Hearing Luxe Pop explores a deluxe-production aesthetic that has long thrived in American popular music, in which popular-music idioms are merged with lush string orchestrations and big-band instrumentation. John Howland presents an alternative music history that centers on shifts in timbre and sound through innovative uses of orchestration and arranging, traveling from symphonic jazz to the Great American Songbook, the teenage symphonies of Motown to the “countrypolitan” sound of Nashville, the sunshine pop of the Beach Boys to the blending of soul and funk into 1970s disco, and Jay-Z’s hip-hop-orchestra events to indie rock bands performing with the Brooklyn Philharmonic. This book attunes readers to hear the discourses gathered around the music and its associated images as it examines pop’s relations to aspirational consumer culture, theatricality, sophistication, cosmopolitanism, and glamorous lifestyles.
What do the soundtracks of the James Bond film franchise reveal about intersections between pop music and our mass-culture notions of glamour and class? Billie Eilish’s title song to No Time to Die, the latest Bond movie released September 2021, offers a perfect illustration.Read More >