Master of Music
Popular Music and Culture
Using Antoine Hennion’s “anti-musicology”, this research project proposes a methodology for studying music production that empowers production choices as the primary analytical tool. It employs this methodology to analyze Kesha’s Rainbow, Janelle Monáe’s Dirty Computer, and St. Vincent’s Masseduction according to four, encompassing groups of production elements: musical elements, lyrical elements, personal elements, and narrative elements. All three albums were critical and commercial successes, and analyzing their respective choices offers valuable insight into the practice of successful producers that could not necessarily be captured by methodologies traditionally used for studying production, such as the interview. Further, as self-productions by female producers, these records confront and disrupt gendered perceptions of the production role that have mythologized and mischaracterized it in discourse. By unpacking the work of three radical producers, this thesis advocates for, and seeks to contribute to, reforming production discourse.
Summary for Lay Audience
This project argues for reforming the study of music production by focusing on the choices made by producers. It uses Antoine Hennion’s “anti-musicology” methodology to accordingly analyze Kesha’s Rainbow, Janelle Monáe’s Dirty Computer, and St. Vincent’s Masseduction as production case studies. All three albums were critical and commercial successes, and uncovering the production choices behind those successes offers greater insight than traditional interviews necessarily could. This project further seeks to redefine how production is thought of and studied by focusing on the work of three female artist-producers, when the production role has historically been characterized as male.
Wilton, Lydia, "The Elements of Production: Myth, Gender, and the "Fundamental Task" of Producing Popular Music" (2019). Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository. 6350.
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