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Walter Everett

Sex and Gender in Pop/Rock Music

Published by Bloomsbury Academic

Sep 25, 2023 Bookmark and Share

In addition to publishing award-winning fiction and nonfiction, Bloomsbury also has an Academic arm that publishes some of the best scholarly books in various disciplines, including music.

Walter Everett’s Sex and Gender in Pop/Rock Music, subtitled The Blues Through the Beatles and Beyonce, takes a studied look at how sex and gender have been dealt with in music throughout the ages, both lyrically and musically. The book is separated into five chapters, with Everett discussing biological gender, gender identity, sexuality, erotica, and finally ending with a detailed analysis of Patti Smith’s “Land” from her debut Horses.

Everett’s text seamlessly applies theory in various relevant disciplines, such as physiology, psychology, sexololgy, sociology, gender studies, aesthetics, and linguistics, to songwriting of various ages, genres, and styles from the 1920s to the present, ultimately formulating a narrative that takes what we’ve heard with our own ears and explains it in academic context.

At times, it seems like for every musical example Everett gives, there are 100 that he doesn’t—one might argue that there is no one thing music is more about than sex (also, incidentally, how does one pick just ONE Prince tune to exemplify a certain sex and/or gender issue?)—but still, Everett’s citations are wildly diverse and thorough. And while his detailed take on Smith’s “Land” is exhaustively comprehensive to a degree which I’m sure very few music listeners have absorbed that song, overall Sex and Gender is an illuminating read that can serve as just the tip of the iceberg of Bloomsbury Academic’s wonderful catalog of music titles.


Author rating: 7/10

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