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Journal article Open Access

'I Will Survive': musical mappings of queer social space in a disco anthem

Hubbs, Nadine

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    "description": "This essay reconsiders the constituencies of fans and detractors present at disco's 1970s\nprime and subsequent bursting. It argues for a more gender-inclusive conception of\ndisco's multiracial 'gay' revelers and for a particular convoluted conception of\n'homophobia' as this applies to the Middle-American youths who raged against disco in\nmidsummer 1979. Their historic eruption at Chicago's Comiskey Park came just weeks\nafter the chart reign of Gloria Gaynor's 'I Will Survive', today a classic emblem of gay\nculture in the post-Stonewall and AIDS eras and arguably disco's greatest anthem. Disco\ninspired fans and detractors, too, among music critics. Critical adulation and vitriol are\nconjoined in the present reading of musical rhetoric, which explores disco's celebrated\npower to induce rapture in devotees at the social margins while granting antidisco\ncritics' charge of inexpressivity in its vocals. In 'Survive' musical expressivity is\nrelocated in the high-production instrumentals, where troping of learned and vernacular,\nEuropean and Pan-American, sacred and profane timbres and idioms defines a euphoric\nspace of difference and transcendence. The use of minor mode for triumphant purposes is\nalso a striking marker of difference in 'Survive' and is among the factors at work in the\nsong's prodigious afterlife.", 
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    "title": "'I Will Survive': musical mappings of queer social space in a disco anthem", 
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    "publication_date": "2007-04-26", 
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