The course is an in-depth study of an area of popular music chosen from topics varying from year to year. Possible topics may include rock and roll, Afropop, folk music, hip hop, punk, or the popular music of a specific country, such as Korea or Brazil. Genres of music are examined in terms of their musical features and also in their relationship to social, political, virtual and ideological life. Students will be exposed to new modes of listening and a diverse set of writings that both reify and challenge popular music categories, as well as highlight diversity and change within genre.

Students who take this course at one level (200- or 300-) may not take it at the other level unless it is taught on a completely different topic. For example, student who takes MUS 225 Hip Hop Music may not subsequently take MUS 325 Hip Hop Music, but could take MUS 325 Asian Pop.