Does Popular Music teach immoral values?

Published 14 Feb 2017

Each glorious day, another situation greets us. At the present, we are given an opportunity to pause, to see where we have been, to ponder how our journey has been and where it is leading us now. At this point in time, we are challenged to appraise the kind of society we are into, the kind of people we are and evaluate what future there is for the younger generation. We are challenged to look at the different aspects of our society, affecting our beings, perceptions and values in life. Several modern environmental changes have shaped us into becoming people of lesser values.

Basically, we are into a society that is profit-oriented, without putting into consideration how environment affects integrity, attitude and values of all people from all walks of life. The concept of value has slowly deteriorated and has lost its meaning for the modern man. The perception over what values mean has changed, because, in the modern man’s view, the society has made a lot of progress, the mentality is different, the extent of perceiving life has broadened.

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One of the factors that contribute to the deteriorating values of each and every one of is the emergence and fame of popular music and the messages that are prevalent in every song. Evidently, what has happened in all forms of media, be it movies, music, literature, is that passion has been replaced with profits. No longer is it about how strongly someone believes in something or how much they dedicate themselves to their art, it is about money. It concerns no more on the quality but rather to the quantity of music produced. Producers of all types are willing to pick up anyone they can market, whether that means a girl with a pretty face or a guy with an attitude, and make them a star.

Popular music is the broadest and as the name would suggest, most popular genre of music today. It is defined as any music that belongs to a number of musical styles that are easily accessed by the general public. This kind of music is easily disseminated by one or more of the mass media. It stands in contrast to classical music, which historically was the music of elites or the upper levels of society, and traditional folk music which was disseminated and handed down from generation to generation by word of mouth.

Commonly, popular music is termed as pop music. Since most every one of us can easily access into it, the impact and the quality of self-learning one gets is questionable and are considered detrimental to the social, emotional and psychological growth of an individual.

Some time ago like back in the mid to late 80’s, the American government passed a law restricting kids’ access to explicit lyrics, specifically to compact discs that contained explicit lyrics. These compact discs had to have a sticker placed on the outside claiming that a particular cd contains explicit lyrics. The sales clerk now is aware to check the person’s identification card to verify the person’s age before the purchase is made. This is similar to R rated movies. With this, it was hoped, that there would be a little control as to who gets the cd and determine that person is at the right age to listen to such music. However, this was a big deal in the US considering our concept of freedom of speech. Now we are at a time where we can pretty much download anything we want whether explicit lyrics or not…

Unfortunately, most of the pop music we have contains thought-provoking themes. The government gets no control as to who gets the music or not. The worse is, parents are not always on guard on their kids to influence and guide their choice of music. Parents play a critical role in determining what does, or doesn’t, influence their teens. The wise parent teaches his teen to be discerning about media choices, however, in reality, this is not what is happening. And everyday, kids grow hearing and watching those music videos of young girls and boys engaging themselves into alcoholism, street fighting, excessive partying and even engaging into drug use, scenes portraying brutality and pain and even sex. The youth’s mind-setting is influenced and think that these acts are pleasant and worth imitating because they look up to the performers as their idols, possessing so much of talent and charisma and popularity.

Lewis black uses so many curse words in his comedy acts. Everyday I got to hear his songs. I have nothing against his lyrics because I am on the right age to know which ones are worth hearing and which ones are not. However, I worry how kids will take those kinds of words in their daily living. Constant listening and exposure to this music will eventually affect an individual’s thoughts and language. The Bible says, “Train up a child in a way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Although we have enough discipline towards the younger generation, but we are never assured what manner of individuals they shall be, considering the environmental factors that co-contribute to their development and maturity.

If you constantly feed garbage into your mind, eventually it is garbage you are going to speak out. Why is it that most of the kids can just utter or say these curse words? I have come to the conclusion that it is because of constant influence of pop music. They are not yet at the right age to decide for themselves and that they have the tendency to imitate what is evident in their environment.

Usually, when kids get mad or upset, the first thing their mind latches onto is to utter curse words. They do not act out their aggression…they just curse! Other than cursing, they talk or fight back against their elderly only to show off their misconception of independence and aggressiveness. They show violence as a sign of protest or disapproval. They shout whenever they are suppressed. And it is bitter to say that many adolescents in the US are engaging into drug and alcohol use at an early age and are involving themselves into early sex activities. These scenarios are not seen on news or children television but rather such traits are often portrayed in music videos and are the underlying themes in most of the songs, which have counter-effect to the individual patronizing such music.

Because behavior is learned through observation and imitation, children are especially vulnerable to the increased violence portrayed in the media. Physical and mental health problems (e.g., aggression, fear, desensitization to violence) are associated with exposure to media violence, supported by more than 3,500 research studies. These serious courses of actions are immoral and are not fitting to a society that claims to be an advocate of values and propriety. This should not be the kind of society that most other nations, like those in the developing and third world countries, is looking up to and portraying as a world model.

Therefore, to sum it up, I feel that popular music does influence the all of us, positively and at some point negatively specially to the youth. Although it is all a matter of taste, we still have to put into priority the welfare of the younger generation and their inability and immaturity to perceive good from bad. The mind of the younger generation is so delicate that it needs a government, a society that values it and caters it in the best way it can. There are a lot of music to come and the style that is most popular changes every so often. This is of course, because the youth’s taste for music changes. They determine what is popular. Music is similar to fashion…it all goes in a big circle…what was popular then, will be popular again someday. And what is popular today will fade and eventually come around to be popular again in the future. It will not be the exact same music as before, but it will very similar to what it was.

Over and over again, our styles of music will eventually change and we will still be facing this kind of predicament. However, it is imperative that the government should find corresponding measures to regulate the censorship of popular music, not on a personal basis but for the national advantage, with the youth as the supreme priority. The government should make it a point that the music industry should produce music with higher degree of excellence, good values and passion.

Both performers and listeners should instead be jamming their heart out not for the profit, but for the passion. Moreover, we as individuals should be responsible in our choices in music, recognizing the welfare of those young adults around us, and thereby promoting healthy growth. Music should be a driving tool to develop maturity within the youth and creating in them a positive outlook and disposition in life.

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