A1 Journal article – refereed
‘The sound of Thatcherism on vinyl’: New pop, early neo-right aspirations and Spandau Ballet

List of Authors: Kallioniemi Kari
Publisher: Intellect
Place: Bristol
Publication year: 2017
Journal: Journal of European Popular Culture
Journal acronym: JEPC
Volume number: 8
Issue number: 2
eISSN: 2040-6134


Since the heyday of mass culture criticism, capitalism has been linked to a certain music. Whether it be Hollywood musicals, disco or Theodor Adorno’s idea of atonal music as an antidote to the logic of capitalism, the evaluation of certain kinds of (popular) musical culture as an epitome of capitalist ideology has arisen from time to time. The early Thatcher era created the pop world in which the glorification of style, consumerism and marketing philosophy sent the message that capitalist values (in the style of 1980s’ anti-Thatcher rhetoric: consumer desire, materialism and stylistic excesses) were becoming an increasingly integral part of the new pop culture, first aspirationally, but later inadvertently intertwined with the economic values of the New Right. Some British music and artists coming from the 1980s – because of the theorizing of the market economy in their image and work – were connected to the cultural ethos of Thatcherism. In particular, the white soul boy band Spandau Ballet was one of them. This article will ask in which ways Spandau Ballet embodied these neo-liberal aspirations, and how ambiguously the Thatcherism of their times defined the idea of the band and their music.

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Last updated on 2019-29-01 at 15:35