May 25, 2009

Session 11 (Tuesday, July 27) -- Women in Rock

"Madonna" in Grove Music Online►The Bangles►The Pretenders►rock►[Alternative/Indie Rock]Riot Grrrl►L7

Session 12 (Wednesday, July 28) -- Heavy Metal II

"Slayer" in Grove Music Online►Nine Inch Nails►Rage Against the Machine
"Metallica" in Oxford Encyclopedia of Popular Music
"Cradle of Filth" in Oxford Encyclopedia of Popular Music►pop.rock►[Hard Rock] ►Thrash►pop.rock►[Hard Rock] ►Death Metal/Black Metal►pop.rock►[Hard Rock] ►Rap-Metal►pop.rock►[Hard Rock] ►Industrial Metal

Session 13 (Thursday, July 29) -- Alternative, Grunge, and Related Trends

"Pop, §III: North America, 6. The 1990s" in Grove Music Online
"Grunge" in Grove Music Online
"Nirvana (USA)" in Oxford Encyclopedia of Popular Music►pop/rock►Alternative Pop/Rock
"R.E.M." in Oxford Encyclopedia of Popular Music►U-2►Green Day

Session 14 (Friday, July 30) -- The Retro and the Ironic

▪ Paper #2 due

The "movie stills" found at:►permanent collection►[search] Sherman►Untitled Film Still #65

Session 15 (Monday, August 2) -- Rap II

"Rap, 3. 1990 Onwards" in Grove Music Online
"Gangsta Rap" in Grove Music Online
"NWA [Niggas with Attitude]" in Oxford Encyclopedia of Popular Music►Eminem►Snoop Doggy Dogg►Wu-Tang Clan

July 12, 2010

Music 1014
Rock II: Rock Music from 1970 to the Present
Summer 2010
July 13-August 6
MTWThF, 12:30-2:30
Ferguson Hall, Room 107


Peter Mercer-Taylor
Office: Ferguson 158
Phone: (612) 624-0385
Office Hour: Thursday, 12:15-1:30


Principal websites

Grove Music Online
You will be making regular use of articles in this resource. Though you can reach it from any computer, you cannot dial it up directly. This is a site to which the University of Minnesota has a paid online subscription. You reach it either through the course website described above, or by going to the music library webpage-- on "Music" in the left menu, scrolling about 35% of the way down the list that appears, then selecting "Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians" (just to the right of "Research Tools"), entering your UMN Internet ID and Password, then searching, selecting only "Grove Music Online" from the available list of sources.

Oxford Encyclopedia of Popular Music
Reach this site just as you do Grove Music Online, but on the final search screen, select "Encyclopedia of Popular Music" instead of "Grove Music Online."


This course takes up the history of rock toward the end of what most historians consider its Golden Age. From the emergence of "progressive" rock in the early '70s, we will trace the course of rock and related styles to the present day, considering "arena" rock, punk, new wave, heavy metal, rap, grunge, and a range of "alternative" styles. Rather than a broad-ranging historical survey--in which we might attempt a fleeting, superficial coverage of all the major players in each particular era--we will be delving deeply into a small sampling of songs from a small selection of artists. You should thus not take offense if your favorite band never comes up; statistically speaking, it probably won't (that's what the last paper topic is for). Most of our attention will be focused on how selected individual songs make their effects, in particular, how the structure and language of their music interact with what they appear to have to say. But we will consider, as well, the uses to which rock and other styles have been put through this period, how they have contributed to ideas of youth culture, race identity, gender identity, and other social formations.

Much of this course turns on the relationship between "rock"--a concept that becomes harder and harder to keep in focus as the years go by--and postmodernism. The music video has been described by some as the most postmodern of all art forms, and MTV will figure prominently in our examination of rock in the 1980s and beyond. The '80s saw fundamental challenges, too, to the traditional understanding of rock as an intrinsically masculine music, and we will examine closely the work and significance of a range of female artists who brought about this change. At the same time, we will explore the meteoric rise of rap, a genre of music many believe displaced rock as the most urgent musical expression of alienated youth. Indeed, as we press into the '90s, the subject matter of the course begins to reflect more strongly the broad fragmentation of the popular music scene. Where it might have been possible to speak of a "main stream" of rock in the Woodstock era, the popular music market of the last 20 years has been diffused across countless styles and sub-styles. Grunge and the styles that grew directly out of it might represent a most easily discerned channel for the rock impulse since the early '90s, but rock now exists as only one genre among many, and we will consider a range of other popular styles alongside it.

What is being explored in this course is rock the way it actually is, not the way we might like it to be, and some of the material under discussion may prove objectionable on any number of grounds. Obscenity--including calculated blasphemy--is not uncommon, nor is explicit sexual content. Some of this material is likely to strike many as sexist, some of it may be perceived as racist. Please do not take part in this course if you have serious reservations about confronting music of this kind.


1. There will be one midterm exam (worth 20% of your grade) and one final exam (worth 30% of your grade). These exams will consist of identifications and short answer questions.

2. 10% of your grade will be based on attendance and regular, meaningful participation in class. You need not talk at every class meeting, but you should try to establish a track record of substantive involvement.

3. You will submit two brief papers, each worth 15% of your grade. I will hand out specific topics for these papers (there will be two options for the first one), but you are free to opt out of my designated topics in ONE of these two papers, and write an academically responsible paper about a topic of your choice. You will also be doing an in-class presentation of around 12 minutes (worth 10% of your grade), introducing to the class a song of particular interest. These presentations will take place in Sessions 16 and 17.

Session 1 (Tuesday, July 13) -- Introduction: Talking about Rock

"Rock" in Grove Music Online

Session 2 (Wednesday, July 14) -- Progressive Rock and Related Trends

"Progressive Rock" in Grove Music Online
"Art Rock" in Grove Music Online
"Classic Rock (II)" in Grove Music Online
"Emerson, Lake and Palmer [ELP]" in Grove Music Online
"Pink Floyd" in Grove Music Online►rock►[Art Rock/Experimental]Prog-Rock/Art Rock

Session 3 (Thursday, July 15) -- The Main Stream of the '70s

Read:►Bruce Springsteen►Boston►rock►[Hard Rock]Arena Rock►rock►[Hard Rock]Hard Rock
"Aerosmith,‿ in Oxford Encyclopedia of Popular Music

Session 4 (Friday, July 16) -- Punk

"Punk Rock‿ in Grove Music Online
"The Sex Pistols‿ in Oxford Encyclopedia of Popular Music
"The Ramones‿ in Grove Music Online►Patti Smith►The Clash►rock►[Punk/New Wave]Punk►rock►[Punk/New Wave]British Punk►rock►[Punk/New Wave]New York Punk

Session 5 (Monday, July 19) -- New Wave

Read:►rock►[Punk/New Wave]New Wave►rock►[Punk/New Wave]Post-Punk
"Elvis Costello‿ in Oxford Encyclopedia of Popular Music►Devo
The Police in Grove Music Online

Session 6 (Tuesday, July 20) -- Heavy Metal I

▪ Paper #1 due

"Heavy Metal‿ in Grove Music Online
"Thrash Metal‿ in Grove Music Online
"Hard Rock‿ in Grove Music Online►Led Zeppelin
"Black Sabbath‿ in Oxford Encyclopedia of Popular Music
"Judas Priest‿ in Grove Music Online
"Iron Maiden‿ in Grove Music Online
"Van Halen‿ in Oxford Encyclopedia of Popular Music

Session 7 (Wednesday, July 21) -- Rap I

"Rap, 1. To 1985‿ in Grove Music Online
"Rap, 2. 1985-9‿ in Grove Music Online
"DJ (ii) ‿ in Grove Music Online
"Scratching‿ in Grove Music Online
"Sampling‿ in Grove Music Online
"Hip hop‿ in Grove Music Online►rap►Old School Rap►rap►East Coast Rap►Run-D.M.C.►Ice-T
"Public Enemy‿ in Oxford Encyclopedia of Popular Music

Session 8 (Thursday July 22) -- Review

Session 9 (Friday, July 23) -- Midterm Exam