Book Review: The Poetry of Pop

The Poetry of Pop looks into the magic of pop songs in the language of lyrics and breaks down some lyrics as poems.  This is a deeper look into songs than I am used to and there are a lot more to lyrics than I thought!  There is a lot of mentions of Taylor Swift in the book and despite me not liking her at all, I can give props where props are due and I do think she does write some great songs.  I liked the part of the book about different rhymes. I also liked the paragraphs about how Justin Timberlake is white. haha. (ok that’s a very basic break down of what is trying to be explained but if you are a Justin fan I am sure you get the idea of what is being discussed.)  This book definitely made me think more about reading lyrics and reading them as more than just lyrics, but as poetry too.

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review,  I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

A trailblazing exploration of the poetic power of popular songs, from Tin Pan Alley to the Beatles to Beyoncé and beyond.

Encompassing a century of recorded music, this pathbreaking book reveals the poetic artistry of popular songs. Pop songs are music first. They also comprise the most widely disseminated poetic expression of our time. Adam Bradley traces the song lyric across musical genres from early twentieth-century Delta blues to mid-century rock ‘n’ roll to today’s hits. George and Ira Gershwin’s “Fascinating Rhythm.” The Rolling Stones’ “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.” Rihanna’s “Diamonds.” These songs are united in their exacting attention to the craft of language and sound. Bradley shows that pop music is a poetry that must be heard more than read, uncovering the rhythms, rhymes, and metaphors expressed in the singing voice. At once a work of musical interpretation, cultural analysis, literary criticism, and personal storytelling, this book illustrates how words and music come together to produce compelling poetry, often where we least expect it.

Adam Bradley is professor of English and founding director of the Laboratory for Race & Pop Culture (RAP Lab) at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and the author of Book of Rhymes: The Poetics of Hip Hop.

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