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No future: has pop lost its radical edge?


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From Bob Dylan’s ‘Blowing in the Wind’ to Public Enemy’s ‘Fight the Power’, popular music has often had a close relationship to powerful social movements. Yet today it seems more ‘the New Boring’ than radical rebellion. Punk and urban music can happily soundtrack Jubilee concerts and the Olympics opening ceremony as much as footage of riots and upheaval. Yet, internationally, the plight of imprisoned Russian feminist-punks Pussy Riot and the emerging hip-hop scenes across the Arab Spring nations offers a reminder that popular music can have anti-authoritarian credentials. Are ageing rebels guilty of retromania when discussing protest music of old, or is there a genuine sense that popular music is currently lacking a maverick, original spirit? Filmed at the Battle of Ideas, this debate features a terrific line-up of speakers.

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Related topics: Debates, Social Change

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Piotr said:

I’m a big fan of rock n’ roll but I do think it’s run out of steam a bit – maybe it’s got something to do with the loss of a belief in modernity and freedom in the West?