Lyrical Content in Music

Lyrical Content in Music

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Lyrical Content in Music

With lyrical content in music becoming more graphical it is being
blamed for behaviour of impressionable teenagers. I am interested in
this because I play in a band and listen to a wide range of music. In
1999 the Woodstock festival highlighted this. The festival was
originally about peace but as the bands got heavier throughout the
night the crowd got worse. By the end of the night there was fires and
people stealing everything insight. The bands were accused of inciting
riots by the nature of their music. So from this I draw the hypothesis
that the lyrical content within some genres of music can affect
teenage behaviour.

Contexts

Redhead studied the rave subculture. A subculture is a cultural
subgroup differentiated by status, ethnic background, residence,
religion or other factors that functionally unify the group and act
collectively on each matter. Of the late 1980's Which was labelled as
the "acid house" this was because of the illegal drugs such as
Ecstasy, amphetamines and LSD which were being taken. This then meant
panic due to impressionable teenagers being drawn to this subculture
because of the way the media presented it. When especially in 1988
when raves where suffered due to police being called in to control
them. Another fact is when in 1990 when a bill was passed through
which meant a penalty fine was given to people who organised illegal
raves. It was then suggested by Redhead was that the moral panic and
increased coverage within the media meant increase in crime deviance.
With criminals moving into organising raves and also selling illegal
drugs to the teenagers in attendance. A moral panic is where increased
media coverage in a deviant act and is outlawed further appealing
itself and further calls for stronger measures against the deviants.
This shows how the media stereotypes people in a subculture and puts
the music and people in groups in a bad light.

Medved is very critical of popular genres of music with his main
focuses being "rock" and "rap" music.

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Particularly the "rap" genre.
This is mainly because of the highly sexual content which the lyrics
contain and can be very impressionable to youngsters especially
teenagers which listen to it. One rap outfit NWA (Niggas With
Attitude) was criticised for their album "Niggas4life" as the songs
were described violent and pornographic. This was also seen as very
racist and sexist against females.

Eugene Provenzo agrees with Medved on the point of "rap" being sexist
and violent. In one report he details on a rap artist called "2 Live
Crew" when their album was ruled legally obscene in Fort Lauderdale
due to it containing graphical lyrics about mutilating their
girlfriends genitals. However Provenzo also stated how this is normal
content within the genre and counted the amount of obscene words in
one album. Examples of words he counted included 226 uses of the F
Word and the mention of the word "bitch" 163 times. This goes to show
the violent and sexist nature the music brings and that teenagers will
accept this as normal and could damage them for the future.

Methodology

I will focus on 2 genres of music for surveys to convey my data which
frequently get bad reports in the press and are becoming more popular
rapidly in teenage society. The genres I will specify in are "metal"
and "rap". I have chosen these two in particular as many "metal" bands
have been blamed for such things as school shootings and suicides due
to the depressing nature of the music and often twisted lyrics and
"rap" because of the people increasingly blaming shootings on them
because they promote gun use. The way in which I plan to do my
research for this is by using quantitative data. I will obtain this
data by interviewing older people in a opportunistic manner on the
street in town. I will do this to find people of all ages to see their
views on current music and see if they feel there are problems with it
and do they think it would affect a teenagers behaviour. I would also
do surveys for teenagers themselves to find out what they think of it
and see if they feel it affects them. I will do this by putting the
surveys in form registers. I will do this for year 11 and sixth form
students who will be aged between 15 and 18 as I feel this is when
they are easily influenced and do things for themselves. Also they are
the target audience to the artists so it is essential to see if the
people they are reaching out to see the music as just music or the
content being real. Once I have gained all the data I will put the
answers into statistics. I will have 3 different graphs. One Will
represent teenage views, 1 will represent older peoples views and the
final will be a overview of both together. In order to help me find
the target audience needed that will be able to answer my questions
efficiently and for the questions to be unserstandable I will do a
pilot study to discover this. I will do this by once established
questionnare allowing a few people from different ages to see if there
is any difficultys with any type of person I am trying to recieve data
on. I feel Ethics won't be a problem for this as everyone will know
what it is about as clear guidelines will be given with questionnare.

Problems

One potential problem is my own personal bias as I believe that the
lyrical content does not affect behaviour because it doesn't mine so I
may bring this out in my study and people who I interview
opportunistic in the streets may realise this and then in an aim to
please me they give me the answer they think I would like. I will try
and resolve this by appearng as neutral as possible so they have to
come to their own conclusions.

With the sample group containing parents of children most parents
don't listen to their childs chosen music so therefore will only give
a view from what they have heard in the media therefore that is
another biased point to watch out for. To try and get round this I
will list a few musicians who people of all ages will have heard of at
least so have at least some background information on them.
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