This study will compare the approaches used and ideas expressed by Simon Frith in his article "The Cultural Study of Popular Music" and Tricia Rose in her book Black Noise: Rap Music and Black Culture in Contemporary America. Specifically, the study will compare the authors' theoretical models, the aspects of media culture they emphasize, and the roles the indicate for the media researcher.
In general, Frith takes a far more theoretical, intellectual and sociological approach. Rose, on the other hand, is more specific in her analysis, more content-oriented, and far more involved as a researcher in her subject. Frith focuses on white rock or popular music in a number of towns in Great Britain, while Rose studies hip-hop and rap music insofar as it reflects realities within black culture in the United States. Frith is concerned far more with the general conclusions he can draw from his abstract analysis of the British rock music scene than he is with the actual lives and passions of the musicians themselves as it is reflected in their music. Rose, on the other hand, focuses with a laser-like light on the significance and passion of individual groups, musicians and rapper/songwriters as they express their concerns and obsessions in their music.
The abstract nature of Frith's approach can be seen throughout his article. He writes in a language and from the perspective of a theoretical model which, if his subjects read the piece, would appear utterly foreign. Summarizing another researcher's work, Frith says
This is not to say that rock isn't . . . oppositional to mainstream adult/bourgeois values, but, rather, that such ideological sounds are a matter of conscious decision, not immediate "street" expression. Musicians whose own social and educational backgrounds can be quite varied thus come together in their use of an oppositional voice, but the commitment is as much aesthetic as political (Frith 176).
This is not to say ...