The Meaning of Soul: Black Music and Resilience Since the 1960s

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Product Details
Duke University Press
Publish Date
6.0 X 8.9 X 0.5 inches | 0.65 pounds

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About the Author
Emily J. Lordi is Associate Professor of English at Vanderbilt University and the author of Black Resonance and Donny Hathaway Live.
"An exquisite work of sound scholarship, The Meaning of Soul offers a new narrative of soul music that compels us to rethink what we have missed about the genre and the political moment it inhabited. It at last articulates a usable, inclusive definition of soul, filling a critical gap in our understanding of black music and sociopolitical experiences in the United States and across the diaspora."--Zandria F. Robinson
"The Meaning of Soul is a thoughtful, lively journey through rich musical archives that expands the definition of what it
means to be a soul artist."--Rachel Jagareski "Foreword Reviews" (7/1/2020 12:00:00 AM)
"Emily J. Lordi's The Meaning of Soul will likely be the most important book I'll read this decade. Lordi reminds us that to hear soul, one must actively listen to the winding ways of black folk. Lordi is the greatest listener this nation has created, and this book will remind us that liberation starts with black sound."--Kiese Laymon
"Emily J. Lordi incisively and insightfully takes up the daunting task of resurrecting, dissecting, and disentangling soul's wide-ranging legacy, spillage, and overlap in black popular culture, black academia, and radical black politics. Her generation-leaping contrasts of the soul and 'post-soul' era's most spiritualized and radicalized avatars from James Brown to Beyoncé serve up poignant and often piquant musicological reveals about classic, epochal recordings of Civil Rights-era and contemporary vintage. Lordi illuminates the evolutionary artistry that ensures the poetics, production, and ethos of soul kulcha sustain staying power as a haunted (and hainted) arbiter of black resilience, resistance, and embattled maroon futurism. With wit, detail, and ruminative verve Lordi narrates and interrogates how the journey of the soul meme's movements within musical blackness navigates a crossroads full of split desire for both incendiary grassroots action and an infinity of intimate release."--Greg Tate
"Lordi's book is essential reading, for she brilliantly guides us to reconsider the meaning of soul and to redefine it."--Henry Carrigan "No Depression" (7/23/2020 12:00:00 AM)
"A strong choice for libraries supporting African American studies or popular American music programs."--Jeffrey Hastings "Library Journal" (6/1/2020 12:00:00 AM)
"Detailing not only the evolution of the genre but of the criticism surrounding it, The Meaning Of Soul is a heartfelt appreciation as well as a welcome addition to the scholarly soul canon."--Michael A Gonzales "The Wire" (9/1/2020 12:00:00 AM)
"Few cultural theorists listen to music this well or joyfully; few critics place their judgments and pleasures within as persuasive a theoretical framework."--Keith Harris "CityPages" (9/2/2020 12:00:00 AM)
"With welcoming prose that belies its density, The Meaning of Soul focuses on ostensibly unconventional creative choices: soul singers' covers of songs written by white artists; ad-libs, improvisations, and mistakes; the uses of falsetto and the 'false endings' that trickle throughout the oeuvres of many Black artists. She is attentive to the significant contributions of the female architects of the genre. . . . Lordi gives a deft, concise accounting of soul music's political and social milieu."--Danielle A. Jackson "Bookforum" (9/1/2020 12:00:00 AM)
"Lordi's distinct takes on the genre are refreshing, built on close listening to artists like Riperton and Donny Hathaway and explorations of albums that reside outside the soul canon."-- "Kirkus Reviews" (4/21/2020 12:00:00 AM)
"Lordi vividly illustrates that soul artists offer models of black resistance, joy, and community through their songs. This is a must-read for musicologists, critics, and fans of soul." (Starred Review)-- "Publishers Weekly" (5/26/2020 12:00:00 AM)
"Meaning of Soul is a needed corrective, challenging how scholarship and much of popular culture remembers the soul music era. Lordi refuses descriptions of the era that only allow its brightest stars and biggest names full consideration.... Her work serves as an exemplar for inclusive genre analysis that makes room for musical possibility."--Fredara Mareva Hadley "Journal of Musicological Research" (3/30/2021 12:00:00 AM)
"Lordi's love for soul music, vibrant writing, and analytical acumen coalesce in a book that is difficult to put down. Readers are unlikely to hear soul music the same way ever again. Essential. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty; professionals; general readers."--S. Graham "Choice" (10/1/2021 12:00:00 AM)