Music: What it Has Turned Into Today

Paige Padla, Staff Writer

Imagine you are sitting down at lunch listening to your iPod. What are the songs that come up when you hit shuffle? Is it classic rock featuring AC/DC, Metallica

or Heart? Are you more into Drake and Eminem, or are you a “Top 10” charts kind of person?

High school students all seem to have one thing in common – no matter the preferred taste, music is a big part of our everyday lives. Whether it be in the morning listening to our favorite songs while getting ready, in the hallways with our headphones in, checking out the newest albums, or in the car listening to popular music. For most of us, music is permanently in the background.

But what are we listening to today on the radio, and what are the messages being sent in lyrics? Is the upbeat rhythm just spewing a catchy chorus, or is music affecting us more than just for our entertainment?

Almost everyone has heard of Justin Bieber. He is known for his famous songs “Baby,” “Beauty and a Beat,” and “Boyfriend.”  But what do most these songs have in common? The lyrics are orchestrated for young girls. In fact, the median age for Bieber’s fans is 13. He steers his songs towards girls because that is where he makes money. Walking around, it is far more likely to see a girl wearing a glittery “Belieber” tee shirt than a guy with Bieber's face across his chest. One sad thing about music today is that it seems the most popular artists make the most profit for the wrong reasons.

  Behind Bieber's music is, simply, money, but there is one more thing that most popular, “cute”, boy artists share: the subliminal messages to young girls telling them that in order to be relevant, she must be beautiful.  In the popular song by One Direction, “What Makes You Beautiful,” they sing the chorus:  “You don't know you're beautiful, that's what makes you beautiful.” Why can't a girl think she is beautiful without a man telling her that she is? In Bieber’s “Boyfriend,” he talks about buying the girl anything she wants. It is assumed that a woman’s feelings can be bought. But not just young boy artists are guilty of these wrong messages.

In Orianthi's “According to You,” she talks about how her boyfriend verbally abuses her, saying she is “stupid”, “useless,” and “can't do anything right,” and then  goes on to explain another boy thinks she is, “beautiful, incredible” and can't  get her out of his head. This suggests that the only reason she is choosing the other boy over the verbally abusive one is because there is conveniently someone  else that treats her better. But if you are verbally abused, why would you need another person to call the relationship quits?

When dissected, music today has many negative messages containing self-images and relationships, but the most heard and not-so-subliminal messages are the outright sexuality. Look back on Miley Cyrus and her Emmy performance? Does that really surprise us anymore?

In the recent summer hit, “Blurred Lines,” by Robin Thicke the lyrics are outright sexual (and that song played just about anywhere, for anyone to hear). The unrated music video is even worse than the song itself. It's embarrassing to women. The song basically suggests that women “want it.” When the lyrics were compared to what rape victims had been told during rape. The lyrics, “I know you want it,” compared to “you know you want it,” compared to “good girl,” and “be a good girl, don't say anything, okay?” (much more can be found here)

The sexuality found in popular songs today is mostly in the music charts. In August, Flo Rida’s “Whistle” hit number 1 on the weekly charts. For those who aren’t familiar with the song the lyrics include; “can you blow my whistle baby,” and “it’s like everywhere I go, my whistle is ready to blow.” Other songs include “The New Workout Plan” by Kanye West and “Love Me” by Lil Wayne. All these popular songs having to do with sex.

Today, it is frightening how much music has changed. It is all for profit it seems, and the messages are all the same: be sexual, be society's version of beautiful, fit in, and grow up too fast.