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1. Evaluate the social, cultural and intellectual context of an influential album release from 1976 to the present day

PM601 Analytical Perspectives

Key Information



BA (Hons) Music Business BA (Hons) Music Journalism

BA (Hons) Professional Musicianship BA (Hons) Songwriting

BMus (Hons) Popular Music Performance

Module Code:


Module Level:


Module Credits:


Pre-requisite module or learning:

PM501 Cultural Perspectives

Module type:


Teaching & Learning

Lectures: 24 x 1 hour

Webinar: 24 x 1 hour

Tutorials: 2 x 30 minutes

Personal Development Time: 151 Hours

Module Summary: PM601 Analytical Perspectives 

Professional musicians and artists who appreciate the intellectual context of their work are more likely to sustain long-term success and credibility. Few established popular musicians are unaware of the traditions in which they perform, while artists who understand contemporary developments in wider popular culture can build on that knowledge to produce more innovative material.

This module presents a critical history of popular music and popular culture from 1976 to the present day. Significant artists will be examined in relation to their cultural, social or political impact and, most importantly, according to their intellectual context. In so-doing this module will draw on foundational elements of cultural theory, such as the ideas that emanated from the Frankfurt School and other contemporary developments in postmodern culture.

This module will oblige students to engage with in depth reading and demonstrate an appropriate level of academic rigour. You will be required to engage in critical debate with full justifications and explanations for your reasoning. You will be encouraged to develop a sophisticated understanding of the issues raised, and to analyse and evaluate the intellectual circumstances of significant moments in the history of popular music since 1976.


Students will be encouraged to examine significant moments (and movements) in the evolution of popular music and popular culture since 1976. Important artists and their work within each genre will be analysed according to their theoretical context.

Themes may include:

ì Lyrical inventiveness and musical creativity

ì Cultural, social and political developments

ì Economic, social and technological change

ì Theoretical approaches to popular culture

ì The intellectual context of popular music

Indicative Study Topics: PM601 Analytical Perspectives 

ì Theodor Adorno and the Frankfurt School

ì Postmodernism in pop and rock music

ì Post-colonialism and African-American cultural expression in funk, hip hop, ebonics, gangsta rap

ì The rise and fall of disco

ì Krautrock: synthesizers, sampling and the avant-garde

ì Punk and post-punk culture

Formative Assessment

Formative assessment includes tutorials, Q&A and discussion sessions in class.

There are additional opportunities for formative feedback on student progress by means of the email negotiation of essay titles and email feedback on draft essays in Semester 2

On completion of this module a successful student will be able to:



Summative Assessment




Learning Outcomes


Assessment Weighting

Formative/ Summative

Assessment Week

Individual or Group




3,000 words








Submission Week


Submission Deadline

Please see the module`s

Moodle page for specific deadlines

Assessment Weighting



3000 words


This assignment asks you to evaluate the social, cultural, political and intellectual context of an important and influential album release in the period 1976 to the present day.

You are required to develop a clear and coherent written argument that demonstrates deep reading (including material on the course reference list and peer review academic journals) and demonstrate an appreciation of the module’s rationale.

Choose an artist from the period 1976-present day and examine their relationship to their cultural, social and intellectual context with reference to an important or influential album. Engage with appropriate theoretical approaches such as critical theory, postmodernism, and others where relevant.

The work should be well structured and free from grammatical errors. Essays should be presented according to the written work submission guidelines published in this manual. All quotes and ideas should be fully referenced using HRS and all written work submissions should include a Reference List.

The essay title can be taken from the suggestions provided on Moodle or can be negotiated in advance via email discussion with the course tutor. Self-authored titles should consist of a quote pertaining to the chosen artist and taken from appropriate reading material.

Here is an example of a well-formatted essay title:

“Thriller demonstrated a kind of across the board appeal that established new and still unduplicated heights of commercial success.” Discuss.

Starr, L. & Waterman, C. (2003) American Popular Music. London: OUP. p. 385

Assessed Learning Outcomes: PM601 Analytical Perspectives 

Learning outcomes:

Students will be assessed on their ability to:

1. Evaluate the social, cultural and intellectual context of an influential album release from 1976 to the present day

Demonstrate a detailed knowledge and informed understanding of an album release from a genre- defining artist

Comment critically on the contribution of that artist to popular music and popular culture

Comment on the interaction between popular music and important cultural, social and/or intellectual developments during this period

2. Engage with appropriate theoretical approaches to popular music

Identify and engage with appropriate theoretical approaches

Use theoretical approaches to evaluate the significance of an influential album from the given time frame

Construct an informed appraisal of a culturally significant work from a key artist

3. Present informed and referenced work with an accompanying reference list

Demonstrate academic rigour by engaging with a wide range of literature (including peer review journals and other resources on the reading list) Present fully referenced work accompanied by a detailed and relevant reference list

Present arguments coherently and clearly

Submission Details

Turnitin Submission

Submission Location: Moodle Module Page File type: PDF or Word Doc

File Size limit: 40MB

Labelling: student number, module code, and assessment number (see above), e.g. 1234567 XX123 A1

You must submit your work as one single file.

For detailed guidelines on the submission of work for assessment, marking schemes, plagiarism, marking penalties, feedback and all other generic assessment information, please refer to the BIMM Academic Regulations, which are available here: https://www.bimm.ac.uk/governance-and-quality/policies- procedures-and-key-documents/

PM601 Analytical Perspectives 

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