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Music and Its Effects on Society Then and Now: Critical Essay

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Music can possibly change a state of mind and mood, and empower idiosyncratic behavior and views in society. Actually, the normal American tunes into four hours of music every day! Simply envision what sort of effect music is having on our feelings for the duration of the day, regardless of whether we deliberately acknowledge it or not. So, to put it plainly, music has the ability to socially, ethically, and sincerely impact our general public. Consequently, the more purposeful we progress toward music, messages, and states of mind we make when creating music, the more dominant we will be coming in having a bigger impact on society. Musicians have the mandate and authority to change our world on account of the impact they have and how they are seen in the public eye.

Throughout the decades, music has been used to communicate ideologies and start revolutions, as well as pass messages to the public. For as far back as the 1960s, music has been linked to great events in history. During this decade America experienced great social, economic, and political change, as described by Bob Dylan in his song dubbed ‘The Times They Are A-Changing’’ (1964). There were a series of social movements that aimed to stamp out the social inequalities in American society. The most prominent of these movements was the civil rights movement which sought to ensure absolute equality before the law for all African Americans in the United States. They marched to the streets singing songs to support their endeavors while they tried to achieve their goals. Most of the songs that were produced in this decade all had the same message and tone, which was to gunner more support and show the rest of society how wrong they were. Women also wanted to be considered and given equal opportunities as men when it came to making contributions to the growth of the economy. They lamented about the unequal wages. There were other movements, such as the fighting for the rights of gay and lesbian members in society, as well as the condemning of the Vietnam War, which some people deemed immoral and refused to participate. All these movements were backed by songs that were used to pass the message, as well as try to change people’s ideologies on how they viewed these historic events.

The black power movement that started in the 60s continues even in the 70s. The black community continues to express their displeasure with the way that they were treated by the white community. They soldiered onwards stronger than ever and even invented a symbol to show how proud they were of being black (involved raising the right hand in a black glove). This became a symbol of black pride and was supported by musicians from all walks of life, such as Johnny Cash. He only wore black attire, while on stage, with his long black coat, which was in contrast to the stereotypes associated with the color. Johnny Cash decided to distance himself from the beliefs of other singers and even went a step further to explain why he did it in a song (‘The Man in Black’, the 1970s). His protest, though subtle, went a long way in the revolution at the time.

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Amid the 80's we likewise observed the breakdown of conventional socialism and the end of the Cold War. The discontinuity of socialism incorporated the breakdown of the Berlin Wall and the separation of what was the USSR towards the finish of the '80s, prompting German reunification. The 80s additionally flagged a time of the ascent of conservatism in political and social life, brought about by Margaret Thatcher in the UK and Ronald Reagan in the USA. Many of the countries in South America also returned to democracy after a long period of dictatorship, and it was considered a turning point. The Senate also passed a bill that virtually eliminated the practice of busing to achieve racial integration. After the abrogation of servitude in the United States, three Constitutional changes were passed to give recently liberated African Americans legitimate status: the Thirteenth Amendment annulled bondage and slavery, the Fourteenth gave them citizenship, and the Fifteenth ensured the right to vote. Notwithstanding these revisions and social liberties acts to uphold the corrections, somewhere in the range of 1873 and 1883, the Supreme Court passed on a progression of choices that for all intents and purposes invalidated crafted by Congress amid Reconstruction. Viewed by numerous individuals as peasants, blacks were isolated from whites by law and by private activity in transportation, open housing, recreational offices, penitentiaries, military, and schools in both northern and southern states. In 1896, the Supreme Court authorized legitimate detachment of the races by its decision in H.A. Plessy v. J.H. Ferguson, which held that a different however break even with offices did not damage the U.S. Constitution's Fourteenth Amendment. Music development in this decade was as usual with artists trying to tackle everyday problems with lyrics and wordplay.

This however changed in the 1990s when the World Wide Web rose to greatness. It was a new phenomenon that tickled the interest of many Americans and other people in the world. The message in the music became more direct and vibrant than ever before, with new genres and types of music being released and spread through the web. With the Internet to spread awareness atrocities such as the beating of an African-American man named Rodney King by police officers in Los Angeles did not go unnoticed even though the officers were not charged. Songs were sand and played all over to express people's feelings in their situations. The rap music scene had developed to a crescendo before the finish of the '80s, and during the '90s it exploded, making not just inward city youths have rap playing on their Walkmans, but also those from rural areas young as well. Musicians such as Dr. Dre and ‘The Chronic’, Snoop Dogg and ‘Doggystyle’, Tupac with ‘All Eyez on Me’, The Notorious B.I.G. and ‘Ready to Die’, Eminem, The Wu-Tang Clan with ‘Enter the Wu-Tang’, The Fugees, and The Score – the decade of the '90s generated a ridiculous number of rap hits and was primed for the music genre to create classic sounds that not only defined music but an entire generation and the issues around them. These songs among others were very controversial and sparked discussions over race censorship and the class that indulged these songs. They were viewed as somewhat different.

The music has evolved more as we have progressed. The songs that are now being produced cut across all races, gender, and social status in society. A perfect example is ‘Hush’ by Usher, which focused on the everyday American and how they perceive the issues affecting them in society. They tend to ignore and neglect the simple problems that are right in front of them and choose to serve only their goals. “Searching through the channels, skipping past the news, she is more entertained by gossip, because it's more hurtful to see the truth”. This is the kind of music that raises awareness and brings people together to serve a common objective and tackle problems in our society.

In conclusion, music has evolved from being seen as belonging to one culture or a particular group of people to what it is today. Through the use of technology and social media, we have developed a way of using music to reach and touch the heart of people throughout the globe, unifying them to be one. We have transcended our petty differences and achieved common goals by finding some common ground. This is because we spend almost four a day listening to music that contains ideas and messages coming from people from all walks of life. Ever since the digitization of music records in the ‘70s and ‘80s, we have become what can be perceived as a cohesive unit in that music can be used to reach and convince our social ideologies peacefully, thus reducing the risk of extreme measures such as riots. An example is a video by Joyner Lucas ‘I'm Not Racist’, sharing views about each other peacefully through spoken word without fear of judgment or retaliation.


    1. Campbell, M. (2018). Popular Music in America: The Beat Goes On. Cengage Learning.
    2. Hanson, J., & Hanson, K. (2006). The Blame Frame: Justifying (Racial) Injustice in America. Harv. CR-CLL Rev., 41, 413.
    3. Rose, T. (1994). Black Noise: Rap Music and Black Culture in Contemporary America (Vol. 6). Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press.
    4. Nelson, R. L., & Bridges, W. P. (1999). Legalizing Gender Inequality: Courts, Markets and Unequal Pay for Women in America (Vol. 16). Cambridge University Press.
    5. Ture, K., & Hamilton, C. V. (1992). Black Power: The Politics of Liberation. New York: Vintage.
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