From Publishers Weekly While John, Paul, George and Ringo have been (deservedly) deconstructed more than any other rock band, and an academic look at them is welcome, many of the observations made in this collection will leave fans asking, 'So what?' In the opening essay, Penn State English professor Ian Marshall carefully explores the band's lyrics. He points out the confessional poetics of Lennon songs like 'Nowhere Man,' but isn't original when he compares that tune's themes of self-doubt to Thoreau's 'mass of men [who] lead lives of quiet desperation.' A more intriguing assertion is Marshall's point that The White Album is a work of 'post-modernity' that reflects the fracturing of the band's media image as four lovable mop-tops and a 'rebuttal' to the earlier Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Far more remarkable is William M. Northcutt's essay, which studies 'death, loss, and the crowd' on Sgt. Pepper. Northcutt, who teaches cultural studies at Germany's University of Wuppertal, introduces the idea that the album's cover, with its famous portrait of the Beatles surrounded by cultural icons, reveals the band's distance from the crowd and its conflicted feelings toward fame. (Mar.) Copyright ? Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition. Read more Review 'This book addresses many of the most significant aspects of the Beatles--their music and their social and cultural influence and contexts. It finds a balance between specialist knowledge (i.e., musicology) and more general interest, and it covers the full breadth of the Beatles' output. The Beatles effected a significant and irreversible epoch in popular music, and for this reason deserve a sound academic study of the many aspects of their arrival, their dominance, their challenges, and their legacy. Such a study is provided here in a diverse and inventive collection of engaging essays.' Read more See all Editorial Reviews
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