Music and the Youth of Society
During the whole human history, music and society were always together. Music is the reflection of social conditions, including factors that lead to social changes. The invention of recording technics was the revolutionary breakthrough that extended people’s access to music. Nowadays, all kinds of music are available to people at any time. Music has a direct influence on the development of young generation; especially it influences the range of social skills. It should be mentioned that the type of music preferred by a person plays a significant role. For example, listening to quite, relaxing music can improve the performance of tasks that require creative skills, while exciting music has a contrary influence. People use music to control their mood, reduce the stress level and improve self-motivation.
Generally speaking, human behavior depends on what music an individual listens to. However, every nation has its own culture, traditions and music that relates to this culture. Nevertheless, music has never been the same; it always changes according to the changes in society. Hence, music and society are interdependent. Changes that happen in society reflect on culture and music as well. Music is the result of human behavior that describes the society and leads to social changes. It is difficult to say that music has more influence on society or vise versa, but these two concepts are inseparable.
The most significant historical changes are connected with the changes in music. The period of the 1950’s was the time of great social changes that reflected on music. The detrimental effect of World War II has changed the face of music in the USA for many decades (“Music Played in the 1950’s Popular Music from the 50s”, 2013). The period of racial tensions and first civil rights movements was reflected in music. The new genres of music appeared including R&B, Rock ‘n’ Roll and the so-called “black” music. Many African-American artists reached success, while many others did not receive access to the audience and were not recognized. There were a lot of cases when white artists stole music composed by the “black artists” and, as a result, stole their benefits and fame. Some researchers believe that the popularization of R&B and Rock ‘n’ Roll has only extended the gap between white people and African-Americans leading to the civil rights movement. Such a situation influenced the further development of music familiar to the modern people.
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One of the most famous singers of the 1950’s was Elvis Presley. His songs, the manner of performance, movements, and clothes have influenced the fashion and youth culture for many decades (Sutton, n.d.). His songs were greatly influenced by Blues and Southern countries. Elvis Presley established the youth culture, and many other artists such as Little Richard, Chuck Berry and Fats Domino continued to perform in this style. They had a huge influence on music, style of performance, fashion and gave a push to sexual liberation and teenage rebellion. It was for the first time when there appeared such hysteria about artists and music they performs.
In the 1960’s, the importance of music has increased even more than in the previous decade. The influence of Elvis Presley and other singers of the last decade is still strong, but the new tendencies appear. It should be noticed that 1963 and the following years made significant changes in social life and influenced the music diversity. The Vietnam War, the Civil Rights Movement and the assassination of President Kennedy have greatly changed the mood of American society, and those changes were reflected in music (“Music Played in the 1960’s Popular Music from the 60s”, 2013). The “British Invasion” started in 1963, when the Beatles arrived in the USA. They have changed people’s view and the way of interaction with music and musicians. However, the Beatles were not the only band that influenced the American society. The war in Vietnam caused a wave of disagreements among people, especially among the hippies. They were the new subculture that spread the message of love and peace and was against any kind of violence, especially wars. Music played an integral role in forming their culture and lifestyle.
A new genre of music appeared during that decade and it was called rock, which developed from Rock ’n’ Roll. Rock had many diverse subgenres that were unique and had different purposes. Bob Dylan was one of the most famous songwriters of that decade. His songs were always melodic and contained some social protests common for that time.
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Another genre of music of the 1960’s is called protest music. It was similar to folk music and had a message of protest. Protest music was the reaction to the events that took place in the country, social and racial injustice and other changes that caused disagreements among people. The anthem for the Civil Right movement was a song “A Change Is Gonna Come” written by Same Cooke (“Popular Music of the Seventies”, 2013). The situation in Vietnam had a huge influence on music. Thousands of soldiers were sent to Vietnam, but there were not any changes. As a result, it caused anti-war movement. Protest music supports this idea in such songs as “The Unknown Soldier” by the Doors and “Masters of War” by Bob Dylan. The period of the 1960’s is also known for its feministic rise. Such singers as Janis Joplin and Grace Slick were at the dawn of feministic movement (Sutton, n.d.). Many artists of that time participated in protests and demonstrations and their songs were the result of total disagreement.
The period of the 1970’s was a bridge between the 1960’s and 1980’s. It was a transition stage between these two absolutely different decades. The war in Vietnam was over, and the USA citizens started to see the welfare in a different light. Increasing of the unemployment rate, oil crisis and inflation have changed people’s beliefs in America as a promised land. The government started to take some actions to change the situation in the country, and the youth followed the same example starting to change their culture and preferences in music. During this decade, such movements as disco, punk rock and rap appeared on the stage of American society.
The decade had an image of disco style. It first appeared in the clubs of New York, where disc jockeys spliced the elements of danceable soul tunes together (“Rebel Music through the Decades”, n.d.). The first participants of this subculture were gays, Hispanics and African-Americans. Disco has also established a particular practice of dancing. The popularity of disco was promoted by the fact that it appealed to everyone in the United States. In this way the nation was united, because everyone had something in common.
Rap music came from urban streets and reflected hopes, aspirations and concerns of black youth. The mission of rap was to raise the awareness of the black community. The main problem reflected in songs was the issue of money and corruption. The message of rap was “join and survive”. However, the popularity of rap leads to Black Nationalism and positive creativity.
Punk rock appeared in 1976, in London and New York. Such genre of music had more radical rejection of the social problems than it was previously. The followers of this subculture were against elitism and called for direct actions to protect the rights of working-class. Sex Pistols are considered to be the first punk band. However, media have judged them for foul lyrics and their behavior on stage. It should be noticed that punk rock gave a push to such a subculture as punks. Punks as many other subcultures had their own dialect, culture, clothes, and individual and collective values (“Rebel music through the decades”, n.d.). Punks did all possible to distinguish themselves from the society of that time. What is more, they wanted to create their own society, with own culture and politics. The punk movement of the 1970’s resulted from the high rate of unemployment and inflation. The youth wanted to change this situation and were searching for the solutions in subcultures like punks.
The period of the 1980’s was a decade, which marked the ending of the Soviet-Afghan War, beginning of the Gulf War and falling of the Berlin Wall. The countries of Central America were suffering because of their corrupted governments. Ronald Reagan was elected as the President of the US and brought the country to a military build-up (“Rebel Music through the Decades”, n.d.). All these political changes have dramatically influenced the musicians and their view of the world. Punk music and rock were still popular, but the new genres, such as hip-hop, appeared. The first steps were taken in the previous decade, but the rise of this style was in the 1980’s. Hip-hop was characterized by metaphorical lyrics and multi-layered instrumentals. In the 1980’s, there appeared music television or MTV. One of the first MTV videos was “Video Killed the Radio Star”. MTV has changed the image of music forever. Nowadays, it establishes musical norms. Fashion, glamour and video clips have become the essential part of MTV culture that gave a push to the new culture.
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During the 1990’s, there were great political and social changes. It was a decade of the first Gulf War, the collapse of Soviet Union and Oklahoma City bombing. Moreover, in the 1990’s, the youth have received the voting right since eighteen years. The young generation has realized that they have rights and their voice would be heard. In 1992, the government has established a law that must label all “erotic music” as adult only. Nevertheless, for some artists, it was a push to create more “adult music”, while others rebelled against government. Such a tendency was especially popular among rap singers. Their songs were about political and social injustice; they never sang about poverty if they had never been poor or imprisoned. However, rap artists never tried to changed something in society; they just encouraged fans to join in the mayhem (“Popular Music of the Seventies”, 2013).
In the1990’s, the image has changed. In the 1970’s, to be punk meant to be assaulted at any moment, even if one was walking in the street. The meaning of punks in the1990’s was different; it was even fashionable and accepted to be a punk at the time. Punks had their own culture and norms; they have never cared about others’ opinion or way of life. Punks’ purpose is to resist the standards of society and save their own identity. Punk songs always had a strong message that contained a struggle against social or political injustice.
Music of the last century had a strong impact on the modern society and culture
Everything that happens today is the result of the events that took place in the past. The twentieth century was a period when many social and political events have changed the face of modern life forever. People were abused by the situation that they witnessed in their country and wanted their voices to be heard. They took part in different movements and demonstrations, but one thing that really united people who faced the problems was music. Singers were the ones who had found the key of raising awareness among people. Their songs contained a message and idea of what was happening in the world. The songs and new genres in music were the result of political and social injustice. Music became a powerful weapon for all opinions, and musicians used this force to show people their views and influence the society. The new songs gave a push to the new cultures that have changed people and the world in general. However, the most rebellious genres of music, such as punk rock and rap, were too aggressive and extreme. MTV took these extreme forms and transformed them into more acceptable.
Music has always been the way of sending a message to people, especially to the young generation. Music is an essential part of the young generation and the best way to influence the youth. Music that contains some protests makes young people think of what they do and how they do, whom they should listen to or should not. They start listen to themselves but not to someone else’s opinion and view the world in a different light.
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Today music plays the same role as it was in the previous century. New technologies give an opportunity to listen to music anywhere. All this is possible thanks to the small size of music recorders. Modern generation has more opportunities, and music becomes a way of entertainment rather than a way of influencing social or political situation. Young people have an access to all genres of music, and no law forbids listening to some kinds of music. Perhaps, the reason is in the political situation. During the last few decades, there was not any global problem that could have raised the awareness of citizens. The situation in the country and in the world is quite stable, and people do not have a strong desire to change something. The last century was a hard period of time that witnessed many significant events like the end of the World War II, Civil Rights Movement, War in Vietnam, and the fall of the Berlin Wall. All these events were important for people who needed their voices to be heard. Music was the way of such protest; it was not a simple performing of songs that reflects culture and traditions of a particular ethical group or sub-culture. Music was a way of rebel against those things that people did not want to accept. It was a call to make a difference, to make a change. The new genres of music were a natural reaction, because there was a need to be heard.
Today many musical genres still exist; however, some of them are not so popular, and the young generation does not usually prefer them. Nevertheless, such genres like rap and rock are still very popular and continue to develop and grow. In these songs, one still can find a particular message. However, in general, the songs have lost their initial purpose. Today’s young generation prefers listening to music that is aimed to relax or reflect their thoughts and ideas. They still follow subculture of music that they listen to, but it became a common thing. Music is a part of daily life, but it is not a weapon against social injustice any more. Modern music is a way of entertainment.
From a sociological point of view, music is an essential part of the modern young generation. The youth are people that require a way of self-expression. They have thoughts and ideas, but not many are able to formulate and express them. The young brain is a container with hundreds of thoughts that are not controlled and stay in chaos. Music is an instrument that helps young people find themselves in life. People differ from each other; they have different tastes and music is not an exception. The young generation is very sensitive to everything that happens around. However, listening to music does not mean that a person relates to a certain subculture or social group. Many people listen to music supporting the idea reflected in a song, but it does not mean that they will dress in a certain way or communicate with the help of a special dialect. They listen to music because the like it; it gives them pleasure, and they feel better. However, there are still quite a lot of those fans who have a strict vision of the music they prefer. They obey the culture they prefer and believe that their music is the only right kind of music.
The influence of music is stronger than it was before. Young people and music became the synonyms, and it is hard to find a young person who does not listen to music every day. Today music is not only a way of self-expression or a style of life. Actually, some even call music a life. In general, the term “music” became a part of life, and it does not matter what music an individual prefers. There is something common that unites all young people despites their beliefs, race, social or political views. All of them listen to music, which became a part of their life.
It is a common knowledge that every nation has its own culture. The essential part of each culture is music. Music expresses the identity of a particular culture, its beliefs and views. Modern people became more civilized, and there are many other ways of expression the national identity. However, music still plays an important role as it does not only express the identity of a particular nation, it is able to unite people with the same views.
The previous century was a period when music was at its height. It was a difficult period of time when many political and social events took place. People wanted to show their disagreement, and music became their weapon. Songs inspire people to look around and see what happens in the world. They call people to respond to everything they do not like and not to be indifferent. The songs contain an appeal to struggle and not to turn a blind eye to the existed situation. History shows that many important political and social events were connected with the development of music. The new genres of music appeared to reflect such events as War in Vietnam. Music always gave a push to the new culture and social groups that were united by the same ideas and principles. Nowadays, music has a great influence on people’s life just like it was before. However, now it has a different role because it does not usually appeal for some rebel actions.