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Popular Culture and Protest-Contemporary Protest Soundtrack: An Analysis of The Billboard Year End Rock Charts
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Media Studies.
2015 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Display of disagreement in a public space under the form of strikes, rallies and not only, is not the sole form of protest. Popular culture can easily be used to send messages of discontent. The paper focuses on popular music by looking at one of the most representative music charts in the world: The Billboard Chart. By screening the Year End Billboard Rock Chart for a period of 5 years the paper tries to identify songs that can be labelled as protest songs and see what they are protesting against, what themes they address, what are their characteristics and how are the messages transmitted in both textual and visual narratives, in order to draw a picture of the contemporary protest song that is present in a popular chart. The theoretical framework of the paper discusses popular culture, the classical image of the protest song, the creational process of music within the music industry and its politic and economic sides. After a first screening of the charts with the help of content analysis, by using the concept of narrative, the paper examines the stories presented in the lyrics and, where possible, the videos made for the songs. The findings of the paper show that even if not respecting the theoretical characteristics of the classical protest song, The Year End Billboard Rock Chart has several songs with strong political messages either in lyrics or videos or in both at the same time.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. , 77 p.
Keyword [en]
popular culture, protest, music
National Category
Media and Communications
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-120365OAI: diva2:852067
Available from: 2016-02-16 Created: 2015-09-07 Last updated: 2016-02-16Bibliographically approved

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