As Journal of Popular Music begins a new volume year, we welcome new associate editors and a reconstituted editorial board. Roshanak Kheshti will edit the portion of Amplifier devoted to hearing from artists and industry figures. Kheshti is associate professor of ethnic studies and affiliate faculty in the Critical Gender Studies Program at the University of California, San Diego. She is the author of Switched on Bach (Bloomsbury Academic, 33 1/3 series, 2019) and Modernity's Ear: Listening to Race and Gender in World Music (NYU Press, 2015). She is currently completing her third book, “We See With The Skin”: Zora Neale Hurston's Synesthetic Hermeneutics. John Vilanova will edit the reviews portion of Amplifier. Vilanova is professor of practice in journalism & communication and Africana studies at Lehigh University. He researches structural and institutional inequities within the global popular music industry, including the history and racial politics of the GRAMMY Awards. He's also an active writer and critic with recent bylines in The Atlantic, Rolling Stone, and the Los Angeles Times. And Sara Marcus will edit Field Notes. Marcus is a postdoctoral scholar at the University of Southern California's Society of Fellows in the Humanities. Her essays have appeared in American Literature, Artforum, Bookforum, the Los Angeles Times, the Nation, the New Republic, Post45, and Public Books, among other places. Her first book, Girls to the Front, a history of riot grrrl, was a National Award for Arts Writing finalist. Marcus is now completing a book about political disappointment in twentieth-century US culture.
The following represents the full JPMS masthead as we enter 2020.
Robin James, UNC Charlotte
Eric Weisbard, University of Alabama
Esther Morgan-Ellis, University of North Georgia
Roshanak Kheshti, Amplifier Artist & Industry Editor, University of California, San Diego
Sara Marcus, Field Notes Editor, University of Southern California
David Suisman, Book Reviews Editor, University of Delaware
Alyx Vesey, Associate Book Reviews Editor, University of Alabama
John Vilanova, Amplifier Reviews Editor, Lehigh University
Gayle Wald, Past Co-Editor, George Washington University
Oliver Wang, Past Co-Editor, California State University, Long Beach
Brian Wright, Web Editor, University of North Texas
José Anguiano, California State University, Los Angeles
Christine Bacareza Balance, Cornell University
Harris M. Berger, Memorial University of Newfoundland
David Brackett, McGill University
Regina Bradley, Kennesaw State University
Norma Coates, University of Western Ontario
Rebekah Farrugia, Oakland University
Robert Fink, University of California, Los Angeles
Murray Forman, Northeastern University
K.E. Goldschmitt, Wellesley College
Anthony Kwame Harrison, Virginia Tech
Nadine Hubbs, University of Michigan
Jason King, New York University
Josh Kun, University of Southern California
Allison McCracken, DePaul University
Francesca Royster, DePaul University
Steve Waksman, Smith College
Now, on to the new issue! For Amplifier, Brian Barone's detailed exploration of Angélique Kidjo's Celia, a tribute to Celia Cruz, considers with impressive nuance issues of appropriation, Afropolitanism, and the broader travels of African music. And Andrew Mall brings together an impressive set of industry figures, all part of Nashville's Christian music scene, for a roundtable discussion that captures how Music City's less well-known industry branch has grappled with twenty-first-century developments.
No Field Notes this time, but the trio of articles that begins our peer-reviewed scholarship can function as a de facto roundtable on Palestinian hip-hop. David McDonald looks at the group DAM and a feature film (Junction 48) featuring its front person, Tamer Nafar, to consider how discourse frames the “acceptable” limits of activism and how an artist, such as Nafar, contests those boundaries. Avery Brzobohaty also highlights DAM, in particular how humor and parody are critical strategies for commenting safely and subverting prejudice. And Reem M. Hilal, adding hip hop artists Iraqi British Lowkey and Iraqi Canadian Narcy to DAM, focuses on narratives of terrorism as something that performers can deconstruct and root contextually. Elsewhere, Shuwen Qu and Jian Xiao's “The Making of Singer-Songwriters” provides a vantage point on the “scenius” of contemporary folk music in China, drawing on Keith Negus's idea of “unbundling” authorship to consider other ways of mapping the field. Further, Heidi Mau and Cheryl L. Nicholas study the early 2000s work of the British band Ladytron, who in performing electronic music have negotiated a position of authenticity that connects to roots music genealogies and indie rhetoric of artistic integrity in an interesting blend.
From authenticity, our book reviews this issue move to Haunthenticity with Barry Shank on Tracy McMullen's study of tribute bands and other forms of musical reproduction, emphasizing “Replay,” meaning “intensified re-performance, a form of artistic engagement that anchors authority and meaning in the past and that grounds that anchor in the painstaking reconstruction of endlessly accurate details.” Asher Tobin Chodos reviews Gary Peters's Improvising Improvisation, a polemic challenging mainstream versions of improvisation—to mixed results, in Chodos's opinion. Natalie Farrrell examines Jeffrey T. Nealon's I'm Not Like Everybody Else: Biopolitics, Neoliberalism, and American Popular Music, concluding: “I am sold on Nealon's ideas that the quest for mass authenticity in neoliberal America puts the ‘hip’ in ‘hypocrisy,’ but I feel a bit short-changed.” Justin Adams Burton expresses a different set of reservations in a review of Mack Hagood's Hush: Media and Sonic Self-Control, specifically the lack of strong consideration of race and gender in an exploration of the material boundaries of sound studies—“orphic media” and the affective nature of sound. Joseph M. Thompson explores an important new study, Peter La Chapelle's I'd Fight the World: A Political History of Old-Time, Hillbilly, and Country Music, which traces three kinds of country politicians: “the amateur musicians, the non-performers, and the professional musicians.” And finally, Tim J. Anderson reviews Nancy Baym's Playing to the Crowd, a study of artist and audience interactions in the era of digital technology. Roger O'Donnell, keyboardist for the Cure, told Baym, ominously: “Now I think that it's important that you engage with your listeners all the time.” We hope this issue engages you, whatever you replay.
Robin James and Eric Weisbard