Dr. Steven Gamble

I’m a researcher of popular music, and I spend a lot of time thinking and writing about how listening to music makes people feel. A colleague once described me as “relentlessly interpretative”. (I’m not sure it was a compliment, but there you go).

Available now!

How does music move us? 

This book argues that empowerment is the key to understanding how music affects listeners.

In the first ever comparative analytical treatment of rap and metal music, I uncover why vast numbers of listeners engage with music traditionally regarded as ‘social problems’ or dismissed as ‘extreme’.

The book details how individuals interact with rap and metal communities in a self-perpetuating process which keeps these thriving music cultures – and the listeners themselves – alive and well.

Available now!

Published 2021

How Music Empowers argues that empowerment is the key to unlocking the long-standing mystery of how music moves us.

Drawing upon cutting-edge research in embodied cognitive science, psychology, and cultural studies, it provides a new way of understanding how music affects listeners.

In the first ever comparative analytical study of rap and metal, I show that listening to popular music offers individuals the potential to redefine themselves, gain resilience, connect with other people, and make a difference in society.

Recent posts

How do rap lyrics address the internet?

Hip-hop artists get a bad rap for writing about the same old things. Often, criticism is levelled at lyrics associated with materialism, consumerism, misogyny, drugs, and violence. Although these themes – and the racial, gendered, and class-based judgements involved in commentary on them – are important, complex topics of study, I want to draw...

How Music Empowers publication

My book, How Music Empowers: Listening to Modern Rap and Metal, is published today by Routledge (Taylor & Francis). I’m very grateful to everyone who offered advice or support during the writing process. The pricing – especially the hardback – is steep indeed in line with all new Routledge texts, although a paperback will follow and the ebook...

Beats to Quarantine to: lofi hip hop during COVID-19 (part 1)

Introduction In the past, I have joked that I do not trust anyone whose YouTube suggestions do not include lofi hip hop radio - beats to relax/study to. Since the start of the COVID-19 global pandemic, as we (privileged sheltered) have receded to our homes to continue day-to-day life, leisure, and work, we have adopted video calls as a primary...

Recent posts

How do rap lyrics address the internet?

Hip-hop artists get a bad rap for writing about the same old things. Often, criticism is levelled at lyrics associated with materialism, consumerism, misogyny, drugs, and violence. Although these themes – and the racial, gendered, and class-based judgements involved...

How Music Empowers publication

My book, How Music Empowers: Listening to Modern Rap and Metal, is published today by Routledge (Taylor & Francis). I’m very grateful to everyone who offered advice or support during the writing process. The pricing – especially the hardback – is steep indeed in...

Beats to Quarantine to: lofi hip hop during COVID-19 (part 1)

Introduction In the past, I have joked that I do not trust anyone whose YouTube suggestions do not include lofi hip hop radio - beats to relax/study to. Since the start of the COVID-19 global pandemic, as we (privileged sheltered) have receded to our homes to continue...

Gendered Commentary on ‘WAP’ (Cardi B feat. Megan Thee Stallion)

Introduction This blog post examines YouTube comments on 'WAP', performed by Cardi B and featuring Megan Thee Stallion. The aim is to demonstrate some of the data collection and thematic analysis methods that inform the Digital Flows research project, so it can be...