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Title: Popular cultural cringe: Language as signifier of authenticity and quality in the Singaporean popular music market
Authors: Mattar, Y. 
Issue Date: May-2009
Citation: Mattar, Y. (2009-05). Popular cultural cringe: Language as signifier of authenticity and quality in the Singaporean popular music market. Popular Music 28 (2) : 179-195. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: This article looks at the popular music industry in Singapore and argues that there exists a 'cultural cringe' for domestic English-language music, which is considered as inferior to English-language music from Western countries. Singaporean consumers of popular music use the English language as a signifier of authenticity and consequently quality of musicians. Local musicians are deemed 'inauthentic' because consumers perceive the local variant of English spoken in Singapore is inferior to other variants of English spoken in Western countries. There is thus an underlying sub-text of an inferiority complex coming out of the post-colonial experience that effectively diminishes the possibility of success as English-language musicians. Yet, such a phenomenon is not observed in the vernacular Malay and Chinese-language music industries. In the final analysis, this article suggests that modernisation and modernity for Singapore is neither completely localised nor completely imposed: there exists a negotiation in the popular cultural sphere based on historical (colonial) baggage. Copyright © 2009 Cambridge University Press.
Source Title: Popular Music
ISSN: 02611430
DOI: 10.1017/S0261143009001779
Appears in Collections:Staff Publications

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