Author ORCID Identifier
https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5732-6712 Viñuela Eduardo
This article analyzes how mainstream artists respond to the dynamics of online fan communities, developing complex metanarratives that interrelate their songs and music videos with their “personal” activity on social media. Audiences analyze in depth and discuss each release, contributing to its viralization on the internet. However, these strategies need strong narratives that allow convincing developments and transmedia storytelling, and this is where literature becomes a significant source of inspiration. I argue that the assumption (or subversion) of popular literary characters and narratives contributes to a positioning of artists in the music scene and facilitates their “reading” by the audience. To illustrate this process, I analyze the references to Romeo and Juliet by mainstream pop artists in the last decade, paying special attention to Troye Sivan’s debut album Blue Neighborhood (2015), considered a homosexual version of Shakespeare’s drama, and to Halsey’s concept album Hopeless Fountain Kingdom (2017), understood as a queer version of the play. Both artists explained their personal reading of Shakespeare’s drama as a way of expressing their own feelings and experiences. These examples of metanarrative storytelling achieved their aim, and millions of fans engaged with both artists, discussing lyrics, photos and music videos related to Romeo and Juliet on social media.
transmedia storytelling, Romeo and Juliet, music
Arts and Humanities | Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Interdisciplinary Arts and Media
Alber, Jan, and Monika Fludernik, eds. Postclassical Narratology: Approaches and Analyses. Athens, OH: Ohio State UP, 2010. Print.
Bakhtin, Mikhail. The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays. Austin: U of Texas P, 1981. Print.
Baudrillard, Jean. Simulacra and Simulacrum. Ann Arbor: The U of Michigan P, 1994. Print.
Frith, Simon. Music for Pleasure. New York: Routledge, 1988. Print.
Giddens, Anthony. Modernity and Self-Identity: Self and Society in the Late Modern Age. Cambridge: Polity, 1991. Print.
Goodwin, Andrew. Dancing in the Distraction Factory: Music Television and Popular Culture. New York: Routledge, 1992. Print.
Jenkins, Henry. Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide. New York: New York UP, 2006. Print.
Korsgaard, Mathias. Music Video After MTV: Audiovisual Studies, New Media, and Popular Music. New York: Routledge, 2017. Print. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315617565
Luhrmann, Baz, and Halsey. “Religion and hopeless fountain kingdom.” Interview by Zane Lowe. Online video clip. YouTube.com. YouTube 4 May 2017. Web. 3 Aug. 2019.
Lyotard, Jean-François. The Postmodern Condition. A Report on Knowledge. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 1984. Print.
Pawłowska, Małgorzata. Exploring Musical Narratology: The Romeo and Juliet Myth in Music. Hillsdale: Pendragon, 2018. Print.
Ricœur, Paul. Time and Narrative. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1984. Print.
Risi, Clemens. “Diva Poses by Anna Netrebko: On the Perception of the Extraordinary in the Twenty-First Century.” Technology and the Diva. Sopranos, Opera, and Media from Romanticism to the Digital Age. Ed. Karen Henson. London: Cambridge UP, 2016. 150–58. Print. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139031240.011
Stephens, John, and Robyn McCallum. Retelling Stories, Framing Culture: Traditional Story and Metanarratives in Children’s Literature. London: Routledge, 1998. Print.
Thanouli, Eleftheria. “Post-Classical Narration.” New Review of Film and Television Studies 4.3 (2006): 183–96. Print. https://doi.org/10.1080/17400300600981900
Vernallis, Carol. Embracing the Media Swirl: Politics, Audiovisuality and Aesthetics. Los Angeles. U of California P, 2020. Print.
Vernallis, Carol. Unruly Media: YouTube, Music Video, and the New Digital Cinema. New York: Oxford UP, 2013. Print. https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199766994.001.0001
Way, Lyndon C. S. “Authenticity and Subversion: Articulations in Protest Music Videos’ Struggle with Countercultural Politics and Authenticity.” Music as Multimodal Discourse: Semiotics, Power and Protest. Ed. Lyndon C. S. Way and Simon McKerrel. London: Bloomsbury, 2017. 96–115. Print. https://doi.org/10.5040/9781474264419.ch-005