Who’s aloud* to have fun? On covers and identity crossing1 | Intellect Skip to content
1981
Special Section: Popular Music and the Environment
  • ISSN: 2397-6721
  • E-ISSN: 2397-673X

Abstract

Music educators regularly employ covers – or the performance of a version of a song previously performed or recorded by an artist – to learn and teach popular music. While covers might be an effective strategy towards music learning, issues of social justice become present when these covers cross genre and identity boundaries. How are educators and musicians to approach covers that enact these ethically perilous terrains? In this action-research and autoethnography-inspired study, I look at my cover of the song ‘Girls Just Want to Have Fun’ (Hazard 1979), performed by Cyndi Lauper in 1983. I explore the ethical aspects of me – a White male – aiming to perform this feminist anthem. Using a framework of strategic anti-essentialism, I suggest that covers can be a uniquely musical way to create solidarity by crossing identity boundaries in ways not available through language. This might become a framework for judging covers that cross identity and genre boundaries. I conclude with implications for music education practice as well as research, including using strategic anti-essentialism to structure discussion in the classroom.

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2022-12-28
2024-04-23
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