Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Arts Journal - Words

Are Pop Music Lyrics Really Poetry? (The Answer Is Poetic)

Adam Bradley’s answer to the dorm-room question is nuanced but unequivocal, and boils down to this: Pop lyrics are not by themselves poetry, but pop songs can be. He does not fall into the trap of treating pop lyrics as technically equal to the heights scaled by great poetry; he understands that “song lyrics need music, voice, and performance to give them life.” He denies the need for “creating a canon of pop lyrics, so that Steven Tyler can sit with Shakespeare,” instead proposing a superb formulation: “Pop,” he writes, “is a poetry whose success lies in getting you to forget that it is poetry at all.”

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