English 114 B
Music Our Unknown Drug
Music plays a huge role in almost every individual’s everyday life. The influence of music can be as simple as a person listening to a song on the radio while being stuck in traffic, or can be as inspirational as person who listens to music to rid their drug and or alcohol addiction. No matter the case, music has always been a key influence on the general population, and it has also been around for thousands of years. However, in our current society music has transformed and has separated into many different genres. Some of these particular genres have become more popular than others, but nonetheless no matter what musical genre it may be there is always some one who happens to enjoy that particular type of music. In these many different types of music it has become known that they all have a unique style, for example certain genres of music have been known to make the listener happy or even sometimes make the person sad. Music has the ability to accomplish this through simply the beat of the music, be that is it may, the lyrics in the musical piece are equally as important and also have the ability to make the listener really understand what the artist is saying. Some lyrics in particular songs have so much emotion and raw feelings that some people feel as if they can relate to the song. This extraordinary feeling rests solely on the listener because they alone have the judgment to acknowledge if the song they are listening is describing the situation they happen to be in. However, something that my peers and I both noticed is that in specific areas of the United States, primarily music cities, a particular genre of music happens to dominate more than the others. Yes, other less popular music is still played in these areas, but they do not stack up to immense amount of popularity that the leading musical genres receive. I also noticed that the people who usually end up listening to the more popular music usually end up embodying whatever is being said in the song. Hence, this shows that even though music happens to be artistic it still has the power to greatly influence the identity of the people and the city.
Everyone in the entire world has his or her own personal identity, but how the person grows into it may be different. There are several factors that influence the people to be a certain way, but music happens to be one of the most influential factors. Which is why I decided to choose some of the most popular genres here in the United States. These music genres consist of Hip-Hop/Rap, Rock & Roll, Country, Spanish, and Pop. Each one of these genres have different styles, this is due to the fact that each one of the genres originated in different areas. When it comes to Hip-Hop/Rap, the style is very rugged but yet very lyrical at the same time. This type of music also happens to describe the identity of the people who either enjoy it or live in a city in which Hip-Hop/Rap happens to dominate the other genres. When people think of the city in which this music is praised and most influential, they think of New York, and the reason being because this city is the birthplace of Hip-Hop. The people who live there and listen actually embody what is being said in the songs. For example when big name artists such 2Pac, Biggie Smalls and Nas, say certain things such as what things they like, or the type of clothes they wear, and even the slang they use, the fans will immediately want to imitate their idols by doing what they do. The same thing goes for the other genres that I chose, for example in Rock and Roll the identity of the people change in so many different ways. For example the people like Rock they usually end up wanting to play an instrument such as the drums or the electric guitar, they almost never end up focusing so deeply on the lyrics, which is the opposite of Hip-Hop. The style and slang of Rockers also greatly changes, for example they would much rather prefer long hair and painting their finger nails black. The city in which Rock thrives also differs from other cities, such as Cleveland; this is the city where the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is located. Even though Country and Rock music have similar roots and both use extensive amounts of instruments they still differ.
Country music also has its specific style and the people and city who enjoy it also have their own identity. For instance, in the city of Nashville, Country music is the predominantly the favorite music and it is clearly evident. For instance, the people still wear plaid shirts, Wrangler Jeans, huge belt buckles, boots; the city also resembles the people which means that the even though the city is modern it still has a Western theme. Spanish music also has its own style and it is clearly evident with the people who listen to it. The most obvious aspect that shows the identity of the people is that they speak Spanish. However, there are only a few cities in which Spanish music thrives, and these cities have to have a rather tremendous amount Latinos. The three cities that come to mind are Los Angeles, Miami, and Chicago; in these three cities Latinos make up at least one fourth of the population. These cities also have taken up a new an identity because they may now have Latin restaurants, clubs, and businesses. The identity of people who listen to Spanish music is also very much different from the identity of other genres because of the fact that instead of talking a particular type of slang, they possibly could speak Spanglish. Another thing that can really make the identity of these people different is their preference in sports. For example when people think of basketball they also think about Hip-Hop, and when people think about baseball they also think about Country music. With that being said, Spanish music also has a particular sport that has been synonymous, which happens to be the sport of soccer. This shows that people who live in a city in which Spanish music no matter what type is played the identity of the city and more importantly the listeners are different. Pop music on the other hand is the one type of music that can be played and is huge in any city. The reason being that this music genre is much more broad than the others, because after doing research there are so many different artists that are considered pop. Some of the more notable artists happen to be Michael Jackson, The Beatles, Elvis Presley, Brittany Spears, and Lady Gaga as well. Pop music does have an identity and it can make the listener create a one of his/her own, however it does not go to the extreme that Country and Rap may go to. All popular music that is being played on the radio in our current day happens to fall under the genre of Pop. Hence this shows that even in a city that is known for a particular musical genre, Pop music is still played because of the fact that it happens to be the most popular type of music in the United States right now. After some more research I also found out that Pop music got the name from the word “popular,” which make sense because everyone in our country has more than likely heard of a song from that genre.
Even though each and every genre of music gives both people and the city an identity, there has to be a reason why people listen to it, and why a particular form of music prevails more in specific cities. For example why is Country music more popular in Southern cities with the people than other music? The reason why it is more popular is because in Country music it talks about subjects that people in these areas can relate to. For example in some songs the artists talk about how they love farming life, relaxing drinking a beer on a hot day, or driving around in their pick up truck. In Rock and Roll people may also like it because of the fact that they just like how it sounds and how the instruments are being played. Some other people also may just like the message it is sending, message such as partying, living the high life, or just being famous. In the case of Spanish music it is a different matter because of the fact that people might like because it actually deals with their heritage. For example a person might just like it because they grew up listening to it while they were young. The people also might listen to this type of music because of the fact that in certain songs it talks about the struggles they have been through, such as the struggle they had to endure on getting to the United States and trying to make a better life for them. Pop music on the other hand is a lot different than most music because it does not really have much meaning behind the music. However, people still love to listen to this type of music, and the reason behind that is because they just like the way it sounds. For that reason alone this happens to be type of music that can reach out to biggest audience such as young kids and all the way up to elderly people. This is also the type of music that is responsible for the most amounts of catch phrases and lines that kids like to say the most. Hip-Hop/Rap and the people who listen to it have an identity of their own, and the reason why they listen to be due to the fact that people could relate to what the rappers are saying in their songs. For example, the reason why most people in New York love Biggie Smalls and Nas is because of the fact that they rap about true events that most individuals live through. So whenever they say or talk about something in a song, the fans want to do the exact same thing as them. So this is the reason why these people get their identity from.
Music is a huge part of everyone’s daily life and has been ever since the beginning and it will forever be a huge factor. But no matter what there will always be cities in which a particular style thrives more than the other, and this will be evident in both the people and the city. The reason being, because the music will change and mold the identity of both things. For example New York will forever be known as a Hip-Hop city and Nashville will also forever known as a Country city. Even in other cities that were not mentioned, there will always be a certain genre of music that dominates, that is just the way our society works. To top it all off this also the reason why peoples’ identities are formed because of the type of music they listen to and the one that thrives the most in their city is more than like the one that they will end up listening to. So all in all music is a very powerful and has the power to mold the identity of a young person, this shows that music can even be a captivating drug in a sense.
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Shinemusic.com. The History of Pop Music. 2007. Web, 23 April 2012
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