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What's Love Got to Do with It?: Emotions and Relationships in Pop Songs Paperback – November 22, 2011

5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Thomas Scheff's new book, What's Love Got to Do with It, successfully addresses the seemingly impossible task of analyzing the lyrics selected from decades of American popular music as way to show the reader the cultural and social ramifications of these lyrics and how they reflect the way each generation dealt with the ups and downs of loving relationships. Like Thucydides History of the Peloponesian War Scheff is there in the midst of things, and his front line reportage is both thought-provoking and brilliant. --David Amram, conductor and composer

The spectacular scope of Thomas Scheff's sociological work -- from mental illness and marital stress to laughter, genius, and the origin of war -- now expands yet further to include this highly innovative investigation of the content of popular songs, with special reference to the emotional economy of love and loss in modern life. --Donald Black, University Professor of the Social Sciences at the University of Virginia

About the Author

Thomas J. Scheff Professor Emeritus at the University of California, Santa Barbara, has published many books and articles, including Goffman Unbound: Toward a New Microsociology (Paradigm 2006).
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge (November 22, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594518165
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594518164
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.5 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,275,379 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
In "What's love got to do with it?" Thomas Scheff takes us through 70 years of popular songs. We learn that over the years the most common top 40 of the so-called love songs are not only about love but also infatuation, alienation and heartbreak.
The lyrics have also a lot to say about us and about our society. He shows that popular songs provide a special picture of emotions, especially love, and that the English language is not good at portraying emotions. Scheff argues that the emotion terms in the western world are so ambiguous that we hardly know what we are talking about. So the book provides an excellent overview of how to simplify and clarify our emotion language.
I highly recommend this book. It is well written, fun, informative and engaging. Start reading it and you can't stop until you have finished.

Bengt Starrin, Karlstad University, Sweden
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Format: Paperback
Tom Scheff wrote this book in a way that is clear and meaningful to me. I like the way he uses popular songs to help with the understanding of emotions. It will help all people, including teachers and their students, become more in touch with their emotions. I'm inspired to pay more attention to my emotional signals. In so doing, I believe that personal relationships, work relationships, and many other aspects of a person's life, will be enhanced.
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Format: Hardcover
I read this book from cover to cover in a single day - I could not put it down. There is so much more to this book than the fun of reminiscing over familiar songs and lyrics. Interwoven among the wonderful old favorites are amazing insights into the basis for successful relationships that endure and what causes others to falter. This book is a keeper, both interesting and informative. It's one I'll save and read again.
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Format: Paperback
This new book documents the results of the near Herculean task of analyzing romantic
song lyrics over the past 80 years. Fortunately, as the author tells us, they
conveniently divide into four types: heartbreak, infatuation, love, and other.
And surprisingly for me, he finds the proportions of each type to be rather stable
even though the eras from the 1930's to the 2000's were vastly different in terms
of cultural norms and social mores. More importantly, however, I found it was not
the analysis of the top pop songs for each decade that made this book interesting
to me but the author's developing argument that popular love songs tend to steer listeners away from a
more healthy view of emotions surrounding love. In the closing chapter, Scheff gives some
suggestions for steps to be taken toward creating more helpful lyrics by acknowledging
rather than suppressing emotions. This book is, in fact, helpful for all to read about
taking a more realistic approach to understanding our emotions and drawing a more realistic
picture of "being in love".
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