What's In The Music?
Recently a young female client of mine arrived at her weekly voice lesson and told me that she wanted to sing a particular song by a popular male artist. After a few warm ups I Googled the song so we could have a listen to it. As we listened through the song it became increasingly obvious that it was of a very extreme and depressive nature.
The lyrics of the chorus were as follows –
I'd catch a grenade for ya Throw my hand on a blade for ya I'd jump in front of a train for ya You know I'd do anything for ya
Oh, oh, I would go through all this pain Take a bullet straight through my brain Yes, I would die for ya, baby But you won't do the same
Now I know that this is a very popular song and many, many people know it, and like it, however I wonder how many people have actually sat down and read the lyrics, nonetheless imagined these words on the lips of a 13 year old? Many people tell me that they have no idea what the songs they are singing are about; it’s very easy to just hum along to a song on the radio and not have any idea what you are actually humming along to. However a very interesting thing happens when you remove the music in a song and just read out the lyrics; it becomes very clear what is being communicated. Not only that, but the state of being the writer was in at the time of writing it, also becomes obvious.
I asked my client if she would read the lyrics out loud for me. As she read through them she started to giggle, when I asked her what was funny she said words to the effect of “ This is pretty crazy”. I agreed. I then asked her what state of mind she thought the person was in when they wrote this? Were they feeling well and feeling confident in themselves? “No” she said. What ensued was an honest conversation about what the song was about and if she felt it was a healthy choice for her. My client eventually decided that she didn’t want to sing the song and we moved on.
This article is not about critiquing artists or the lyrics they write, however it is about becoming more aware and discerning of the quality of music we choose to listen to. Sound is a vibration that is easily absorbed by the human body. Have you ever listened to sad, angry, depressive or even overly excited music for an extended period of time? It has an affect. The energetic quality and intent the music is made in can easily affect us equally.
As I scrolled through the Australian Aria chart a couple of weeks ago, it was a very sad state of affairs. The number one song in Australia was pornographic in every way, it’s lyrical content, it’s music, the voices of the female singers and the video are one complete package of pornography. This song is on the mainstream radio and video channels and can be accessed by any age group. To top it off, I hear that it’s very popular with young girls lip sinking and dancing to it on the latest social media platform Tik Tok. This is very concerning to say the least.
So what can we do about this on a practical level? The main thing is pay attention to the music that's around us and to be really honest with ourselves and see it for what it really is. Then we can decide if it’s healthy for us and our kids, or not.
Many parents have spoken to me about how full on the content of music is today and how much of it is not fit for their children to engage with. Most find themselves shielding their kids from songs on the radio and videos on the internet, which is completely understandable considering what’s out there. The key is to be really honest and discern the quality of music ourselves and to educate our kids to do the same for themselves, so they realise how music is affecting them. The bottom line is that people are deeply influenced by music on a level that is not immediately obvious, so it’s well worth being discerning about what we and our children are listening to and engaging with.