PURPOSE: The purpose of this assignment is to use content analysis to critically analyze how one social issue/problem is discussed and represented in popular culture through music lyrics.
BACKGROUND: There are many agents of popular culture though which the messages, themes and symbols of popular culture are produced and consumed. Media is a key agent of popular culture, and within it music is one mode for the production and consumption of popular culture . The music of the 1960’s marked a key period of transition in the United States as themes of social problems and dissidence started to fill the radio waves. This assignment will allow you to explore one social issue or problem in music today.
1) Choose ONE social issue or social problem (i.e. drugs, the environment, war, teenage pregnancy, hate crimes, etc).
2) Find at least 5 songs with lyrics that address your chosen social issue/problem. You will need to cite these songs using proper APA formatting (see blow).
3) Analyze the songs for similarities and differences in how they address the social issue/problem
– look for themes within and among the songs (i.e. songs about war that talk about ‘ending war’
– consider the year the songs were copyrighted
– consider the genre the song fits in
– is the song directed at a particular audience? (think socio-demographic characteristics: age, race/ethnicity, gender, socio-economic status (SES), and sexuality)
– what type of vocabulary, words, grammar, euphemisms, vernacular is used for the lyrics?
– Consider the actual production of the song as well: tempo, emotion, male/female singer, individual singer/band, etc.
4) Find at least two sources that address music AND your social problem (i.e. the sources are providing similar analysis or commentary on how your social problem is addressed through music). These may be popular sources (i.e. magazine articles or websites), but Wikipedia is NOT acceptable.
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