chapter
Popular Music as a "Social Cement": A Content Analysis of Social Criticism and Alienation in Alternative-Music Song Titles
Pages 18

For musicologist Theodor Adorno (1941:39) the strength of popular music lies in its ability to act as a "social cement," creating a feeling of identification in each listener and making him feel part of a common group. He described popular songs as social products created within a fairly standardized format and designed to arouse the listener's emotions. A pop song, therefore, has its greatest effect when it expresses emotions the listener is unable to express himself because of personal repression or social taboos (Adorno, 1976). For this reason, Adorno feels that popular music must be studied in terms of its effect on the listener rather than for its musical content.