Globalization of language in the lyrics of popular music: a critical approach


Two weeks ago, on March 7, Carlos Roos (lecturer, philosopher, researcher) gave a lecture on popular music at Utrecht University, organized by the education committee of the Hucbald Study Association (Musicology at the University of Utrecht).

About the talks

This year they have partnered with Albion, the study association for English studies. For their talk on March 7, the topic they had in mind was: how certain forms of language in music can influence large groups of people, for example, how the punk movement influences youth or vice versa, that is, how certain forms of language influence music.

Who better to ask than Carlos Roos. Since 2018, Roos has been a lecturer in the course Popular and Global Music, an elective course for Leiden University students that covers the tension between the definitions of “popular” and “global” by examining a number of musical materials. taking into account the formal and socio-musical characteristics.

The globalization of language in the lyrics of popular music: a critical approach.

The 1950s saw the opening of a transnational market propelled by the sustained export of popular American songs. In the process, a cross-cultural space of social interaction emerged which was, and continues to be, the incubator for globalized forms of popular music widely available today. The pervasiveness of the English language in so-called global culture has been observed by cultural analysts, with attitudes ranging from alarm at what they see as a sign of cultural domination, to confidence in the non-hierarchical process cross-cultural exchange that globalization is supposed to be based on.

In this lecture, Roos wanted to address this question with regard to popular music, in terms of national and transnational identities that lyrics sung in English are able to mobilize. Lyrical examples were taken from the album Out! Outside! Outside! by German punk band Lights Out!

Popular and World Music Electives

Want to know more about the Popular and Global Music elective course? Visit the study guide from Leiden University.

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