While emphasizing the way in which the band Nirvana managed to crystallize the malaise and latent fury of a generation of adolescents, the author focuses on the special influence exercised by the melancholy tones of Kurt Cobain’s voice. Though this white voice greatly contributed to the auto-affective and captivating power of the band’s melodies, it was not without the help of an imaginary companion, Boddah, who is supposed to have played a role in the artist’s tragic destiny.
Adolescence, 2015, 33, 2, 451-466.
Every thing that sounds both attacks and builds the adolescent. It represents one of the devices used by violence in the course of puberty : now adestructive one on the puberty side and, rather, an elaborative one when on the side of the adolescens process. Being a stamp of the adolescent space, a seat for group identifications, a containin and protecting envelope enabling the adolescent to be safely confronted to the threat of its piberty fantasies, everthing higt-sounding expresses violence at adolescence whilst shaping it at same time.
Starting from the works of Roland Barthes establishing a difference between music and love discourse, the author tries to show that narrow intrications are woven between the specific time approach at adolescence, music and enamoration. If it seems quite difficult to speak of a love absent-mindedness, the adolescent care seems wholly devoted to the quest of the soul and to the search of musical melodies liable to translate such an emotion. Now, such a care, which may become obsessive, can be alleviated by means of rhythms and musical sonorities corresponding gradually to puberty feelings. The love discourse of the adolescent would then be specifically translated into his musical choices punctuating the going across puberty and adolescens process.
The listening to music would then be granted such a virtue of going along and containing the transformational movement of the love object, on condition however that the sublimation potential may be called forth by the adolescent and be used to a maturation of his aesthetical choices. By offering a harmonious rhythmicity and melodious sensory qualities, the consensual musics scanning the latency stage and the path into puberty would then, through its Apollinian virtues (a pleasure of feeling in good shape), see to the upkeep of a harmonious vision of existence, before giving way to more sophisticated and more tortured musics, with dyonisiac accents which, while they at the same time keep the myth of primitive Unity and complementarity of the sexes, open towards a tragical vision of existence.
Michael Jackson’s life was akin to a long one man show that ended when he was barely fifty years old. What did the adolescence of the star represent, for himself first of all ? Indeed, the physical transformations of puberty will for him generate massive anxieties, causing virulent and repeated attacks against his own body, finally leading to a genuine destruction of his physical appearance. His inability to accept these inherent elements of puberty were nevertheless counterbalanced by the sublimatory value of his artistic creativity. Thus the moonwalk, the artist’s true signature, an acted and performed expression, may be the translation of fantasy scenario closely tied to the trauma of puberty and maternal castration. Recourse to a phenomenon of « extimization » of internal reality could thus have manage to produce a sublimated actualization of fantasies transformed in the fire of his esthetic creation.
Adolescence, 2013, T. 31, n°4, pp. 1005-1030.