Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Reflections of Culture in Popular Music


After analyzing the greatest songs of all time, we now turn to the most popular songs of the moment. You have 25 minutes to respond to the following prompt. Type your response as a Word document and be sure to proofread and edit before you paste and post. You will be assessed using the English Department's Short Essay Response Rubric.

Consider the subject matter, content and point of view of today's top songs and identify lines which contain poetic merit. What do these songs, as a whole, say about our modern American culture? In particular, what do these songs say about your generation as the greatest consumers of music media? How are gender roles represented in popular music? How is success measured?

23 comments:

Doug said...

The songs in today’s entertainment are concerned with generally very few topics. Most of these topics include taboo relationships, money, and lifestyle choices.
In the Billboard Hot 100 Top 7, three of the songs are considered in the “rap” variety, three are under the “pop/rock” category, and one is labeled as “R&B”. The first topic that a few of these songs discuss is taboo relationships. In Beyonce’s song, she discusses if she was a boy, she wouldn’t do all the stuff that boys do to girls. However, some people might see this as her maybe wanting to be a lesbian for a day. Katy Perry’s song discusses a relationship that breaks up and gets back together on a fairly frequent basis. If you were to go back 20 years, none of these situations would be considered publicly appropriate.
The next topic would have to be money. In both of T.I.’s songs they discuss the importance of money, but in very different ways. In “Live Your Life” he talks about how money shouldn’t be a factor while living your life. In “Whatever You Like”, He says the only way you can be important and sustain friends and relationships is if you have money to spend on people whenever you want. Kevin Rudolf’s song also discusses this with him going to parties and being noticed for his “bling” and eccentric wealthy lifestyle.
Finally, lifestyle choices are the final topic of the Top 7. Pink’s song shows this pretty well with how she deals with the breakup with her husband. The rest of the songs also touch on various lifestyle choices, most of them being ones that not many people would choose.
The songs messages can be interpreted in a couple ways. You could say that a lot of these songs are promoting being your own person and doing what you want to do. Another way to interpret the songs the songs is that its giving way to false images for children; making them think that they can get money, and sleep with tons of women, etcetera. Most of these songs are not being recognized for their lyrics though. The music is fun and easy to dance to, and most people enjoy having something good to listen to in the car.

Kaylee said...

Today’s top songs say that for the most part, the American culture is going downhill. These songs say that our generation, being the greatest consumers of music media, is pathetic. An outside country may think that our generation may not fully comprehend what good music actually is. The artists of the top songs, for the most part, write about the opposite gender. The only artist with a current top song that really uses poetic devices is Katy Perry.

In the opening line, Perry uses a simile. “You change your mind, like a girl changes clothes” as referring to her ex flame’s inability to make a decision about being with her and actually sticking with it. Another example of a simile is the line: “We used to be just like twins” The whole chorus: “Cause you're hot then you're cold/You're yes then you're no/You're in and you're out/You're up and you're down/You're wrong when it's right/It's black and it's white/We fight, we break up/We kiss, we make up/(You) You don't really wanna stay, no/(You) But you don't really wanna go” is filled with lines containing paradoxes.
As stated previously, our generation’s taste in anything is going downhill for the most part. The most popular artists nowadays lack poetic devices in their lyrics and even lack the quality of the lyrics in their songs. By continuing to listen to such artists that lack almost any musical ability, our generation is proving that they lack the ability to pick out great music with a good quality of lyrical content. With one artist that uses poetic devices in their songs that has a current top song; it shows only a very slim hope for our generation’s reputation to turn around.

Kayla said...

Kayla Flaherty
November 25, 2008
Period; A: Poetry of Song


American Top 10 Songs


Along with the American culture, that constantly develops and evolves, so does its music. However, I believe that the music today does not entirely relate to the culture of modern day America. Sure, when foreign persons think of America they think of rudeness, cruelty, violence, and fast food, and some of our music can reflect that. Very much like the top ten songs of America today.

Every song has true potential of having poetic terms and devices, but let’s face it that’s not why the artists write the songs. The artists write songs of recent happenings, perhaps in wars, campaigns, everyday life, and etc. Most of these songs containing; violence, profanity, etc. covered by a catchy beat; to deliver that much needed appeal to the youth of America. What does that say about America as a whole?

Of course it is debatable whether the songs are liked by some, and not by others. But it’s the charts that tell the real truth. On the Billboard Hot 100 Top Ten are probably also some of the most popular songs like T.I.’s “Whatever You Like” at the number one spot and also T.I.’s “Live Your Life”, featuring Rihanna nailing at the number two spot. Followed by; Beyonce’s “If I Were A Boy”, Pink’s “So What”, and etc. Each of these songs contains poetic devices of course, but they are also uses of modern media. Some hidden, some obvious more than others. As an example, in T.I.’s “Whatever You Like”, it says ‘Five million dollars at home I swear…….You can have whatever you like”, he is trying to explain himself worthy of her love by having not only the money, but a social standing worth being with.

So if you don’t like the Top 10 then why are they up there? If you think they are such bad or horrible songs, why do you buy them for your ipod? It’s called the ‘American Top Ten’ not the ‘Choice of the day Top Ten’. As the youth of America, we have the choice to oppose the songs we listen to, or praise them by putting them on the Top Ten.

Anonymous said...

1. Will You Love Me Tomorrow - Shirelles
2. Georgia On My Mind - Ray Charles
3. Only The Lonely - Roy Orbison
4. Let's Go, Let's Go, Let's Go - Hank Ballard & the Midnighters
5. Stay - Maurice Williams & the Zodiacs
6. Chain Gang - Sam Cooke
7. Save The Last Dance For Me - Drifters
8. Shop Around - Miracles
9. The Twist - Chubby Checker
10. Cathy's Clown - Everly Brothers

Anonymous said...

In today’s modern society music is viewed in a much different way than in the past. Many people like songs because the way they sound, or the rhyme and not because of the real meaning of song. An example of this is the top song in the country right now which is TI’s “Whatever you like”.
The top song on the top billboard charts in America right now is TI’s “Whatever You like”. This song is an example of the modern aged generation. In today’s culture the groups of people that listen to music the most are the young adult and teen generation. A lot of this generation likes to listen to songs that use profanity and talk about stealing or killing people. This song in particular has a lot of this and that is why this song has risen so far up into the billboard charts. TI has also got other songs on the charts and his new album is considered one of the most popular at the moment. In my opinion TI is very success because he has found the type of music that people are looking for.
In music today the top song in charts at the moment is TI’s “Whatever you like”. This song is one of the best representations of what music is popular in today’s society. The music has everything teens and young adults want in music and that is why it is the most popular song.
-Patrick Traverse

liz said...

Modern music is a lot different than music back in the day. Today’s music is more about women, money, drugs and filled with gratuitous words.
These songs, Whatever You Like, Live Your Life, If I Were a Boy, So What, Womanizer, Hot N Cold and Let It Rock are the top 7 songs of the top 100 in the world right now. That’s not saying too much about our culture. In “If I Were a Boy” by Beyonce, she says, “’Cause you taken her for granted and everything you had got destroyed.” This is, like every other song sung by a woman, about a man who treated a woman badly. These songs kind of make it seem that American culture isn’t good. Our generation is looked down upon also because we are the ones that like this music. A song sung by a man, such as, T.I.’s, “Whatever You Like”, is basically a man singing about woman, and how they have a lot of money and they can get any woman that they want. When a woman sings, such as, Beyonce’s, “If I Were a Boy,” it’s usually saying that men are horrible people and they treat woman badly. The more songs you make the more popular you become because when you come out with one good song listeners will think that you will come out with more good songs, even when they aren’t
Some people need to change their tastes in music, but its okay to like whatever songs you want. If people really just listen to the lyrics of certain songs they will realize they aren’t as good as they think.

ALYSSA said...

The songs that made the Top 10 on the Billboard Charts were not the same types of songs that made our class lists as the best songs of all time. The songs on the Billboard Charts were the pop songs of today’s young America. These songs included hits by T.I, Katy Perry, Beyonce, Pink, and Britney Spears.
There are not many poetic characteristics in these songs. However, some have a few literary devices. Katy Perry’s song “Hot N Cold” includes many similes (“you change your mind like a girl changes clothes”), metaphors (“stuck on a roller coaster and I can’t get off this ride, and paradoxes (“you’re hot then you’re cold”). I think this song had the most poetic merit. I believe that these songs are considered today’s top music because they are very catchy songs. The songs do not seem to have much significance when it comes to the lyrics except that American can relate to them. The majority of the songs that made the top list talk about romantic relationships. Six out of the ten songs talk about relationships. This proves my idea that people like these songs because they can relate to content. This says a lot about today’s modern American culture. The content of the lyrics are not very extraordinary. They are, in a way, about things that do not actually matter in the world. The lyrics hold no true significance they are just pop songs played for pure pleasure and no other reason. I think it is very sad that these songs are considered the top songs in America, but that just may be because I do not like pop music.
Popular music uses gender roles in almost all of the songs that made the Billboard Charts. Four of the Top 10 songs are a female singing about how senseless men are. They are degrading to men. Another example of gender roles is in T.I’s song “Whatever You Like”. In this song T.I talks about how he can make any woman happy. He can be a true provider for a woman and she could have “whatever she like”. These lyrics suggest that women are dependant on men when in reality I believe that women are becoming increasingly more independent.

Cindy said...

Today’s most popular songs are extremely different from past popular songs. The biggest difference is observed in the lyrics. This indicates the changes that the American youth has undergone. Our modern culture is unlike the culture in the past centuries.
There are not many poetic devices in the most popular songs of the moment. In “So What” by Pink, there is imagery in the second stanza. “So I’m gonna drink my money” is considered imagery because you can’t actually drink it. “I gave you life” is a hyperbole, and so is “You let me fall”. There is a lot of ambiguity in the number one song of today. Many of the lines in T.I.’s “Whatever you like” can be taken in two different ways. “I’ll gas up the jet for you tonight” is an example of ambiguity. Britney Spear’s “Womanizer” doesn’t have many poetic devices either. One of the few is in the line “Got all the puppets with their strings up”. This is imagery and symbolism. Beyonce’s song “If I were a boy” doesn’t have any poetic devices in it. It is very poorly written. Despite their lack in lyrical diversity these song still managed to hit the Billboard top 10. This is mainly due to their catchy rhythms. People are overlooking the lyrics and focusing on the instrumental part of the songs. This indicates that modern American culture lost the sense of what is important in good music. Lyrics don’t seem to matter anymore, even though lyrics should be one of the most important things. They are what make a song really unique. Many of the popular songs have common and simple guitar riffs and drum patterns. The lyrics make a song unique. They help people relate to a song, and they give it actual meaning. The importance of well written lyrics has obviously faded. Our culture, and mainly our youth, has lost most sense of good music. It’s not about talent anymore, but about what you can dance to and what just has a good sound to it. It indicates how shallow our generation is. They consume whatever gets put in front of them. They are too lazy to look for things with a deeper meaning. Also, gender roles are represented very negatively in popular music. Men are represented as pimps, while women are usually represented as victims of these men. Even though there are many men out there that treat their girls horrible, there are a few that don’t. These men don’t usually get recognized in popular music. Also, many men in the music business nowadays sing or rap about women in a disrespectful way. You don’t often see songs about women that don’t refer to them with a bad, disgraceful name. Maybe if people actually paid attention to all of these lyrics they would realize that there are much better songs out there. These other songs rarely get recognition. They don’t have the chance to get really successful cause they are usually from small bands that barely have any money. In modern day, most success is based on money. If you have the money, you can book at popular venues, you can buy first class recording equipment, and you can buy airtime for your songs on the radio. This helps songs get distributed, and eventually successful.
In conclusion, American culture has, music wise, gone down hill. In other countries popular music is still judged on lyrics, unlike here. It makes the youth look lazy and simple. They don’t take the time to look for good quality music, with good lyrics and good rhythm. They like what people tell them to like, or what people expose them to the most, which is eventually the songs from artists with money.

Nicole N. said...

Nicole Nelson
11/25/08
P.O.S- A
Top Ten Essay

Throughout many of the songs on the Billboard Top 100 chart the content can sometimes be vulgar and crude. What does this show about our society today; or how will it reflect on us in years to come? Literary devices are seen few and far between throughout many of the songs, song writing just isn’t what it used to be. The top charts have music that is overused; no one is original anymore, not to mention the graphic lyrics that are written. These songs clearly will mirror the ways of our society as a whole, our music develops as our culture changes. Overall, most of these songs, aside from Jason Mraz do not reflect well on our American society.
On this week’s top 100 chart, T.I is hanging on to the top two spots with “Whatever You Like” and “Live Your Life.” The point of view of both boasts about wealth and riches. Money and material things are clearly important to T.I and to many Americans as well, “5 million dollar homes drop the business I swear.” This undoubtedly expresses American’s desire for wealth. Many countries outside of the United States can most likely get that vibe from our music. Materialistic ways are how success can sometimes be measured in our society.
Other songs on the Billboard Top 100 Chart include, “If I Were a Boy” by Beyonce and “Womanizer” by Britney Spears. Gender roles working with the point of view of songs, are also a dominant aspect to lyrics on the top charts. “If I Were a Boy” clearly shows how men can be crude people and disrespectful to women, “cause he’s taking you for granted.” The roles of men and women all through our society have been changing over the past 50 years. Women are now more dominant in the work place and have more equality, as seen in “Womanizer”, “would be a victim, not another…but no way I’m ever gonna fall for you,” women can be dominant in many aspects of life, as well as men can be in others. “Womanizer” expresses the confidence and individuality of women, as does another song on the top charts, “So What” by Pink. Even after being dumped, Pink, in her song, still lives it up, “I’m still a rock star, I got my rock moves, and I don’t need you.” Men and women are both represented on the top charts, and equally express their view of gender roles.
Success throughout America is visualized through wealth and riches and elite beauty. The songs on the top charts express these general ideas. The music today is geared to younger fans, it’s all about the money, and always will be. Luckily for us, in America we have the choice to listen or not to listen to these “most popular” songs. By and large, song writing in America today has changed greatly through out time, and now sadly, poorly reflects on us.

Mike said...

It is interesting to note the Billboard’s Top 10 songs at the moment contain a general theme of gender roles. The American society tends to enjoy songs that show a biased view of a man or a woman. That assumption is of course based on the idea that the lyrics are the causes of their popularity. Of course, nowadays “popular” music in America tends to be songs with catchy beats. While looking at the lyrics of the most popular songs at the moment, it is clear that poetic devices are not of concern. The lyrics, however, are most likely relatable to teenagers, who make up the greatest percentage of music consumers. If lyrics appeal to the youth of America, it is most likely going to be a successful song if it has the rhythm to go with it.

The number one song at the moment is T.I.’s “Whatever You Like”, which sends the universal message of him being a gentleman and treating his “baby” with respect by “giving [her] whatever [she] likes”. Beyonce’s “If I Were A Boy”, the number three song in America, sends the message that “if [she was] a boy, [she] swears [she’d] be a better man”. Throughout the song Beyonce, or Sasha Fierce as she is now known from her new album, shows the pain of being in a relationship with an unfaithful man. Pink’s “So What” is a song where she “just lost [her] husband” and is going to have a good time without him: “So what, I’m still a rockstar/I got my rock moves/And I don’t need you”. The negative depiction of men is clearly seen just by the title in Britney Spear’s “Womanizer”. Although two of the top seven do not seem to be concerned with gender roles, it is interesting to see that 71% are concerned with these roles.

Of the top seven artists, only one plays an instrument. There is not a single group or band in the top ten and all appear to be single artists. Success, nowadays, seems to be measured by an appealing beat and possibly how relatable the song is to men or women. Most importantly, the artist must be looking like he or she is having fun. In all the songs, not a single artist seems to be depressed or unhappy, with the exception of Beyonce. Even she seems to be moving on from her struggling relationship and reaching an epiphany that he is not worth her, and thus the song creates a feeling of female empowerment. Maybe in this day in age of music, an artist does not need to play an instrument in order to be successful. Although unfortunate, the songs do provide a relation for struggling people. Beyonce’s lyrics may help a woman in a struggling relationship. Pink’s lyrics may help others get over the loss of a close loved one. America’s music is lyrically simple, catchy, and centered around relationships and the gender roles of men or women.

Caitlin Q said...

It seems as though in all of the songs they have something to say about the opposite sex, whether it’s bashing them in Katy Perry’s “Hot N’ Cold”, or showing affection and care in “I’m Yours” by: Jason Mraz. However, songs 20 years ago might seem more deep and full of meaning, while people now-a-days think that these songs are full of meaning and deep. People like these songs because they can relate to the lyrics, and it has a catchy beat, the same reason that people 20 years ago liked Guns N’ Roses. Just because a song doesn’t have poetic meanings doesn’t mean it’s a bad song and un relatable. These songs, in particular, prove that the people care about the universal theme. People like “I’m Yours” because, maybe they have a significant other that they care about and never want to leave. People like “Hot N’ Cold” by: Katy Perry, because their boyfriend is always changing his mind. These songs could also be unisex. Maybe a girl feels that her boyfriend his hers, or maybe a guy can’t stand how indecisive his girlfriend is. However, it isn’t always about the lyrics. There are songs that people enjoy simply because of the instrumentals. Not everyone is going to like these songs. Some people don’t enjoy these songs strictly because they chose to conform to the nonconformity. There are people, although, that enjoy these songs just because. They enjoy songs with meaning, deep meaning, but they also care for these songs just because they’re fun. There are many people, however, that think a song can’t have a good message because it’s “mainstream”, or because too many people listen to it. Therefore, they’re not “unique” anymore.

Gender roles are huge in pop music, there are songs that are considered “chick songs”, but you never hear of “guy songs”, maybe one or two. The probability of a guy riding around town blaring “Hot N’ Cold is unlikely. However, it is seen commonly that girls ride around blaring Katy Perry. You would expect guys to be blaring “Whatever you Like” By: T.I, also girls are seen doing this also. It seems as like guys don’t relate to women singers, as much as guy singers. Where as, girls can listen to T.I and P!nk. A popular song can not be determined by radio play, however. These artists are spending big bucks to get their song played every hour, on the hour. While, you have small town indie bands that will stay independent because of their lack of radio play. More likely then not, they can’t afford to be heard as much. A popular song should really be determined by the amount of requests it receives, or the amount of plays it has on its myspace. Deciding the popularity by the amount of radio play is just unfair. On The Top 10, “Whatever You Like” by: T.I is number one, where as on the itunes top 10 the same song is number seven. It’s all because of radio play, and who has more money to have it played. The success is measured by the amount of times it’s played, not by the actual quality of the song.

In conclusion, some people may think that America is having a horrible time in the music industry, while others may think that it’s at our prime. It all depends on your point of view. Gender roles are everywhere, and are typically consist of the same old story, however many people relate to that worn-out story. That’s what keeps the music industry going. Whether it is a folk singer, a rapper, a rock star, or a bubble gum pop star, if they speak to you, you enjoy it.

Anonymous said...

Today’s music is much different than generations of the past. Now-a-days teens worldwide listen to music that has a catchy rhythm, and a powerful singer. However, often these songs contain degrading, graphic, and even vulgar messages and words. These songs as a whole prove that unlike in the 1920’s, when individuals where reserved and lived by higher morals, people now-a-days do not. Individuals say what they want, when they want, how they want it, and they don’t even care how society will view them for it.


In today’s’ music there are some parallels. For instance, Gender roles are very noticeable in popular music today. For instance, T.I’s, Whatever You Like, illustrates how men are thought to be the providers, and care for their loved ones. (Although, in this song it is about a player, so he may have more than one ‘loved’ one.) In Beyonce’s, If I Were a Boy, it portrays how she would believe she would make a better man than any ‘real’ man. Poetic devices are displayed in these songs nonetheless. For instance, Brittany Spears’, Womanizer, contains diction: “I know you, gotta clue what’cha doing”. The use of the words ‘gotta’ and ‘what’cha’ is slang, which illustrates diction and different use of dialogues. Brittany also portrays imagery when she states, “you got all the puppets with their strings up”. One can actually imagine a puppet being controlled by strings. Kevin Rudolph’s song, Let’s Rock, contains figurative language when he declares, “truth is hard to swallow”. It is impossible to swallow truth because it is not an object it is a thing. The statement also alludes to how some things in live may be hard to deal with. It could also be viewed as an extended metaphor.


Most of the songs in this generation pertain to love, money, and revenge, like many other songs of the past. In the 21 century, the content that is incorporated in each song is often illustrated in less of a poetic, delicate, way, rather than in a straight approach to the topic being suggested. Although music has changed over the decades, poetic devices are still detectable, even though it may be harder compared to songs in earlier generations, which had more profound composed songs.

- Laura Ready

Anonymous said...

Many top songs in today’s American culture are mixed and describe how the writers feel about their lives and how they feel about the opposite gender. Many of these top songs are made up of poetic terms that give you an image and many other views in your head. The top songs chosen in today’s music show that most listeners are into the newer genre and they include how they feel about the opposite genders.
Many Americans are into the newer genre of music. Also in most songs made today are about either complimenting or complaining about the opposite gender. You can tell this by the top 10 songs listed .Such as T.I “Whatever you like” which is listed number one in the billboard chart. This song is filled with imagery and metaphors. It is also a paradox to the second best song listed which is “Live Your Life”. These two songs are a paradox because one song “Whatever you like” explains that he can buy you whatever you want if you were his girl. But yet in another song that he made “Live your life” is about just living your life instead of trying to get money all the time. These two songs were made recently and are already at the tops. Just like the other top songs “If I were a boy” by Beyonce and Pink “So What”. These two songs “If I was a boy” and “So What” describe how they feel about guys. For instance in Beyonces song she is describing that if she was a boy she would be much better than most of them because she knows how girls feel and she wouldn’t cheat on them. While Pinks song is describing how she’s ready to start a fight because her husband left her and she’s upset/mad at him.
All of the songs in today’s top hits are very recent and describe and tell stories in all of them. This is one of the reasons that they are up in the tops. Many of the songs in today’s genre are about the opposite gender and sometimes complain about them but yet many people feel that these songs are the best.

Amy said...

Gender roles are a common theme within the current Top 10 songs. T.I.’s “Whatever You Like” and Beyonce’s “If I Were a Boy”, for example, each discuss the roles men should have in relationships. T.I. implies that men should be providers and give their girlfriends everything they want. Beyonce sings about how men should be faithful and treat their girlfriends with respect. Most of the songs on the Top 10 chart deal with relationships, which is a very universal theme.

The actual content of the songs is not what appeals to listeners the most, however. The beat is a huge contributor to a song’s popularity. For example, the top two songs, both by T.I., are not necessarily relatable, for they deal largely with wealth. Both songs are very catchy to listen to, though, which is what makes them appealing to many people. They are also excessively promoted by radio stations, so people become, in a sense, addicted to them. Many of the top songs lack depth (“So What” by Pink and “Hot N Cold” by Katy Perry), but their upbeat and catchy sound attracts listeners.

When looking at the top songs, it is clear that the popularity of the music depends largely on how poppy and catchy the beat is. It can be seen that the song’s popularity does not correspond to the substance of the song, its originality, or the talent of the artist. The media is a large influence on how largely we consume certain songs, with things like music videos and promotion on the radio and television. Britney Spears, for example, would not have made it onto the Top Ten list if she wasn’t such a well-known celebrity. As a whole, the most popular songs today reflect the flashiness and initial appeal of the songs, rather than their content or depth.

Anonymous said...

Today’s music is much different than generations of the past. Now-a-days teens worldwide listen to music that has a catchy rhythm, and a powerful singer. However, often these songs contain degrading, graphic, and even vulgar messages and words. These songs as a whole prove that unlike in the 1920’s, when individuals where reserved and lived by higher morals, people now-a-days do not. Individuals say what they want, when they want, how they want it, and they don’t even care how society will view them for it.


In today’s’ music there are some parallels. For instance, Gender roles are very noticeable in popular music today. For instance, T.I’s, Whatever You Like, illustrates how men are thought to be the providers, and care for their loved ones. (Although, in this song it is about a player, so he may have more than one ‘loved’ one.) In Beyonce’s, If I Were a Boy, it portrays how she would believe she would make a better man than any ‘real’ man. Poetic devices are displayed in these songs nonetheless. For instance, Brittany Spears’, Womanizer, contains diction: “I know you, gotta clue what’cha doing”. The use of the words ‘gotta’ and ‘what’cha’ is slang, which illustrates diction and different use of dialogues. Brittany also portrays imagery when she states, “you got all the puppets with their strings up”. One can actually imagine a puppet being controlled by strings. Kevin Rudolph’s song, Let’s Rock, contains figurative language when he declares, “truth is hard to swallow”. It is impossible to swallow truth because it is not an object it is a thing. The statement also alludes to how some things in live may be hard to deal with. It could also be viewed as an extended metaphor.


Most of the songs in this generation pertain to love, money, and revenge, like many other songs of the past. In the 21 century, the content that is incorporated in each song is often illustrated in less of a poetic, delicate, way, rather than in a straight approach to the topic being suggested. Although music has changed over the decades, poetic devices are still detectable, even though it may be harder compared to songs in earlier generations, which had more profound composed songs.

- Laura Ready

bridget said...

The top songs in America say a lot about our generation and modern culture. While most of the songs seriously lack poetic devices, they all have the same general theme. All of the songs either depicts the role of genders in today’s society or the way that Americans seem to measure success. The content of these songs greatly represents America and its culture.
The content and subject matter of a few of the songs have to do with fame and wealth. In the songs, success is described as having a lot of money, cars, and clothes. For example, in the song “Live your life” by TI, Rihanna sings, “You’re gonna be a shining star, with fancy clothes, and fancy car-ars.” While the song is not particularly supporting this materialistic fame, it does suggest that all those materialistic things are what measure fame. In the songs “If I were a boy”, “Hot and Cold”, and “So What” the singers, solely females, sing about how disrespectful and undesirable men are. They are portraying an image of women’s rights by not tolerating men’s selfish personalities. In the song “Whatever You Like” by TI, he sings about how he can give his girl anything she likes. This song ties both concepts of fame and gender roles together in one song. First, he says that because he is famous, he has all this wealth and power so he can therefore financially take care of his girl. Also, because he is a man, it is his role in the relationship to care for his lady. These songs differ in portraying modern American culture.
The content of the songs that contain images of materialistic fame lead Americans to believe that in order to be successful, one must physically prove his or her achievements with wealth and riches. On the other hand, the songs containing women-independence lyrics give the women of America a more reassuring message: that she doesn’t deserve a boyfriend that doesn’t treat her right. Both song themes have completely separate meanings and impact our generation in totally opposite ways. As the greatest consumers of music media, one might look at Americans who like the songs encouraging materialistic fame to be shallow; while on the other hand, one might look at the people listening to the more feministic songs to be proud and independent.

marier said...

In the Billboard Hot 100 Top 10 songs of the moment, rapper T.I.’s “Whatever You Like,” as well as his song “Live Your Life,” joins Beyonce’s “If I Were a Boy” and Katy Perry’s “Hot N Cold.” One particular topic present in most of these top 10 songs is the relationship between a man and a woman. For example, Beyonce’s song states, “you’re just a boy,/You don’t understand/How it feels to love a girl/Someday you’ll wish you were a better man.” In this song, she is telling a story concerning a man who will not remain faithful to his girlfriend, causing her heartbreak. Katy Perry’s “Hot N Cold” is similar in that she tells the story of her own relationship in which she tells the listener that her boyfriend is “yes then…no/…in then…out/[And] wrong when it’s right.” These lines are also paradoxes since each phrase contradicts itself. Pink also presents her own story of a relationship which has turned unpleasant. In her song “So What,” she states “I guess I just lost my husband/I don't know where he went,” leading the reader to believe that her husband left her and her marriage is ending in a divorce. Another topic of these top 10 songs is the subject of wealth and power. In the song “Live Your Life” featuring Rihanna, there is a mention of going to be “a shining star, fancy clothes, and fancy cars” which alludes to wealth. T.I. also states that he is “a paper chaser/Just living [his] life.”

The subject matter of these songs may relate to society in that relationships are hard and may be, at times, difficult. However, not many people can relate to being wealthy as some artists of these songs. This, therefore, makes the songs hardly relatable to the general public. The difference between popular songs of the moment and songs that were popular decades before is the fact that songs of today have hardly any universal themes, such as love and happiness, and focus more on money, fame, and popularity. If this is true, then why are these songs so popular and well known? Catchy beats and the rhythm of these songs help them to gain popularity, which says that our modern American culture is hypnotized by the music of such songs. This also says that our culture is susceptible to buying into the image created by the media.

Our generation, as the greatest consumers of music media, is easily deceived into buying what is being sold to us. The way artists get their songs to be heard is through radio and television, and when we are exposed to a song long enough we become hypnotized by it. The focus of the popular songs of the moment is not the lyrics or the writing ability of the artist, but the catchiness of the song and its mass marketing. Getting a song to be heard in order for it to gain popularity has made actual musical talent take a back seat as we are seeing the gap between popularity and poetic value widen. Artists and bands that put a lot of time and effort into their music that not only contains a universal theme but worth and value in terms of poetic merit are pushed to the side in order to create more opportunity for “popular” artists and bands whose focus is not on song writing ability but the image being portrayed to the public. We must, as a society, put more attention on these artists whose music may not be popular but that should be appreciated for the talent and skill used to write and perform it. We should show future generations that talent and skill should be valued over popularity and image.

L' Italiano Triste said...

Alan Charboneau
Per:A
Poetry of Song


Billboard Hot 100 Top 10

Music says a lot about a person. Someone’s favorite genre, band, artist, album, track, verse/chorus can say a lot about a person’s general culture and personality, or general attitude. Someone who listens to predominantly rap or hip hop tend to dress and act in a certain way, versus someone who primarily listens to 90’s rock would dress and act in a completely different way.
Looking at the top ten, I’ve noticed that the modern American culture is very involved in the pop/hip-hop/dance genre. Artists like T.I., Beyonce, and Katy Perry seem to have become the general media’s most productive genre as of late. Male artists tend to produce music about how well they could provide for a woman, why a woman should be with him instead of someone else, sex, parties, or simply how awesome he thinks he is.
Female artists tend to focus their music on things like independence from the male influence, how women are better then men because they don’t understand women, flakiness of the male genus, sex, parties, or how hot she believes she is.
This type of music reflects on the impressionable masses of the youth in today’s society. Younger teens seem to buy the music on itunes or download them on limewire. I have cousins who are fourteen and fifteen, and a brother who in fifteen, and it seems that they try to relate to this kind of music because it seems to be the “in” thing. They seem to be conforming to the image that the mass media such as MTV portrays as cool, or as Three 6 Mafia states it in a popular song of theirs “dope boy fresh”.
Success seems to be measured by material items such as cars, houses, “bling”, brand name clothing, and the amount of “hoochie mamma’s” you have. No longer is success measured by you bonds with family, friends, or accomplishing goals you are proud of. This seems to reflect on most people from young adults to young teens. More people seems to care about material possessions as a statement of success over anything else in society.
Thus showing how the mass media reflects our American culture, and what it says about my generation and the generations close to me.

Kaylee said...

Reeves pg.1
Kaylee Reeves
11/24/08
Mr. Kefor

John Lennon Assassination
John Lennon was a “an English rock musician, singer, writer, song writer, artist, actor and peace activist gained worldwide fame as one of the founding members of The Beatles”. Lennon had two children. He had “Julian Lennon with his first wife Cynthia Lennon and Sean Ono Lennon with his second wife Yoko Ono. Lennon was “ranked number 38 on its list of ‘The Immortals: The Fifty Greatest Artists of All Time’ and the Beatles were ranked number one” by Rolling Stone Magazine in 2004. Two of his most popular songs as a solo artist were “’Give Peace a Chance’ and ‘Imagine’”. Lennon stirred up controversy when he was quoted as saying: “"Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I do not know what will go first, rock 'n' roll or Christianity...We're more popular than Jesus now”. This quote would come back to haunt him several years later.
“Mark David Chapman was born May 10, 1955 in Fort Worth, Texas.” He later admitted to lived in fear of his father, who sometimes abused his mother. He “fantasized about having God-like power over a group of ‘imaginary little people’”. When he was fourteen, he began skipping class and using drugs. He once ran away from home to “live on the streets for two weeks”. “His favorite band was the Beatles.” At age sixteen “Chapman became a born again Christian and distributed Bible tracts.” After dropping out of college, being broken up with by his girlfriend, he took a job as a security guard. He later qualified to become an armed guard. Due to the suicidal feelings he had been
Reeves pg. 2
having “He decided to go to Hawaii and then kill himself. He failed the attempt of killing himself and after being discovered, was brought to a local mental health clinic. He was admitted into Castle Memorial Hospital for “clinical depression”. After being released, he got a job at the hospital. He began a relationship with Gloria Abe and they married in 1979. He was fired, rehired, and then fired again from the hospital. “He took a job as a night security guard and began drinking heavily.” “Chapman developed a series of obsessions, including artwork, The Catcher in the Rye, music, and John Lennon, and started hearing voices”. “Chapman went to New York in October 1980 planning to kill Lennon.”
Earlier in the day on December 8th, 1980, “Chapman shook hands with Lennon and held out a copy of Lennon's new album, Double Fantasy for him to sign”. At 10:49 pm the Lennons' limousine returned to the Dakota and Lennon and Ono passed by Chapman and walked toward the archway entrance of the building's courtyard“. ”From the street, Chapman turned and fired five hollow point bullets from a Charter Arms .38 revolver that he had purchased in Hawaii, four of which hit Lennon's back and shoulder.” One of the bullets “pierced Lennon’s aorta” which caused severe blood loss. “Chapman remained at the scene, took out his copy of The Catcher in the Rye and read it until the police arrived.” As the police arrived, they realized that “Lennon's wounds were severe, and so they decided to transport him in their police car to Roosevelt Hospital.” Chapman was instantly arrested. “Lennon was pronounced dead at 11:15 p.m. at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center.”
“The judge ordered that Chapman should receive psychiatric treatment in prison
Reeves pg. 3
and sentenced him to 20 years to life, slightly less than the maximum possible of 25 years to life.” Chapman has been imprisoned since 1981 and has been “denied for parole five times”. He believed “he did not deserve to be free”. For the fourth parole meeting the board “concluded that his release would not be in the best interest of the community or his own personal safety”. Lennon fans “retribution if he were to be released”. “On December 8, 2006, the 26th anniversary of Lennon's death, Yoko Ono published a one-page advertisement in several newspapers saying that, while December 8 should be a ‘day of forgiveness’, she had not yet forgiven Chapman and was not sure if she was ready to yet.” “A number of conspiracy theories have been published, based on CIA and the FBI surveillance of Lennon due to his left-wing activism, and on the actions of Mark Chapman in the murder and subsequent legal proceedings.” “Former band mate McCartney later said, ‘John will be remembered for his unique contribution to art, music and world peace.’”









Reeves pg. 4
Works Cited
Brook, Tom. “The Night John Lennon Died”
BBC NEWS. 8 Dec. 2000.
McGunagle, Fred. “Mark David Chapman: The Man Who Killed John Lennon”http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/1060306.stm
trutv.
http://www.trutv.com/library/crime/terrorists_spies/assassins/chapman/1.html
“Mark Chapman: Destined for infamy”
BBC NEWS. 6 Oct.2004.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/3719204.stm

Kayla T. said...

The only song that deserves to be on the Billboard Hot 100 Top 10 list should be Jason Mraz’s I’m Yours. I guess each of the songs has some sort of literary device being used, but some are a bit of a stretch. For instance, Beyonce’s If I Were a Boy could arguably have one. Technically imagery can be found in all works of literature. I almost do not even want to talk about the song’s that are not I’m Yours.
I like to think that I am pretty open-minded when it comes to music, but ninety percent of these songs are just redundant. Perhaps the rhythm and beats of these songs are what makes them so popular, but the lyrics lack… everything. I do not understand how “music” with such offensive and unintelligent lyrics can be named the greatest songs in the country. The song that we really need to focus in is Jason Mraz’s I’m Yours.
Not only in this song does Jason use a plethora of literary terms. Every single one of his songs uses wordplay, similes, metaphors, allusion, and/or imagery, amongst other things. “Well open up your mind and see like me. Open up your plans and damn you're free. Look into your heart and you'll find love love love love.” are just three examples of metaphoric use. In addition, the instrumentals, rhythm, beat and all that are amazing. It is very possible for a song to have a good beat as well as lovely lyrics. Today’s singers and songwriters need to take Jason Mraz’s strategies if they really want to make it big, and stay big.

Tom said...

Consider the subject matter, content and point of view of today's top songs and identify lines, which contain poetic merit. What do these songs, as a whole, say about our modern American culture? In particular, what do these songs say about your generation as the greatest consumers of music media? How are gender roles represented in popular music? How is success measured?


Top 5 Songs according to billboard hot 100
1. Beyonce- Single Ladies
2. T.I feat. Rhianna- Live your life
3. Lady Gaga feat. Colby O’Donis- Just dance
4. Britney Spears-Circus
5. T.I- Whatever you like


The top songs in our country say a lot about our country, particularly in a negative way.
All songs contain poetic devices and things like that but that is not why the songs are made. The songs are written to describe something in their lives that affected them negatively or politely. In the song live your life T.I states that he is, “allergic to the counterfeit and impartial to the politics.” He doesn’t care about the country he wants everyone to live their lives.
You shouldn’t care what anyone thinks. These songs state that our country doesn’t want there music to be always have a deep meaning, there is enough of that going around. Some times people just want to sit down and chill or have a great time and dance. Another aspect that is shown in music is women. In many hip-hop songs women are portrayed as just there to look good. This motivates artists like beyonce to make songs about being independent and how they are all individuals. Music is a great form of art, and I think that our generation has the perfect feel to the art. It isn’t always to make us cry or think; sometimes we just like to have a good time and listening to a fun song with a good beat.

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