By Timothy E. Scheurer
This is often the 1st examine to discover totally the parable of the US as mirrored within the nation's renowned tune. starting with the songs of the Pilgrims and carrying on with via greater than centuries of historical past and track, Born within the U.S.A. indicates the rising American fable and provides an in depth studying of the compositions of songwriters as various as William Billings, Henry Clay paintings, Irving Berlin, Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, and Bruce Springsteen.So that the complete and various narrative of this advanced kingdom could be recorded, this insightful learn is targeted either upon the nationwide fantasy and upon the songwriters and performers representing subcultures and substitute viewpoints which are the textual content of America's tale. via hymnlike paeans and during discordant lamentations protesting the realities of the modern workaday international, renowned song is an mind-blowing replicate of yank historical past.
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Additional info for Born in the U.S.A.: the myth of America in popular music from Colonial times to the present
They provide good, "workable" ways by which the contradictions in a society, the contrasts and conflicts which normally arise among people, among ideals, among the confusing realities, are somehow reconciled, smoothed over, or at least made manageable and tolerable. (1980, xv) One theme that I will return to, as we survey the myth of America in popular song, is how it indeed does reconcile seemingly contradictory ideologies and philosophies in different time periods. In colonial times, for instance, the myth reconciles a secular-based philosophy (Jefferson, Franklin) with the theocratic ideals of the Puritans.
Symbols, images, and themes that songwriters selectfor whatever emotions they are trying to evokeare important because they are a site where cultural consensus about values and attitudes is reaffirmed. They help define our notions of the ideal woman and the ideal man; they record and probably teach different generations of courting rituals. In antebellum America sentimental popular songsparticularly those of Stephen Foster such as "My Old Kentucky Home" and "Old Black Joe"supported the complacent conviction of some Americans that the "darkies" didn't really want their freedom.
Greil Marcus has written, "History without myth is surely a wasteland; but myths are compelling only when they are at odds with history" (1982, 140). The compelling nature of myth is that it transcends the everyday, and consequently, it transcends history, and offers one a richer view of life. The transcendent function of myth is crucial to the study of popular culture, because it shows us attempting to connect our earthbound philosophies, beliefs, attitudes, and actions with some higher purpose or meaning.