Deconstruction of Melody and Rhythm as Aesthetic Elements of Contemporary Popular Music (the Case of Kanye West’s Album «Yeezus»)

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Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
J Muu elektroninen julkaisu
Date
2020
Department
Major/Subject
Mcode
Degree programme
Language
en
Pages
Pages 28-33
Series
POPULAR INQUIRY: The Journal of the Aesthetics of Kitsch, Camp and Mass Culture, 1/2020
Abstract
One of the main problems of the study of the verbalization of musical aesthetics is the phenomenon of consumption of musical products during the radical transformation of musical structures. What the audience is guided by when it comes to emotional and visual perception of music, if basic sound mechanics of influence on consciousness cease to be relevant? The melody serves as the basis for the brainworm phenomenon. But the paradox is modern music space are full of rhythm-based musical compositions. This is the basis for the designation of a new musical aesthetics. It is important to understand that we talk about popular music. According to Nielsen for 2017, hip-hop has become the most popular genre in America. An important precedent phenomenon that changed the vector of development of mass music was the release of the sixth Kanye West album “Yeezus”, called a “protest against music” by the musician himself, but later established as a new aesthetic model, which became the dominant feature in modern pop music. Deprived of the traditional mechanisms of broadcasting musical pop aesthetics, the album occupied the top-3 of the American and English charts, and later became “platinum”. The eclectic mix of different genres suddenly turned into a mainstream. Among the main elements of the “sound canvas” of “Yeezus”, we can point out “ragged” rhythms, “tracks within tracks” and “aggressive” auto-tuning. In this study, we used the methods of qualitative and quantitative content analysis as well as musicological analysis. Quantitative content analysis allowed us to determine the emotional coloring of the comments of the audience and the texts of the authors of posts on the social network VKontakte immediately after the release of the precedent phenomenon. Qualitative content analysis is used to determine what verbal techniques were used to describe the object of study. Musicological analysis allowed us to isolate from the sheet music elements inherent in the new musical aesthetics and to highlight their functions partially. We concluded that the deliberate merging of many imaginative, semantic, historical and cultural plans is a key feature of modern musical aesthetics, and the postmodernist phenomenon of polystylism acquires a new life. With such a mechanism of creating a “musical canvas”, a feeling of harmony is created within the framework of the modern picture of the world, but there are a lot of contradictions when considering each of the elements separately, if the context is understood, a condition that cannot always be met by a mass audience.
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Keywords
aesthetics, Kanye West, keys study, mass media, musical structures, new music, postmodernism
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