Karen Tongson "Why Karen Carpenter Matters" Book (2019)
Karen Tongson "Why Karen Carpenter Matters" Book (2019)
University of Texas Press

Karen Tongson "Why Karen Carpenter Matters" Book (2019)

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Details: Karen Tongson "Why Karen Carpenter Matters" (Music Matters Series) Book (2019, University of Texas Press). 0.5" H x 6.9" L x 5.0" W, 152 pages. New stock.

Description: "An exploration of Karen Carpenter's enduring ability to transcend cultural differences, bridging not only American suburbia and the author's native Philippines but also diverse communities and fan cultures worldwide."

Grade: M (new stock)

Full Description: "In the '60s and '70s, America's music scene was marked by raucous excess, reflected in the tragic overdoses of young superstars such as Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin. At the same time, the uplifting harmonies and sunny lyrics that propelled Karen Carpenter and her brother, Richard, to international fame belied a different sort of tragedy--the underconsumption that led to Karen's death at age thirty-two from the effects of an eating disorder.

In Why Karen Carpenter Matters, Karen Tongson (whose Filipino musician parents named her after the pop icon) interweaves the story of the singer's rise to fame with her own trans-Pacific journey between the Philippines--where imitations of American pop styles flourished--and Karen Carpenter's home ground of Southern California. Tongson reveals why the Carpenters' chart-topping, seemingly whitewashed musical fantasies of "normal love" can now have profound significance for her--as well as for other people of color, LGBT+ communities, and anyone outside the mainstream culture usually associated with Karen Carpenter's legacy. This hybrid of memoir and biography excavates the destructive perfectionism at the root of the Carpenters' sound while finding the beauty in the singer's all too brief life."

Author: "Karen Tongson is an associate professor of English, gender and sexuality studies, and American studies and ethnicity at the University of Southern California. She is also the author of Relocations: Queer Suburban Imaginaries and the co-editor of the Postmillennial Pop book series at NYU Press. Her cultural commentary has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, and other publications, and she is a panelist on the "Pop Rocket" podcast."

Press: "Why Karen Carpenter Matters is about the kind of chart-topping suburban pop that lies at the core of white capitalist mythology--sunny and sentimental, meticulously calibrated for Nixon-era FM radio. But the book centers on those at the margins of American society, revealing how the Carpenters' music resonated with immigrants, LGBTQ folks, and people of color who craved the idyllic normalcy that the siblings embodied...In this exploration of her namesake's legacy, [Tongson] deftly weaves memoir, history, and cultural criticism to highlight the dynamic relationship between artists and listeners--all the while avoiding the militant 'yasss girl' identity politics that have come to define modern fandom.-- "Pitchfork, "Best Music Books of 2019"