“Are pop music lyrics poetry? A tour of musical history that gets to the bottom of this age-old question.”
Featured in Washington Post’s 50 Notable Non-Fiction Books of 2017.
The Poetry of Pop looks into a hundred years of recorded music and showcases popular songs’ poetic artistry. Although pop music is looked down upon to a certain degree amongst the general populace, it cannot be forgotten that songs from this genre are first and foremost music. Also, they are made up of some of the most universally distributed poetic expressions in this day and age. To draw attention to these facts, Adam Bradley explores various genres and traces song lyric in these genres going back a hundred years. The genres range from the recent pop music to the mid-century rock ‘n’ roll, going all the way back to the early part of the twentieth century and the Delta blues that were popular then.
Over the decades there have been many songs that pay immense and detailed attention to the art that is sound and language. Notable examples include but are not limited to ‘Diamonds’ by Rihanna, ‘(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction’ by the Rolling Stones and ‘Fascinating Rhythm by Ira and George Gershwin.
In The Poetry of Pop, Adam Bradley brings to the fore the notion that we need to listen to instead of reading the poetry that is pop music. In doing so, we can discover the metaphors, the rhymes and the rhythms that are expressed through the singing voice. The book wears many hats simultaneously: cultural analysis, musical interpretation, personal storytelling and even literary criticism. It demonstrates how compelling poetry comes from the blend of words and music, sometimes from places that we do not expect it to.