Distinguished Lecture Series: Musicologist Joanna Demers

12 October 2017 04:00 PM – 06:00 PM
Location: Schoenberg Music Bldg. Room 1439 , 445 Charles Young Drive East, Los Angeles, CA 90095, Los Angeles, California, United States
Category: Department of Musicology

Musicologist Joanna Demers, “Louchitude, or Questionable Choices in Recent French Pop”

Thursday, October 12, 2017, 4:00 PM
Schoenberg Music Building, Room 1439
Free Admission

Joanna Demers writes both scholarly and creative works that explore philosophical issues in recent music. She is Associate Professor of Musicology at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music, where she teaches courses on post-1945 popular and experimental music and aesthetics.

Louchitude, or Questionable Choices in Recent French Pop
French popular music has a sleazy reputation. This is thanks in large part to Serge Gainsbourg, whose most infamous songs feature orgasms ("Je t'aime moi non plus", from 1969) and describe masturbation ("Variations sur Marilou", from 1976) or incestuous fantasies ("Lemon Incest", from 1984). But other French pop artists have been found guilty through association, and not always due to salacious content. In the critical reception of two recent artists, Sébastien Tellier and Philippe Katerine, sleaziness has become a signature aspect of the music itself, and is predicated on dubious artistic judgment rather than anything concretely salacious. Demers' talk situates these concepts of aesthetic guilt and innocence amid larger anxieties about white hetero-masculinity in France.