Hey! Nietzsche! Leave Them Kids Alone!
Pop music still revolves, to a large extent, around romantic themes: the individual pitted against society, nature as a mirror for the soul and the primacy of feeling over thinking. Why do we still need it?
The Romantic period in literature, music and art began in the late 18th century, and drew to a close shortly before the 20th got underway. It was certainly well and truly over by the time rock and roll arrived on the scene in the 1950s. But listening to the radio today, you wouldn’t know it. Romance is everywhere, on every singer’s lips, in every video clip and promo shot, in every other word we use to describe or criticize music. Pop still revolves, to a large extent, around romantic themes; the individual pitted against society, nature as a mirror for the soul, the primacy of feeling over thinking, art as a substitute for religion and love as an escape from the world.
Given that Romanticism originally developed and flourished as a response to a very specific set of historical circumstances, the French Revolution, the expansion of industry and the growth of the middle-classes in Europe, the question is: why do we still need it? Are artists and fans simply stuck in a historical rut, or do the Romantics still have something important to say to us in the 21st century? Craig Schuftan demonstrates the extent of the Romantics’ influence on popular music, shows how an understanding of romantic themes and ideas can enrich our understanding of contemporary culture, and asks us to consider the implications of this two-hundred year-old retro trend. A lecture and multimedia presentation on the influence of Romantic philosophy and poetry in popular music.
Craig Schuftan is an author and broadcaster from Sydney, Australia, currently living in Berlin. He is the author of three books on music and popular culture. In 2009 he published: Hey! Nietzsche! Leave Them Kids Alone!: The Romantic Movement, Rock and Roll, and the End of Civilisation as We Know It. Schuftan has written extensively on the romantic movement and its enduring influence on popular culture, and presented talks, lectures and workshops on this subject in Australia, The Netherlands, Germany and the UK.
The Future’s Dust
Date & time: Thursday 20 February 2014 | 12 noon - 1 p.m.
The Future’s Dust is a Dutch formation that makes indie-pop music with a slightly mysterious and dark sound. Every song is characterized by it’s dynamic structure; from minimalistic to a warm full sound. Their style of music has similarities with artists such as The XX, James Blake and Bon Iver. Although they only recorded one EP (Marrakech) so far, they’ve already played at festivals like Oerol, Into The Great Wide Open and Welcome To The Village.
Audio recording lecture Craig Schuftan