Gang Of Four's Entertainment! by Kevin J.h. DettmarGang Of Four's Entertainment! by Kevin J.h. Dettmar

Gang Of Four's Entertainment!

byKevin J.h. Dettmar

Paperback | March 27, 2014

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Following hard on the explosion of British punk, in 1979 Gang of Four produced post-punk's smartest record, Entertainment! For the first time, a band wedded punk's angry energy to funk's propulsive beats-and used that music to put across lyrics that brought a heady mixture of Marxist theory and situationism to exposing the cultural politics of everyday life. But for an American college student from the suburbs-and, one expects, for many, many others, including British youth-Jon King's and Andy Gill's mumbled lyrics were often all but unintelligible. Political rock 'n' roll is always something of an oxymoron: rock audiences by and large don't tune in to be lectured to. But what can it mean that a band that made pop songs as political theory actively resisted making that theory legible? Coming to terms with the impact of Entertainment! requires us to take the mondegreen-the misunderstood lyric-seriously. The old joke has it that the title of R.E.M.'s debut album should have been not Murmur, but Mumble: true, so far as it goes. But that's the title, too, of rock 'n' roll's Greatest Hits compilation-and that strategic inarticulateness itself, which creates such an important role for the listener, has an important politics.
Kevin J. H. Dettmar is W. M. Keck Professor of English at Pomona College. He is the author of Is Rock Dead?, editor of The Cambridge Companion to Bob Dylan, and co-editor of Reading Rock & Roll: Authenticity, Appropriation, Aesthetics.
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Title:Gang Of Four's Entertainment!Format:PaperbackDimensions:160 pages, 6.5 × 4.75 × 0.5 inPublished:March 27, 2014Publisher:BloomsburyLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1623560659

ISBN - 13:9781623560652

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Reviews

Table of Contents

Introduction Keywords Ideology Nature Theory Alienation Consumer Sex Back to the Gutters

Editorial Reviews

Kevin Dettmar, having been an American college student in the '70s, is-in an odd way-the ideal author to write the 33 1/3 series volume #91 about British post-punk band Gang of Four's album Entertainment! (1979). In addition to being well-versed to discuss the cultural and musical implications of such a band steeped in leftist and "Situationist" political theory, in the book's introduction, he also proclaims the band to be his "favorite of all time." This is the kind of mixture of knowledge and fervor that has made the series a great addition to the literature about pop music. Dettmar tends to beat us over the head with the Marxism and Situationism in the British band's lyrics and approach, the way their lyrics make sharp social commentary in counterpoint to their equally jagged yet seductive dance rhythms. It's a bit of a stretch, the case he makes for each of the songs as a "think piece," but it may help the casual listener to give the band another spin to listen for what is hidden subversively in their sound.