Aug 19, 2010
Music has a way of getting stuck in your head. No matter who you are, or where you are, it seems to have this effect. We turn to the man behind all those catchy songs from "School House Rock," Bob Dorough, to get some insight into what it takes to make a hook. Conjunction-junction, what IS your function?
Then we hear about the song written by an Englishman about an American city whose promise of togetherness really yields loneliness sung by a white Parisian woman everyone thought was black. Sound obscure? You know it. You love it. You hate it. You can forget all your troubles, forget all your cares, and go "Downtown!" The story of "Downtown" was produced by Alan Hall of Falling Tree Productions and originally aired on his series about pop songs, called "Repeat 'Til Fade."
Finally the phenomenon of American country music's popularity in places like Zimbabwe, Thailand, and South Africa is something we find quite surprising. Aaron Fox, an anthropologist of music at Columbia University, tells us to rethink our surprise... though he denies any kind of meaningful "universals" in music, he thinks that quite simply, country music tells a story that a lot of us get. Check out his book Real Country: Music And Language In Working-Class Culture to learn more.