Megan Harlan
January 23, 1998 AT 05:00 AM EST

Sexing the Groove: Popular Music and Gender

Current Status
In Season
Sheila Whiteley
Pop Culture, Essays, Music

We gave it a C+

SEXING THE GROOVE: POPULAR MUSIC AND GENDER Sheila Whiteley, Ed. (Routledge, $19.95) Here’s the sort of academic jargon you’re in for in this surprisingly wearying collection of essays on sex in pop music: Editor Whiteley uses ”an analytical methodology based on Barthes’ codes of narratology” to consider Madonna’s video for ”Justify My Love.” If that’s not enough to send you screaming, there are kernels of insight buried deep in these 16 ponderous pieces — whether on Bruce Springsteen’s ”authentic masculinity,” rockabilly-era female Elvises, k.d. lang’s coming out, or ”Towards a Pet Shop Boys Discourse” (tee hee!). Too bad the writers, academics all, usually opt for code over cogency. C+

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