Discussing national identity is very timely and much needed. Events such as Brexit or COVID-19 have further intensified a debate on the nation state and national identity through a renewed demarcation of particular groups and belongings. Melanie Schiller joins this discussion with her book on German national identity and popular music, just published in paperback. She does so by introducing national identity as a construct that is created through narration. . . . This book is a pleasure to read. . . the selection of songs and their discussion is illuminating. Schiller’s knowledge of German history is extremely helpful when contextualising the music and making the case for national identity as a permanently negotiated idea.
Melanie Schiller offers an intriguing analytical paradigm and instrument for delineating narrative positions in identity and memory discourses. ... Her method employs a refreshingly broad multimodal approach to analyses of sonic, visual, and textual components of identity and memory narratives that combine to mark different historically determined discursive positions. She points to the different ways in which popular music is constitutive of contradictory national identities while constructing these very same discourses. Schiller believes her paradigmatic approach is appropriate for further investigations of popular music, a task for popular music researchers in the coming years.