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October 4, 2020 45 min

Glenn Fosbraey is the Head of English, Creative Writing, and American Studies at The University of Winchester where he specialises in the academic study of song lyrics. His publications include the book Writing Song Lyrics: Creative and Critical approaches (Palgrave MacMillan 2019), chapters 'Manipulation and truth in The Final Cut' in Pink Floyd. A Multi-disciplinary Understanding of a Global Music Brand. (Routledge 2020) and ‘I’m (not) your man’ 'Songs of Leonard Cohen', as well as the upcoming edited collection Misogyny, Toxic Masculinity, and Heteronormativity in Post-2000 Popular Music (Palgrave Macmillan) due later this year.

Glenn expresses that when The Kinks released The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society in 1968, it was perhaps the first album to focus on the everyday aspects of the life of the average person in Britain. As far removed as possible from the psychedelic introspection of the biggest selling bands of the time (led, of course, by The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band), ...Village Green delighted in detailing the smaller joys of British life, such as strawberry jam, draught beer, custard pies, and Desperate Dan.

Glenn describes that this celebration of every day can be traced across pop music ever since, and one of its biggest supporters, The Smiths, chose their band name as an antithesis to the Spandau Ballets and Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Darks of the music world. As the 21st Century arrived, the every day continued to be documented in popular music, led by Mike Skinner’s creative outlet The Streets. Skinner’s world is a portrait of everyday British life, with Kebab shops, greasy spoon cafes, cans of lager, London underground travel cards, Nike trainers, mobile phone ring tones, and ‘reeking jeans’.

Capturing the zeitgeist doesn’t have to involve the big issues of the day: for Glenn, the most effective way of capturing that moment in time is to chart the every day, the mundane, or the banal. Glenn's discussion circles around the importance of banality in pop music, and how it’s the smaller things in life that make song lyrics so important.

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