The Meaning of Soul: Black Music and Resilience since the 1960s

The Meaning of Soul: Black Music and Resilience since the 1960s

by Emily J. Lordi

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Overview

In The Meaning of Soul, Emily J. Lordi proposes a new understanding of this famously elusive concept. In the 1960s, Lordi argues, soul came to signify a cultural belief in black resilience, which was enacted through musical practices—inventive cover versions, falsetto vocals, ad-libs, and false endings. Through these soul techniques, artists such as Aretha Franklin, Donny Hathaway, Nina Simone, Marvin Gaye, Isaac Hayes, and Minnie Riperton performed virtuosic survivorship and thus helped to galvanize black communities in an era of peril and promise. Their soul legacies were later reanimated by such stars as Prince, Solange Knowles, and Flying Lotus. Breaking with prior understandings of soul as a vague masculinist political formation tethered to the Black Power movement, Lordi offers a vision of soul that foregrounds the intricacies of musical craft, the complex personal and social meanings of the music, the dynamic movement of soul across time, and the leading role played by black women in this musical-intellectual tradition.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781478012245
Publisher: Duke University Press
Publication date: 07/24/2020
Series: Refiguring American Music
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 232
File size: 466 KB

About the Author

Emily J. Lordi is Associate Professor of English at Vanderbilt University and the author of Black Resonance and Donny Hathaway Live.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction: Keeping On
1. From Soul to Post-soul: A Literary and Musical History
2. We Shall Overcome, Shelter, and Veil: Soul Covers
3. Rescripted Relations: Soul Ad-libs
4. Emergent Interiors: Soul Falsettos
5. Never Catch Me: False Endings from Soul to Post-soul
Conclusion. "I'm Tired of Marvin Asking Me What's Going On": Soul Legacies and the Work of Afropresentism
Notes
Index

What People are Saying About This

Heavy: An American Memoir - Kiese Laymon


“Emily J. Lordi’s The Meaning of Soul will likely be the most important book I'll read this decade. Lordi reminds us that to hear Soul, one must actively listen to winding ways of Black folk. Lordi is the greatest listener this nation has created, and this book will remind us that liberation starts with Black sound.”

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