The imperial phase is the period in which an artist is regarded to be at their commercial and creative peak simultaneously. The phrase was coined by Neil Tennant of the Pet Shop Boys to describe the group's feelings on their career circa "Domino Dancing" (1988).
"Imperial phase" has been applied[by whom?] to the creative output of such artists as Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, and Lady Gaga. While its original usage implied that an imperial phase was a one-time occurrence for a single artist, artists have been referred to[by whom?] as having multiple imperial phases. A genre itself may also be said to have experienced an imperial phase, as in the case of the discussion of the imperial phase of British indie music. The term may also be applied to non-musical entities, such as film studios.
Critic Tom Ewing described three criteria for defining an artist's imperial phase: "command, permission, and self-definition". He defined "command" as an artist's ability to push the boundaries of their medium in a way that produces lasting change. "Permission" is the public's goodwill toward and interest in the artist's work. Finally, "self-definition" is the concept that the imperial phase defines the rest of the artist's career; future works will be compared to those from the imperial phase. The imperial phase, as defined by Chris Lowe, is a time when the freedom of the artist is unlimited.
- Ewing, Tom (May 28, 2010). "Imperial". Pitchfork. Retrieved September 15, 2018.
- "Ariana Grande rediscovers her Midas Touch with new album". Financial Times. Retrieved 14 February 2019.
- "Pet Shop Boys Please & Actually & Introspective: reissues". The Quietus. Retrieved 7 February 2019.
- Reynolds, Simon. Shock and Awe: Glam Rock and its Legacy. Faber & Faber. p. 148. ISBN 978-0-571-30171-3.
- Molanphy, Chris (1 December 2014). "Why Is Taylor Swift's "Blank Space" No. 1?". Slate. Retrieved 14 February 2019.
- Griffiths, George (15 June 2017). "Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, and the End of the Imperial Phase". TMRW Magazine. Retrieved 14 February 2019.
- Macpherson, Alex (10 January 2019). "Ariana Grande's Imperial Phase As A Pop Star Began In Earnest With 'Thank U, Next'". Uproxx. Retrieved 14 February 2019.
- Cardew, Ben (15 January 2016). "25 Years After Its Imperial Phase: Who Killed Shoegaze?". The Quietus. Retrieved 14 February 2019.
- Dexter, Ray (2017). The Imperial Phase - The Rise and Fall of British Indie Music 1986-1997. Lulu. ISBN 1326941933.
- Breihan, Tom (8 February 2019). "With Guardians Of The Galaxy, Marvel made household names out of interstellar second-stringers". AV Club. Retrieved 14 February 2019.
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