Éditions Seteun

Dossier hip-hop

’So Empty Without Me’

Intermediality, Intertextuality and Non-commercial Factors in the Evaluation of Pop Music : The (not so) Strange Case of MTV and Eminen

Gianni Sibilla

Abstract : This paper deals with the role of media in dif­fu­sing music, focu­sing par­ti­cu­larly on music videos and Eminem’s Without Me. It will try to demons­trate that, with the ever gro­wing role of media in impo­sing artists cha­rac­te­ri­zed by a good look or abi­lity to impose their fi gure through contro­ver­sies, we can say that music is no longer eva­lua­ted or judged by fol­lo­wing “tra­di­tio­nal” cri­ti­cal terms that rely on music itself. The aes­the­tic concerns of pop music texts now focus mainly on the co-tex­tual, para-tex­tual and exter­nal ele­ments of the song, that appear with all their impact force espe­cially in music videos such as Without Me. This essay is divi­ded in four parts. In the first, the essay will attempt to define what “pop music” is. This term must not to be consi­de­red as a syno­nym for “popu­lar music”, but as a spe­ci­fic branch in this field. Pop music is an inter­me­dial and inter­tex­tual phe­no­me­non defi ned by its posi­tion in the contem­po­rary medias­cape. The second part briefl y out­li­nes the six nodes that create a web through which pop music is dif­fu­sed : the recor­ded song, the per­for­mance, the musi­cal press, radio, tra­di­tio­nal visual media, and new media. Thirdly, there will be a dis­cus­sion about how the media eva­luate pop music in non-musi­cal terms, focu­sing par­ti­cu­larly on music videos, MTV and video music chan­nels. In the last part, a par­ti­cu­lar text is consi­de­red (Eminem’s music video Without me) to show that, no matter how good or bad, in visual media image and per­for­mance pre­vail over music.

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