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Book Cover for: Aqua's Aquarium, C. C. McKee

Aqua's Aquarium

C. C. McKee

"I'm a Barbie Girl, in a Barbie world," the ubiquitous refrain that dominated the airwaves in summer 1997. Aqua's single from their debut album Aquarium spread like wildfire, topping charts across the globe. With their erotically charged lyrics and dance beats, Aqua achieved global renown in the late 1990s, producing a multi-platinum album and series of infectious hits. Their success put a spotlight on Danish Europop and influenced an array of aspiring acts. In contrast, in the U.S. they are an infamous "one hit wonder," remembered for their highly publicized lawsuit with Mattel. Despite their meteoric rise to stardom, Aqua's fame waned at the turn of the millennium. While they have not replicated this success, the 25th anniversary of their debut precipitated a resurgence in their popularity.

This book unwraps a bubblegum dance, "Euro-trash" classic to offer the first in-depth examination of what lies beneath Aqua's sticky-sweet veneer. It traces the history of Aquarium alongside interpretations of the album's singles informed by queer theory and covers by contemporary musicians commissioned for the book. A camp approach to Aqua unveils the potential queer modes of listening that lie within an album both praised for its commercial success and derided for its pop vacuousness. Peeling back the layers of Aquarium reveals a confection rife with unexpected contradictions and possibilities; videos permeated by seemingly innocuous articulates of masculinist heteronormativity and racial exoticism are held in tension with suggestions of queerness, fetishism, and adolescent lust when heard through the ironic lens of camp.

Book Details

  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic
  • Publish Date: Aug 8th, 2024
  • Pages: 160
  • Language: English
  • Dimensions: 7.75in - 5.00in - 1.00in - 1.00lb
  • EAN: 9781501384189
  • Categories: History & Criticism - GeneralIndividual Composer & MusicianGenres & Styles - Dance

About the Author

McKee, C. C.: - C.C. McKee is Assistant Professor of Modern Art in the Department of History of Art at Bryn Mawr College, USA. McKee has curated exhibitions at the Block Museum, Iceberg Projects (Chicago, IL), and the Ghetto Biennale (Port-au-Prince, Haiti) and published various pieces of art criticism and articles in Art Forum, Art Journal, and CASVA Seminar Papers. McKee's research and curatorial projects have been supported by a number of grants including the American-Scandinavian Foundation Research Grant and the College Art Association Professional Development Fellowship.
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