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Eurovision Song Contest research

Eurovision Song Contest research

Regular readers will know that I have been live-blogging the Eurovision Song Contest final since 2011. Every year I sit down in front of the TV, metronome and guitar in hand, and write live musical analysis of the songs in real time, then attempt to predict the winner...

Irving Berlin: Nine Rules for Writing Popular Songs

Irving Berlin: Nine Rules for Writing Popular Songs

Article and interview by Frank Ward O’Malley (1875-1932)Originally published in ‘The American Magazine’, Volume 90, October 1920Transcribed by Joe Bennett from the Google Books version, January 2020 Irving Berlin c.1920 JB comment: This semester, I’m very pleased to...

Anatomy of the Hit: Bruno Mars and Cardi B ‘Please Me’

Anatomy of the Hit: Bruno Mars and Cardi B ‘Please Me’

[JB note: This article was originally commissioned by TIDAL, and is part of a series - see links below. Parental advisory: adult themes in the lyrics.] Ariana Grande - 7 rings Mabel - Don't Call Me Up Billie Eilish - Bad Guy Taylor Swift feat. Brendon Urie - ME!...

Eurovision 2019 – live musical analysis

Eurovision 2019 – live musical analysis

[update - the day after] I correctly predicted the winner (Netherlands), but my second and third place predictions (Sweden and Australia) were a little further down the list: Sweden was 6th, Australia 9th. Not bad. Here's an interactive infographic of the final...

Anatomy of the hit: Ariana Grande’s ‘7 rings’

Anatomy of the hit: Ariana Grande’s ‘7 rings’

As a music theory geek, I love to get inside songs and figure out why we like them. There’s something beautiful about the ability of a mainstream hit to bring people together. And when the songwriter and singer is as extraordinary a talent as Ariana Grande, we can be...

Popular Music Education: Foreword

Popular Music Education: Foreword

This post is taken from my foreword to The Bloomsbury Handbook of Popular Music Education: Perspectives and Practices (Bloomsbury, 2019). Editors: Zack Moir, Bryan Powell, Gareth Dylan Smith. Used by permission. Popular Music Education. These three words, even though...

Berklee Indian Ensemble in #360 video

Sometimes music just speaks for itself. https://www.youtube.com/watch?=1&v=gub20d7WI3I Listen with headphones. For best results, use a 360 headset or phone with Google Cardboard (ambisonic mix will change as you turn your head toward band members).

Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice

In October 2018, Berklee announced the launch of a new initiative, led by the remarkable Terri Lyne Carrington. The Institute was founded on a musical question, which is: What would jazz sound like in a culture without patriarchy? This morning I was viewing the video...

Optimal distinctiveness and the songwriting singer #arp

Davey will be discussing songwriter identity in the context of optimal distinctiveness theory, and uses this to frame some popular music within the known teen phenomenon of 'I loved [that band] before they were famous'. He uses the famous example of iMacs that looked...

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