Archive for the ‘Music and Society’ Category

Grossberg discusses Allen Bloom’s The Closing of the American Mind when he discusses youth and how they have been affected by rock music.  Bloom criticizes rock music because he says that great music should, “harness the passions to reason, but rock only appeals to ‘sexual desire undeveloved and untutored’” , and that it blurs the image of adulthood and maturity (p.196).

Rock music is not the only element of pop culture that is responsible for falsifying the image of adulthood and maturity.  Advertising and television are also to blame for desensitizing people, especially kids, and making young adults believe that they are really mature.  However, the images that young adults have of maturity are not always realistic.

He also says that rock music can cause young adults to rebel.  Bloom is frightened by the idea that rock places youth outside of social control, the family, the academy and in some cases, the nation.  He also notes that the link between rock and drugs presents another threat to the consumer culture, which is a fact proven by the American Medical Association (p.198).

This is the cover for the Red Hot Chili Peppers' Blood Sugar Sex Magik album, which includes songs like Suck My Kiss and Sir Psycho Sexy

This is the cover for the Red Hot Chili Peppers' Blood Sugar Sex Magik album, which includes songs like Suck My Kiss and Sir Psycho Sexy

The Red Hot Chili Peppers are one of hundreds of bands that have used sex in their music.  They are known for being rebellious and for doing whatever they want, which furthers Allen Bloom’s notions about how rock has given youth a false image of maturity.

Rock isn’t the only kind of music that shapes the mind of kids and youth.  Rap is also notorious for presenting controversial issues and for having explicit lyrics.  Some kids are listening to it and thinking that referring to women as “bitches” is alright.  People should be able to tell that it’s not right, but this isn’t always the case.

Music is only entertainment.  But sometimes see it as more than that, and they can use it in ways that could affect them negatively.  But if children and youth are sexualized before they are ready to be, popular culture could become even worse.  If only there was a way to effectively censor music and TV…


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In Dancing in the Distraction Factory, Goodwin talks about how there are few attempts at straight parody in music videos, mentioning Neil Young and his song Bad News Beat.  The one artist I always think of when parody in music comes up is Weird Al Yankovic, who debuted in the 90s.  I remember my brother had his album called Alapalooza, the cover was of the Jurassic Park logo with his animated head in place of the T-rex’s.


Almost every song on that album is a parodied version of songs by people like Sheryl Crow, Queen, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.  They are all quite funny, but it’s amazing to see how someone with a little bit (really, a little bit) of creativity can make tunes that already exist into something that people will buy.

alapalooza1My favourite song on that album is called Harvey the Wonder Hamster.  One of the only non-parodies, it is a thirty second long song about a hamster who runs around on his hamster wheel.  Check it out it’s funny.

He put out more CD’s like Alapalooza, but like most kinds of music that don’t really change style, he bored the public and fell off a few years later.  I’m not saying he wasn’t good at what he did, but it’s great how a little creativity mixed with pre-existing music can make someone famous for years.  Good old Weird Al!!

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Music and Dance

The incorporation of dance into music videos is known for further linking sound and image on television. In the book, Andrew Goodwin talks about McRobbie (1984) and his explanation of the link between dance and social fantasies of escape.

These social fantasies are most important, he states, for young girls, who dream of succeeding and escaping through dance as a career. One Woman who is famous for helping this fantasy is Paula Abdul, who first choreographed for Janet Jackson before starting her own music career. Her videos inspire young girls to be independent and strong women.

The relation between dance and social fantasy is also visible for boys through rock and roll. In Van Halen’s Hot for Teacher, the school teacher’s dancing coincides with the music, giving a young man a more “dreamy” experience.

One dance made famous by rock and roll is the air guitar. Everyone has seen it, and everyone enjoys doing it. For boys and girls, its a way to pretend that they are a famous rock star. Dance in music is good for everyone. If gives people a way to fully enjoy a song, while even sometimes fulfilling a personal fantasy.  Through music and dance, people are able to step outside the real world and be whoever they wish to be.  This is something very important nowadays, in a world where we are judged everyday for who we are.  It is important to dream, and music can help us live out our dreams for a few minutes.

Paula Abdul even put out a video called Get Up and Dance! which aims to get women to dance and to be active

Paula Abdul even once put out a video called Get Up and Dance! which aimed to get women to dance and to be active

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