Lyrical Violence

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Lyrical Violence Music is a prominent force in adolescent lives; according to the American Medical Association, American adolescents spend a total of four and a half hours a day listening to music and watching music videos. Parents are increasingly weary of suggestive, violent, lyrical content in popular music.
A University of California study recently showed that 48% of Americans, including the younger generation, say that violence in popular music should be regulated. In Paducah, the affect of violent lyrical content in popular music has been an ongoing debate since the Heath High School shooting. Another case of a school shooting has shook up a small town in Arkansas called Jonesboro. One of the teen murderers admitted to law enforcement officers that the rap music he listened to might have contributed to his state of mind before the murders, if not his overall decision to gun down his classmates. Mitchell Johnson, the student, said, “It puts you in a certain state of mind.” This is not only relevant to the music/violence debate but it is a crucial element in understanding what is going on with the modern youth. Clearly, it can not be stated that the sole contributing factor in the student’s decision to commit murder was rap music; but it was a contributing factor. I believe that there is a painful and direct correlation between violence in popular music and violence in youth.
I do not believe that government regulation, or censorship, is going to fix this problem. For those who debate the adverse effect of violent music on a person’s mind-state, I offer this example. In the early days of jazz, African-Americans would listen to, and play, the music as a release from the racial climate in which they lived. The music, if only for a while, removed their problems. This being the case, how can we deny that music, even without lyrics, has an overwhelming impact on our mind-state. Popular music affects everyone. Some people find that they can’t get a song out of their head after hearing it on the way to work. Other individuals discover that they get sentimental if they hear a song which they danced to at their prom. At funerals, people are brought to tears at the first note of Amazing Grace. While there are almost always other reasons behind the emotion, it is the music that triggers that particular mind state.

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