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A book review of Pop Science: Serious Answers to Deep Questions Posed in Songs by James Ball

A book review of Pop Science: Serious Answers to Deep Questions Posed in Songs by James Ball

Stars: ***

Ten Speed Press (2019)
Pop Culture
192 pages

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Summary: Some of the most famous questions of our time have come to us in pop songs. “What is love?” “How soon is now?” “How do you solve a problem like Maria?” But do you know the answers?
 
Breaking down lyrics from Bob Dylan, Queen, Rihanna, the Ting Tings, Billy Joel, and a variety of other genre- and decade-spanning artists with colorful graphs and Venn diagrams, Pop Science reveals the exact points where lowbrow pop culture and the highest science and philosophy meet. By revealing the economic status of doggies in windows, what war is good for, and what becomes of the brokenhearted, James Ball uncovers what we have always known—that pop music is the key to life itself.

Pop Science

This is a little book that has fun with popular songs. It takes those songs and puts a scientific spin on it. The author pretends that the musical artists are scientists. He even calls them by last name first. So Bob Dylan is referred to as Dylan, B. Personally I thought this was a little weird, especially for those who I didn’t recognize by last name. He also pretends that the songs are scientific studies.

“This is puzzling: Loaf is actually extremely specific in his treatise on what he would or would not do for love, specifically pledging just two things he would not do to his unnamed lover – he pledges never to lie to her, and never to screw around.”

pg 40 What Wouldn’t Meat Loaf Do? from the song I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That) by Meatloaf

You’ll find older songs ( Where Have All the Flowers Gone? by Peter, Paul and Mary) or (How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria from The Sound of Music) and newer songs ( Call Me Maybe? by Carly Rae Jepsen) or (What Does the Fox Say? by Ylvis.)

Sometimes the answer actually has to do with the question and other times, it’s purposely about the wrong thing.

It’s a funny book but it really only makes sense if you know the songs.

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About Kathleen

I've been a nonfiction lover for as long as I can remember. I love children's nonfiction as well and love to share my knowledge and the books I gained them from, with the world. I wish more people would give nonfiction a chance.

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