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Down with Childhood: Pop Music and the Crisis of Innocence

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Sometimes popular music registers our concerns and anxieties more lucidly than we realise. This is evident in the case of an ideal of childhood innocence in rapid decay in recent decades. So claims Down with Childhood, as it takes in psychedelia's preoccupation with rebirth and inner-children, the fascination with juvenilia amidst an ebbing UK rave scene and dozens of nur Sometimes popular music registers our concerns and anxieties more lucidly than we realise. This is evident in the case of an ideal of childhood innocence in rapid decay in recent decades. So claims Down with Childhood, as it takes in psychedelia's preoccupation with rebirth and inner-children, the fascination with juvenilia amidst an ebbing UK rave scene and dozens of nursery rhyme hip-hop choruses spawned by a hit Jay-Z tune. As it examines the often complex sets of meanings to which the occasional presence of children in pop songs attests, the book pauses at Musical Youth's 'Pass the Dutchie' and other one-hit teen wonders, the career paths of child stars including Michael Jackson and Britney Spears, radical experiments in free jazz, and Black Panther influenced children's soul groups. In the process, a novel argument begins to emerge relating the often remarked crisis of childhood to changing experiences of work and play and ultimately, to an ongoing capitalist crisis that underlies them.


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Sometimes popular music registers our concerns and anxieties more lucidly than we realise. This is evident in the case of an ideal of childhood innocence in rapid decay in recent decades. So claims Down with Childhood, as it takes in psychedelia's preoccupation with rebirth and inner-children, the fascination with juvenilia amidst an ebbing UK rave scene and dozens of nur Sometimes popular music registers our concerns and anxieties more lucidly than we realise. This is evident in the case of an ideal of childhood innocence in rapid decay in recent decades. So claims Down with Childhood, as it takes in psychedelia's preoccupation with rebirth and inner-children, the fascination with juvenilia amidst an ebbing UK rave scene and dozens of nursery rhyme hip-hop choruses spawned by a hit Jay-Z tune. As it examines the often complex sets of meanings to which the occasional presence of children in pop songs attests, the book pauses at Musical Youth's 'Pass the Dutchie' and other one-hit teen wonders, the career paths of child stars including Michael Jackson and Britney Spears, radical experiments in free jazz, and Black Panther influenced children's soul groups. In the process, a novel argument begins to emerge relating the often remarked crisis of childhood to changing experiences of work and play and ultimately, to an ongoing capitalist crisis that underlies them.

37 review for Down with Childhood: Pop Music and the Crisis of Innocence

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jenny Houle

    Received a free copy of this book through NetGalley for an unbiased opinion. I read the first section ("All That is Holy is Profaned"), at which point, I gave up, browsing briefly through to make sure that I wasn't walking away from something that might either improve or at least be readable. The author speaks in circles, and what a reader is supposed to get from it is completely lost.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Tom

    I’ve just put down “Down With Childhood”, and I’m still not sure what this was about. Sure, it was interesting to grab insights on the definition of “the ideal of childhood” throughout the years, with a nice soundtrack, but I think I missed the author’s point. And I really went great lengths to follow Paul Rekret’s thinking. Most of the time, the bridges built between the perception of childhood at a certain time and place, and the musical landscape/microcosm used to depict it seemed “made up”, n I’ve just put down “Down With Childhood”, and I’m still not sure what this was about. Sure, it was interesting to grab insights on the definition of “the ideal of childhood” throughout the years, with a nice soundtrack, but I think I missed the author’s point. And I really went great lengths to follow Paul Rekret’s thinking. Most of the time, the bridges built between the perception of childhood at a certain time and place, and the musical landscape/microcosm used to depict it seemed “made up”, not in a meaning of so-called ‘Fake News’, but in the sense that elements of any type of music from this past century could justify other points. I really wanted to make this book a journey, but I obviously missed the plane.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Nate Krenkel

    still like Nas more than Jay-Z

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sean Preston

    Fascinating insight into the influence of pop music on the perception of youth in society.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kathryn Parry

    A lot of this I didn't get to grip with what the author was getting at. Some made sense but a lot of the exploits of children seemed far fetched to me. A NetGalley review for an unbiased review.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Harry Phipps

  7. 4 out of 5

    Kristoffer

  8. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Green

  9. 4 out of 5

    Adam Nowek

  10. 5 out of 5

    Siobhán

  11. 4 out of 5

    Helen

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jaime

  13. 5 out of 5

    Connor Mesa

  14. 5 out of 5

    Micielle

  15. 4 out of 5

    Frederick Rotzien

  16. 5 out of 5

    LL

  17. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl Bradley

  18. 5 out of 5

    Wanda C

  19. 4 out of 5

    Melly Mel

  20. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Taylor-Cruz

  21. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

  22. 4 out of 5

    Gwen

  23. 5 out of 5

    Diana

  24. 5 out of 5

    Brooke

  25. 4 out of 5

    Shannon Wise

  26. 4 out of 5

    Katharine Adams

  27. 5 out of 5

    Brooke

  28. 5 out of 5

    Charissa Rate

  29. 4 out of 5

    Brittany

  30. 5 out of 5

    Mary A.

  31. 4 out of 5

    Whitney

  32. 5 out of 5

    Vitus Liske

  33. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

  34. 4 out of 5

    Pam Mooney

  35. 5 out of 5

    Sean Pestoff

  36. 4 out of 5

    Miranda

  37. 5 out of 5

    Jenn Fike

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