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Rebellious Jukebox: Post-Punk’s Disruption of Rock’s Musical and Social Hierarchies
AuthorBynum, Bradley Cain
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This project explores British post-punk music of the late 1970s. It examines the subtle and explicit ways post-punk musicians adopted ideas from concurrent black American genres, and how those ideas disrupted rock’s traditional musical and social hierarchies. This project examines the work of four key British post-punk groups: Public Image Limited, Gang of Four, the Fall, and the Slits. Post-punk is linked to its immediate antecedent, punk, but an important difference is that post-punk bands were eager to embrace techniques and songwriting approaches from black genres, like disco, funk, and reggae. By incorporating composition, arrangement, and instrumentation practices from those genres, post-punk bands were able to write music that emphasized the rhythm sections, bassists and drummers, equally with vocalists and guitarists. These musical arrangements resonated with the egalitarian lyrical rhetoric of the punk aesthetic and allowed cultural space for new subjectivities within the previously codified realm of rock music.