How It Should Be Done

While I aim to examine the role of the body in a proper understanding of rock music, this will not be done at the total expense of some form of lyrical analysis (or vice versa).  What I want to get at more is the unique duality of Patti Smith, particularly as represented in “Because The Night”. This requires the use of lyrical analysis as well as a constant remembering that rock derives its real power from how it acts on the body; words matter, somewhat, but in Greil Marcus‘s words “ words are sounds that we can feel before they are statements to understand.” I feel that the physical impact of the music has a greater potency, perhaps, than the lyrics do, but both are there and need to be reckoned with in any thorough analysis.  These two things- the mind and body- are not opposing forces but are engaged in a constant relationship to produce meaning and should be seen as both being essential for a more complete understanding of how rock music works. What is needed is a balance and fullness of analysis that understands this ongoing and dialectic production of meaning. The unique duality and often-contradictory nature of Patti Smith is what makes her interesting to listen to, talk about and especially study in this manner.

 

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