Musical responses to 9/11: From Conservative patriotism to radicalism



Musical responses to September 11th: From conservative patriotism to radicalism
by Martin Cloonan

Read about 9/11 and music censorship in “Musical responses to September 11th: From conservative patriotism to radicalism” – a chapter by Freemuse chairperson Martin Cloonan, from the book “9/11 – The world’s all out of tune Populäre Musik nach dem 11. September 2001” (ed. Dietrich Helms, Thomas Phleps)

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See also our 9/11 section

This article poses the question: What would a suitable American popular music response to the events of 9/11 sound like? In order to do this, first the initial musical responses to 9/11 are charted, before more longer term responses are characterised as being from conservative patriotic, liberal and radical angles. Throughout the article it is argued that musical responses were both inevitable and inevitably controversial. It is suggested that examination of the musical responses to 9/11, can give insights into both notions of American identity and the power of popular music in articulating them.

“I want to propose something very simple in this paper: that the attacks which took place on 11 September 2001 were attacks on the very idea of America. This is not a new idea. It was cited by the New York Times soon after the attack and subsequently by the cultural critic Greil Marcus (2002). But what I want to add is that as time went on it became clear that the musical responses which were made were defences of America. However, there were not uniform responses, but diverse ones and that is partly because the idea of America is not settled, but is open to contestation.
So what I want to do in the rest of this paper is to first examine notion that the attacks on 11 September were an attack on the idea of America, look briefly at the importance of identity within popular music, chart initial musical reactions to the events and then look at longer term reactions.”

“9/11 – The world’s all out of tune” Populäre Musik nach dem 11. September 2001
(Beiträge zur Popularmusikforschung 32, hg. von Dietrich Helms und Thomas Phleps) October 2004, 212 p., kart., 19,80 €  ISBN: 3-89942-256-2.  Reproduced with kind permission from the author and Transcript Verlag;

Transcript Verlag

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