Next month we’re adding two new books to our Genre series: ’70s Teen Pop and Krautrock. If you’re not yet familiar with this series, think of Genre as your guide through musical sub-genres that have intrigued, perplexed, or provoked listeners. Much like the original 33 1/3 series, each book offers new perspectives, song recommendations, little-known tidbits, personal stories, and above all, ways of thinking about music.
’70s Teen Pop
During the 1970s, teen pop challenged the status quo it seemed to represent. Male pop stars like David Cassidy were shown suggestively in popular magazines and female pop stars like Cher had their own TV shows. Teen magazines, pin-ups, comics, films, and TV programs provided luscious visual stereo, promoting fashion styles, lingo, and dance moves, signaling individual identity but also community.
The music provided a way for young people to believe they had something all their own, an authenticity experimenting with sexuality and social conduct, all dressed up in glitter and satin, blue jeans and boom boxes, torn fishnets and safety pins and, magically, their dreams. Cartoon pop and made-for-TV bands! Bubblegum pop! Glam! Hip hop! Hard rock and pop rock and stadium rock! Punk! Disco! Teen pop reinforced aspects of the counterculture it absorbed as the music kept playing—and playing back.
At it’s heart, ’70s Teen Pop examines an era when evolving gender roles promised liberation, and a true counterculture seemed possible through music.
In May 1945, the Allies defeated Nazi Germany, putting an end to the European front of World War II and the Third Reich. In the immediate aftermath, German youth were tasked to create their own culture. Krautrock is this unlikely success story, as hundreds of bands seemed to sprout overnight in the early 1970s, forging a unique and experimental sound that was different than American or British rock.
Krautrock explores the history and methodology of the genre, charting its influences and innovations, its more mainstream acts (like Faust, Kraftwerk, and Can) as well as the less universally known (including Harmonia, Popol Vuh, Embryo, and Ash Ra Tempel), and how the genre developed in post-war Germany and what it means to today’s listeners.
In many ways, Krautrock is not a music genre. Krautrock is a way of life, and this is a band-by-band history.