MUSIC THINK & LEARN

What would we be without it? Explore the true power of music

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Sir Paul McCartney, Rihanna, and Kanye West in “FourFiveSeconds“.

Since the beginning of time, music has always influenced and impacted society. Considering the whole world doesn’t share the same language and cultural beliefs, music helped knit people together. Although people may not understand the dialect of some music, they recognize that rhythm is being made. Music plays a major role in the way people behave and perceive things. It sets a mood and can bring out any emotion. Musicians and even genres of music assist people in composing a certain self-image that one desires to become. Singers start to become role models towards society, especially towards the youth. Music effects the way people dress, act, and carry themselves. Songs have multiple meanings behind them and can be apprehended according to how one decides. We all interpret songs differently.

Take a look at our society today. We have loads of musical genres. Obviously we have the basic genres such as rap, pop, rock, and alternative. Thanks to collaborating and even experimenting, we’ve created hundreds of other genres. Most of the music we hear today are focused on sex, drugs, violence, and partying. This goes for all types of music regardless of genre, so don’t just automatically assume that rap and pop are the only two allowed or expected to be raunchy at times. Music is a form of expression and is entitled to touch upon matters of any subject.

Our society is very open towards sexuality. As the saying goes,“sex sells”. Love, lust, and promiscuity are advertised in music. Not all love songs are absurd, but most are. I always hear older people complain about how dirty music is influencing our youth negatively and steering them in the wrong direction. This can be true, it just all depends on who you are. I agree that music does guide the youth in some way, but not all songs that touch base on sexuality are negatively effecting us. Some of these songs change our viewpoint on the idea of what love actually is. Not all songs about sexuality actually address sex. For example, Macklemore’s “Same Love”, released in 2012, shined light on homosexuality and why it should be accepted, rather than seen as an oddity. Macklemore combined rap, one of the genres known for dissing homosexuality, and the topic of gay and lesbian equality, encouraging people to take, what some parts of society saw as a problem, into consideration. The song received a mix of both positive and unfavorable feedback. However, it did make people pay more attention to the subject, and respect towards the LGBT community began to increase. As a matter of fact, this year on June 26, gay marriage became legal in all 50 states.

Hundreds of people gather outside the US Supreme Court building in Washington, DC on June 26, 2015. (Photo credit, MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images
Hundreds of people gather outside the US Supreme Court building in Washington, DC on June 26, 2013 in anticipation of the ruling on DOMA and California’s Proposition 8. (Photo credit, MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)

Music expresses how people feel about social injustices occurring in society. Creating a song with a powerful message is the easiest and most effective way to make people realize what’s going on. There have always been racial incidents between police and the black community, but now it seems to be occurring more often than usual. Rappers are most common in promoting awareness towards police brutality. N.W.A, Tupac, and Public Enemy are just a few of those who addressed these problems back in the 90s. Today, rappers such as Kendrick Lamar, J Cole, and many more are trying to bring attention back to the situation. According to the responses on social media whenever tragic events dealing with police brutality towards the black community happen, these songs have triumphantly helped people open their eyes and acquire justice for those wrongfully killed. This has helped people of all races unite and fight against the discrimination still lingering around America.

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Recording artist Kendrick Lamar

Good times, partying, and drug use is nothing new in the music scene. Drugs have always been glamorized in music and impacted society, attracting people to get trippy. Not only are the lyrics conveying an experience of being under the influence, but music videos are beginning to accurately simulate the hallucinatory episode. As we all know, Colorado, Alaska, Oregon, and Washington are all states where medical and recreational use of marijuana is legal. It would only make sense that without the help of musicians writing heavily popularized songs about Mary Jane, the courts wouldn’t even think about legalizing the drug. Music speaks to the people, and with that, the people speak. Psychedelic music expanded drug use back in the 60s and 70s and ever since, it has branched out into other genres. This has compelled people to try out — not only marijuana — but LSD, MDMA, and various other extreme narcotics.

A$AP Rocky in L$D (LOVE x SEX x DREAMS).
A$AP Rocky in “L$D (LOVE x SEX x DREAMS)“.

Music is a beautiful, universal, and very powerful form of art. Without it, the world wouldn’t be the way it is today. It brings people together, informs, and entertains. It is also known to be therapeutic and helps relieve stress. Society is molded by art created during that specific time, and music is the most moving aspect of all.

So, exactly how different would this world be without music?

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