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Political Music

Legitimization and Contestation

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Edited By Tomasz Bichta and Anna Szwed-Walczak

In the 12 chapters of this book the authors argue for the universal presence of music in public space and social relations. The examples of American, British, Hungarian, Polish and Russian music serve to elucidate two functions of political music, that of legitimizing and contesting political power. Both satirical songs with their ironic commentary on specific events and people as well as protest songs undermining the system corroborate the universal character of the legitimizing and delegitimizing function of music. The book is addressed to readers interested in countercultural movements and politically engaged music, especially to students of political studies, sociology and cultural studies.

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Forty Years of New Model Army: From Protest to Commenting on Reality. A Conversation with Justin Sullivan

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Tomasz Bichta1

Abstract: New Model Army is one of the major rock bands involved in the problems of the contemporary world. Since their inception, they have been independent, uncompromising and completely honest, without ever seeking acclaim. They observe reality, protest, indicate the mistakes made – all that to the rhythm of passionate, moving music. Such a stance endows New Model Army with a status of a cult band, and over a dozen of their albums enjoy an unwavering popularity among their staunch fans. The fortieth anniversary of the band’s activity proved a pretext to have a conversation with the band’s frontman, which addressed the connections between music and politics but also showed Justin Sullivan to be one of the most intelligent musicians of our time.

Keywords: New Model Army, Justin Sullivan, political music, British postpunk, independence, passionate music, politically engaged lyrics

Some performers unfairly remain in the shadow of their more famous colleagues, but in return enjoy much greater artistic vitality and creative freedom than others. They do not have to meet anyone’s expectations or adapt to the current fashions. They only do what they want to do. Their bond with their fans is therefore much stronger than the one that connects an average pop star with his or her freakish audience. New Model Army is a band that perfectly corresponds to this pattern. The stance of the band has not changed since the beginning of their activity. As a matter of fact, today the...

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