Length/Format:  2.5 to 3 pages, double-spaced.  PDF format only! This format facilitates grading via Canvas. No “shared” google docs, no Word docs, no screen shots from your iPad (I swear that last one has happened more than once).

Grading Rubrics: See below after the prompt.


  1. Pick one song by any artist you deem creative and subversive in some way that interests you.
  2. Write a concise, well-written and argumentative essay analyzing that song and/or video/performative dimensions of it. You might cite only the lyrics and musical dimensions of the song (perhaps as connected to a particular genre, instrumentation, etc.). If the song has a music video or live performances related to it and you think they are relevant for your analysis you can also include analysis of the visual and performance elements.
  3. Your paper should:
    1. Briefly introduce the song and artist, providing an overall introductory argument for why you consider it creatively subversive.
    2. Make a substantive and evidenced argument for how it can be analyzed according to 1 of the 4 conceptual perspectives we covered in the first section of the course (i. Critical Theory, ii. Culture Industry Critique, iii. Transgressive Approach, iv. Performance Theory).
    3. This analysis should use in detail at least 2 of the key ideas we identified with the conceptual approach you choose to analyze the song AND make explicit connections, and where possible direct citations, to the authors/texts discussed on the day of the course dedicated to that conceptual approach.
    4. Provide a brief concluding thought to reinforce your main argument.
  4. Citations: For any and all citations that include direct quotations from course texts you can simply use a parenthetical in-text citation; it must include the page number. For example: As Bakhtin says about grotesque realism, “….” (Bakhtin, pg. X).  For the purposes of this short paper, there is no expectation of citing texts from OUTSIDE the course syllabus. However, if you choose to do so for the sake of your argument, you must include a proper bibliography at the end of your paper with the full reference.