In early 2021, Book Reviews Editor David Suisman mentioned that a unique opportunity was on the horizon: this JPMS volume year would include issue 33.3, and since we’re a music journal after all it might be interesting to use this issue to reflect on the LP culture this number, 33⅓, evokes. Field Note Associate Editors Roshanak Kheshti and Sara Marcus spun that suggestion into a special keywords-style edition of Field Notes; they explain this theme in their introductory essay. Featuring 22 entries from 23 contributors across a range of disciplines, this collection of “LP Keywords” investigates the various ways the LP’s technology, materiality, economics, aesthetics, politics, and culture have shaped and continue to shape popular music. For example, the section includes reflections on the physics and metaphysics of “33⅓” from Jonathan Sterne, and José Vicente Neglia similarly reflects on “groove.” Julia Ehmann takes an art historian’s perspective on LPs as “heritage” objects in museum exhibitions. Studying industry approaches to conjunto recordings in the late twentieth century, Erin Bauer’s entry traces some of the afterlives of “race records.” Antoine Haywood shows how Afrofuturist “cover art” on 70s funk records and the practice of vinyl collecting shape his identity as a Black American. Not limited to the traditional academic essay, the section also includes entries such as Maria Kouvarou’s poetic reflection on the “aura(l),” Karen Tongson’s critical karaoke-style entry blending memoir and queer studies to talk about “beats per minute.” That’s just a quick sample of a few of the fantastic entries in this section—see the Table of Contents for the full list.

Appropriately enough, the peer-reviewed articles section begins with a piece that is about a different kind of audio format. Zack Bresler’s “Immersed in Pop: 3D Music, Subject Positioning, and Compositional Design in The Weeknd’s ‘Blinding Lights’ in Dolby Atmos” considers how “immersive” music technologies, such as Dolby’s 3D (as opposed to stereo) format, impact pop songs’ creation, reception, and analysis. In “Sounding the “Spirit of My Silence”: Sufjan Stevens’s Carries and Lowell and the Affect of Nothingness” Natalie Farrell uses an autoethnographic account of her listening to Stevens’s album to argue that “the individual can be an affective archive.” Taking us from affect theory to posthumanism, Matthew D. Phillips’s “Soundcloud Rap and Alien Creativity: Transforming Rap and Popular Music through Mumble Rap” argues that the aesthetic and technical conventions of what is called the “Soundcloud rap movement” constitute a type of “alien creativity” comparable to the sonic fictions Kodwo Eshun famously theorizes. Focused on one of the most iconic living rappers, Elliott H. Powell’s article “Getting Freaky with Missy: Missy Elliott, Queer Hip Hop, and the Musical Aesthetics of Impropriety” studies how the rapper’s musical performances in “Get Ur Freak On” and “Pussycat” constitute gendered, racialized performances of queerness outside both hetero- and homonormative respectability. And finally, Marco Swiniartzki’s “Why Florida? Regional conditions and further development of the ‘Florida death metal’ scene and the local public response (1984–1994)” argues that the local press was crucial in both the development of the state’s death metal scene and in shifting its originally negative public image into a positive representation of local cultural diversity.

The Book Reviews section begins with a review essay by Francisco E. Robles covering Aaron J. Leonard’s The Folk Singers and the Bureau: The FBI, the Folk Artists and the Suppression of the Communist Party, USA-1939-1956 and Gustavus Stadler’s Woody Guthrie: An Intimate Life. The U.S. government’s efforts to surveil and suppress folk singers’ left-wing politics figure centrally in both books, Robles finds that the two authors treat folk musicians’ and the communist party’s commitment to racial justice very differently. Whereas Leonard’s “vampire’s castle”-style argument that attention to racial justice diminishes and divides the left becomes “a strangely unmoored part of the book’s overall argument,” Stadler focuses on how Guthrie’s late-career writing and visual art attend to connections between racism and capitalism and make “important links between Guthrie’s art, poetry, songwriting, and multi-media art and important critiques of carcerality and coloniality.” Next, Melissa A. Weber reviews Emily J. Lordi’s The Meaning of Soul: Black Music and Resilience Since the 1960s. According to Weber, Lordi “presents new and newer ways of looking at soul, through gender, place, capitalism, sexuality, power, and closer musicological readings” that are “lovingly exhaustive, theoretically and practically sound, and, thankfully, soulful.”

Kate Galloway praises JPMS Co-editor Robin James’s Sonic Episteme for its ability to find new models of analysis that center on “the aesthetic, social, political, and philosophical priorities of non-white listeners” while keeping grounded in “everyday contexts, even when these vernacular approaches are not legible to academic philosophy and theory.” In her review of Maureen Mahon’s Black Diamond Queens: African American Women and Rock and Roll, Kimberly Mack finds that “Mahon demonstrates quite convincingly that the Black women innovators in her book were rock stars in their own right, who also happened to influence, inform, support, and pave the way for the Black and White, female and male rock and roll and rock performers from the 1950s through today.”

Turning from rock and roll to sound studies, Kristina Jacobsen looks at Dylan Robinson’s Hungry Listening: Resonant Theory for Indigenous Sound Studies. According to Jacobsen, one of the book’s central contributions is its methodology, which approaches “songs as treaties and [uses] the idea of “writing with” Indigenous musicians and communities versus “writing about.” And finally, Emmett G. Price III reviews Alisha Lola Jones’s Flaming?: The Peculiar Theopolitics of Fire and Desire in Black Male Gospel Performance. Price argues that Jones “engage[s] the Black Church and the academy simultaneously as an insider with enough arms-length to be objective and honest” in a work that “takes on the hypocrisy of the Black Church towards effeminate Black men, whose gifts are appreciated while their embodiment is disrespected by tropes, memes and homoantagonistic sermons and statements.”

We want to close with a note of appreciation to our departing Field Notes Associate Editor Roshanak Kheshti. Her contributions have significantly shaped the Field Notes section and expanded both its rigor and its accessibility, as well as the imaginative possibilities for what popular music scholarship can be. We wish her luck as she begins her new appointment at UC Berkeley.