It’s True That We Love One Another: Gender Roles in the Music of Jack White

To say that Jack White has a complicated history with women would be a bit of an understatement. Many of his songs reflect on relationships with women. Several warn of the dangers of redheaded temptresses, and few have fairytale endings. He has survived two divorces, one of which was to a woman he led people to believe was his sister. Yet he frequently collaborates with women, and his most successful musical venture (The White Stripes) consisted solely of himself and his aforementioned sister/ex-wife, Meg White. If any music were ripe for comparison to an understanding of the nature of masculinity/femininity, this would be it. ***Masculinity/Femininity in Musicology*** Frankly, most attempts to analyze music through the guise of feminist criticism seem misguided and uninformative. The process of arbitrarily describing certain traits of music as masculine or feminine is archaic and counterproductive towards better understanding music, yet it is not as outdated as one might think. In his 1989 article “Dangerous Liaisons: The Literary Text in Musical Criticism,” noted musicologist Lawrence Kramer described aspects of musical uncertainty as “weakness characteristic of women’s thinking.” The 4th edition of the Harvard Dictionary of Music (copyright 2003) uses the terms “masculine” and “feminine” regarding cadences more »

Led Zeppelin & Identity: Analyzing “In Through the Out Door” in the Context of an Eriksonian Identity Crisis

It had always been difficult to pigeonhole Led Zeppelin’s music into something tidy and concise, but nothing from their canon stood out as much as In Through the Out Door.  The propulsive, guitar-driven machismo that had come to define the band is traded in for a symphony of synthesizers and music that has more connection to pop than heavy metal.  Released in 1979, this would become the group’s final studio album, although this was hardly their intention at the time. Zeppelin disbanded less than a year later after John Bonham’s death, and the suddenness of this tragic event forced them to cap their creative journey before it was able to run its course.  This was far from the only traumatic event endured by the band during this time, however.  Robert Plant’s son, Karac, had recently passed away at the age of five, and both Jimmy Page and Bonham struggled with addiction and substance abuse.  Page’s struggles prevented him from controlling the creative process like he had with every other Zeppelin record, and as a result, John Paul Jones was in charge of much of the musical direction.  With all of these weighty circumstances at play, the fact that their sound more »