In Pop Music and Hip Ennui: A Sonic Fiction of Capitalist Realism, Macon Holt provides the imaginative and analytical resources to think with contemporary pop music to investigate the ambivalences of contemporary culture and the potentials in it for change. Drawing on Kodwo Eshun’s practice of Sonic Fiction and Mark Fisher’s analytical framework of capitalist realism, Holt explores the multiplicities contained in contemporary pop from sensation to abstraction and from the personal to the political. Pop Music and Hip Ennui unravels the assumptions embedded in the cultural and critical analysis of popular music. In doing so, it provides new ways to understand the experience of listening to pop music and living in the sonic atmosphere it produces. This book neither excuses pop’s oppressive tendencies nor dismisses the pleasures of its sensations.
“Kodwo Eshun and Mark Fisher meet at the London Olympics and watch David Letterman on YouTube: With his playfully written and erudite inquiry Macon Holt employs sonic fiction to trace the cracks of progressively imploding capitalist realism. One can read this scholarly work at the same time as an unsettling and disorienting essay and as a suggestive piece of speculative fiction. If I had to select one crucial study on popular culture this year – it would definitely be Holt’s book.” – Holger Schulze, Professor in Musicology at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, and Principal Investigator at the Sound Studies Lab
“Taking a lead from Mark Fisher’s notion of capitalist realism and Kodwo Eshun’s on sonic fiction, Macon Holt engages with the enjoyment of pop within our contemporary political climate. From how music shimmers, to affects, to memories, how we are hearing and feeling, and the way pop music captures attention, the book focuses the intersections of contemporary pop culture and political realities.” – Erik Steinskog, Associate Professor of Musicology, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
“Pop Music and Hip Ennui offers a refreshing take on the cultural politics of recent popular music. Holt moves deftly between the analytical and abstract, on the one hand, and the personal and subjective, on the other. When he analyses particular musical works, the discussions are powerful and revealing. The book’s singularity, together with its urgency in facing contemporary cultural dilemmas head-on, is why I consider it so valuable.” – Steven Shaviro, DeRoy Professor of English, Wayne State University, USA