Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Music Today

Hey everyone! This is my entry for the Change My World Essay Contest. If you want to read it, go for it! Any tips before I submit it would be much appreciated! :)


If I could change one thing about the world, it would be the music that people listen to. Music has been proven to have an effect on people. It can change you for the better or for the worse. Today, the popular music that people listen to has horrible messages. There are songs that swear just about every line, there are songs that talk about the "positives" of drugs, fighting, and sex, and there are even songs about killing people. That's not how music used to be. People used to sing about things that are positive and uplifting. There's still music like that out there, but it's hard to find when everyone's listening to whatever's at the top of the Billboard Hot 100.

One of the reasons that I think music today is so bad is because we have lowered our standards over time. Back in the 1950s, Elvis Presley's dance moves were considered vulgar. One man threatened to have him arrested if he shook his body at all while on stage. By today's standards, that would be nothing. You probably wouldn't make it today if all you did on stage was shake your hips a little bit. Over time, people accepted it. One thing lead to another, and eventually society started accepting dance moves that really are vulgar.

Lyrics to songs have also become more and more explicit over the years. In 1970, John Lennon released his song Working Class Hero which used the f-word. It was banned by radio stations, and a senator in Washington D.C. threatened to sue after hearing it on the radio. Like dance moves, lyrics started getting worse. More topics and words became acceptable. A few weeks ago, my friend was listening to a song on his iPod. He counted how many times it used the f-word. In four minutes, there were forty f-bombs. If you do the math, that's one every six seconds. Really, that is pretty dang bad.

Another thing that has changed is live shows. Back in 1969, the Woodstock Festival took place. It was advertised as “3 Days of Peace & Music”. That’s exactly what it was. People attended the festival to see their favorite bands and just have fun. In 1994 and 1999, they tried to recreate the festival. Woodstock ‘94 was advertised as “2 More Days of Peace & Music”, but it was far from this. While the original Woodstock was remembered as being three days of peace and music, Woodstock ’99 was remembered for violence, fires, rape, and the eventual closing of the show. Sound like peace to you? Didn’t think so. Live shows have changed extensively, which has lowered the grade of music.

If people listened to music that is positive, uplifting, and has a good message, the world would be a better place. There are still artists out there with good music. Jack Johnson and John Mayer are probably my two favorite guitarists. They both sing songs that are inspirational and have great messages. One of my favorite Jack Johnson songs is Better Together. Instead of singing about getting drunk at a strip-bar, he sings about friendship. If everyone would give good music a chance, the world would be a better place. Bob Marley believed that you could literally cure racism and hate by injecting music and love into people’s lives. I don’t think he was to far off.