Ways of Hearing

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Ways of Hearing(ISBN 0 575 06809 4) is a 2001 book about pop music by Ben Thompson. The book, which is subtitled "A user's guide to the pop psyche, from Elvis to Eminem", describes how Western pop music intersects with films, videos, television shows, and fiction. The book includes short essays on a number of performers, including alternative rocker Blixa Bargeld, contemporary composer John Cale, Captain Beefheart, The Chemical Brothers, hip-hop artists Missy Elliott and Eminem, Montreal avant-garde band Godspeed You Black Emperor!, heavy metal singer-bassist Lemmy, Meatloaf (singer), Rolling Stones guitarist Cliff Richard, Pet Shop Boys and country rockers Wilco. The last section in the book describes different subgenres of pop, including metal, psychedelic, and political rock.

A review of the book calls it "a collection of rock writing" based around the author's goal of examining "the different ways of listening which form subcultural territories around various forms of popular music".[1] The reviewer states that as "...a collection of rock journalism, this holds up quite well", and states that it contains "...competent, occasionally inspired rock writing". The reviewer states that Thompson has "...an intriguing way to introduce and link an apparently disparate bunch of information, and makes the reader contextualise seemingly off-hand utterings of musicians in within a new frame."[1] The reviewer states that some of the interviews with performers that Thompson included seem like "padding". Moreover, the reviewer states that the "segments of academic-ese" that Thompson puts around the interview sections "tend to obfuscate the topic at hand, or, when they’re successful, set up an intriguingly open-ended argument which, ten pages later, is revealed to be literally open-ended...[without providing]... many of his own answers".[1]


  1. ^ a b c Book review available online at: http://www.illiterarty.com/reviews/book-review-ways-hearing-ben-thompson Accessed on July 4, 2010.
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