Music making politics: beyond lyrics

  • M.I. Franklin
Nøgleord: Music, My Way, Race, Gender, Class, Politics, Musicking, Performance, Bob Dylan, Nina Hagen, Gil Scott-Heron, Nina Simone, Sid Vicious


In this article I argue that considering how any sort of music is made more closely - as sonic material, performance cultures, for whom and on whose terms, is integral to projects exploring the music-politics nexus. The case in point is “My Way”, a seemingly apolitical song, as it becomes repurposed: transformed through modes of performance, unusual musical arrangements, and performance contexts. The analysis reveals a deeper, underlying politics of music-making that still needs unpacking: the race, gender, and class dichotomies permeating macro- and micro-level explorations into the links between music, society, and politics. Incorporating a socio-musicological analytical framework that pays attention to how this song works musically, alongside how it can be reshaped through radical performance and production practices, shows how artists in diverging contexts can ‘re-music’ even the most hackneyed song into a form of political engagement. 


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