article (2005) again stresses the need for a change to the sex education curriculum to stop teaching young women to fear sexual desire, stressing that this kind of teaching only reinforces gender stereotypes and limits the discussion to hetero-normative relationships. Because of this, “women are [considered to be] ‘in-waiting’ to experience violence and men are forever paused to engage in it,” which only makes the gender power dynamic worse: “men are deterministically constructed as oppressive and exploitative to women.” She explains that this is an incorrect narrative: In a healthy relationship, partners must “negotiate power” through consent via “verbalizing clear expectations and limits, non-verbal bodily movements, trial and error, time, taking risks in self-disclosure, trust, flexibility and receptiveness of a partner, self reflection and monitoring their own response,” thereby exhibiting both care for others and care for self (p.473). Her article will provide me with excellent material from which to make recommendations of my own in terms of the presence and viability of music in the sex education curriculum.

Oliver, J. (2015). Sex education: Last week tonight with John Oliver. Video clip. Youtube. Retrieved August 28, 2016 from

John Oliver gives an honest (although humorous) take on sex education in the United States. Although that is not in Canada, his short clip provides me with lots of information and other clips on sex education, including abstinence (8:23), stereotypes, and different versions of sex education available in different states and communities, which is the same in Canada. His clip echoes the sentiments made in Cameron-Lewis & Allen’s article (2013), that both young women and young men should be given education that promotes not only healthy relationships, but also teaches them danger in terms of education instead of fear. He also breaks down those stereotypes offered by the current dominant curriculum. As such, this clip will provide me with some humorous comments and an effective tool to use in my blog and paper.

Wexler, J., Ritz, D. (1993). Rhythm and blues: A life in American music. In Brackett, D. (2014). The pop, rock, and soul reader: Histories and debates. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Brackett’s collection of essays includes a number from which it is possible to draw information regarding what he calls “cross-cultural collaboration” and “notions of expressive sincerity” (2014, p.90). One such example is Wexler & Ritz (1993), whose essay provides an in-depth look at the cross-over culture of popular music, appealing to a market outside of its original audience through the spreadable nature of media. Their essay addresses primarily the shift from rhythm and blues to rock-n’-roll: “In significant numbers, white people were listening to, buying, and playing black music” (Wexler & Ritz, p. 91), leading to the commercialization and popularization of black music in society, eventually leading to rock-n’-roll as we know it: “its intrinsic charm, its empathy for human foibles, [and] its direct application to the teen-age condition.”

This notion of the teen-age condition is something that my blog has touched on, and is something I think is worthy of expansion. What is the teenage condition? How does it apply to “age-appropriate behavior” vs. that which is not appropriate at a specific age? Wexler & Ritz provide an insightful look into the commercialization of rhythm and blues music in the 1960’s through cross-cultural application to appeal to the larger white audience, a concept which is all too familiar to artists today and their appropriation of other cultures in their style and sound. In terms of sex education, I believe it is possible to establish a connection between music and human sexuality, and support the usage of music in the sex education classroom.

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