Flip through the radio dial today and you will hear all kinds of music. From classical to country and hard rock to oldies, the all have something a little different to offer the listener. Any music in popular culture today serves as a medium for self-expression. Hip Hop artist Eminem (aka Marshall Mathers) is notorious for sharing his views on murder, drugs, and sexuality through his lyrics.
Many people can relate to him through his songs, but others take offense, calling his music “repulsive and misogynistic.” Eminem lashes out at the media in his song “The Way I Am,” saying: “I’m so sick and tired of being admired that I wish I would just die or get fired and dropped from my record label… .” He continues his frustration later on in the song, singing: “And all of the controversy circles me and it seems like the media points a finger at me and I point a finger back… .” These lyrics are tame compared to other songs from his albums. He tells listeners what he thinks of women in his song “Kim:”Don’t you get it bitch, no one can hear you? Now shut the f-k up and get what’s comin’ to you.” Whether you understand Eminem or not, he doesn’t seem to care. He is using music to get his frustration out. Artists also use music to share hope or send messages of hope.
The Five Stair steps, in their song “Ooh Child,” promise the listener that “things are gonna get easier,” and that “things are gonna get brighter.” The song is upbeat and it sends an uplifting message of hope and happiness. Another example of sharing hope through music is the Dave Matthews Band singing “Everyday.” The lyrics “Pick me up from the bottom… Pay no attention to taunts or advances. I take my chances on everyday,” mean that even if you ” re feeling low, don’t pay attention to things getting in the way of life.
Bob Marley the Legend During the 1960's, reggae music was created by combining the characteristics of the North American rock and African Jamaican music. This new style known as reggae had very much in common with rhythm and blues, though the textbook America's Musical Landscape the author Jean Ferris states that, "the polyrythms are more complex, the bass lines are stronger, and the tempos more ...
Music can also be used to express political views. The song “We Shall Overcome” has been used by many people and group struggling for equality. The lyrics are an inspiration to any listener. John Lennon conveys a political stance in his song entitled “Imagine.” Lennon writes, “Imagine there’s no countries…
Nothing to kill or die for and no religion too. Imagine all the people living life in peace… .” Many people appreciate Lennon’s lyrics because he wasn’t afraid to speak his mind. “Imagine” gives listeners a good idea of what John Lennon thought the world should be like. Through creative self-expression, music can tell a story. The Dixie Chicks song “Goodbye Earl” could be mistaken for a true story.
The song is about a man who beats his wife, and then is poisoned by the wife and her best friend. They wrap him up in a tarp, lie to the police about seeing him, and then after “spring turned to summer and summer faded into fall,” they pack up Earl and take him to the lake. Although it’s a fictional “story,” the song lets the listeners know what the Dixie Chicks think about physical abuse. Elton John’s song “Goodbye Norma Jean” tells the tragic story of Marilyn Monroe’s life. John rewrote the song and called it “Goodbye England’s Rose” in honor of Princess Diana. Hearing the song, or reading the lyrics, the listener can tell that Elton John feels passionately about both woman.
Music can have many purposes, and self-expression is just one of them. By allowing artistic self-expression through feelings, politics, and storytelling, the listener gets a better idea of the artists views about the world.