Dalibor Mišina. Shake, Rattle and Roll: Yugoslav Rock Music and the Poetics of Social Critique. London: Routledge, 2013.

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1-2 Central thesis: From the late 1970s to late 1980s, Yugoslav rock’n’roll is an outlet for reflecting and commenting on Yugoslav socialism and the differences between the ideal/proclaimed and the existing/real. Yugoslav rock musicians were the “most consequential popular-cultural catalyst of socio-cultural and socio-political critique in Yugoslav society.”

4-7 Propositions about Yugoslav rock’n’roll:

  1. The history of Yugoslav rock’n’roll starts in the mid-1970s, following pre-history.
  2. The dividing point is the substantive turn, from “substance of style” to “style of substance,” i.e. transformation of music into engagement with existence and reality.
  3. “Music of commitment,” with its social engagement, non-conformist outlook, and criticism, was the Yugoslav rock’n’roll’s substance.
  4. “Poetics of the present” was its practical expression.
  5. New Wave, New Primitives, and New Partisans movements epitomized the music of commitment.
  6. “Poetics of the real” of New Wave (Zagreb/Belgrade) was an expression of youth’s urban consciousness and a critique of the urban experience. New Wave put youth on the social map as serious agents with identity and location and rock music on the cultural map.
  7. “Poetics of the local” of New Primitives (Sarajevo) was a militant Sarajevist and Yugoslavist rebellion against cultural hypocrisy. New Primitives emphasized homegrown (local-parochial)—as opposed to imposed (external-cosmopolitan)—local identity as the foundation of existence/self.
  8. “Poetics of the patriotic” of New Partisans (Sarajevo, “the most Yugoslav city in Yugoslavia”) was a resistance to nationalisms and Yugoslavia’s slow disintegration and an attempt to reanimate the country’s core principles of Yugoslavism.
  9. Rock’n’roll was youth’s way to assert itself in the Yugoslav socialist community.
  10. Yugoslav rock was “a commitment to an ideal of genuine socialist-humanist society.”

101 Yugoslav rock’n’roll was the only outlet for the society to get an alternative view of itself.

226 Music of commitment emerged as a “cultural reaction to the imperfections of new socialist culture.”

[Its continued popularity today may thus not be just an expression of nostalgia but a resistance strategy: its continued popularity may be a reaction to the imperfections of the current reality.]

228-229 Breakup of Yugoslavia rendered the music of commitment moot, as it removed its principal point of reference.

229 Legacy of the music of commitment:

  • transformed from “a progressive socio-cultural praxis to a progressive socio-cultural memory”
  • provided standard for evaluating pop culture since the late 1980s
  • served as a cultural compass for resisting nationalism, especially during the wars of 1990s
  • as memory, reconnected post-Yugoslav societies and “resurrected as the “memory reloaded,” hovering over the post-Yugoslav space and gauging the normalcy of its present…socio-cultural trajectories.”