How Music Can Touch Lives and Shape Perspectives

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Updated: Aug 28, 2023
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Category: Music
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Put in your headphones and play with your favorite artist. When you listen to their music, do you listen to the lyrics, or do you just listen to it because you enjoy the beat? Many people in our generation don’t take the time to listen to the message artist are trying to put out through their lyrics.


The Essence and Evolution of Music

Music plays an essential role in our lives. It is the art of expressing emotions and ideas in significant sounds formed by using elements of rhythm, melody, and harmony through voices, instruments, or all together. Throughout the year, music has changed dramatically.

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Due to our modern technology now, it is much easier for our younger generation to access the truly corrupt stuff that’s out there. Although not all music lyrics have a distorted message, the younger generation needs guidance to see the meaning and consequences of the music industry.

The Dopamine Effect and Music’s Cognitive Benefits

Music makes the listener feel good and helps improve their mood. However, this all depends on the type of song and genre you’re listening to. When we satisfy our desire to experience any type of pleasure, such as eating, sleeping, being active on social media, watching our favorite TV show, or reproducing, our brain releases dopamine, the ‘feel-good’ neurochemical. It turns out this exact chemical is released when listening to music (Psychology Today 1). However, we don’t always listen to music for the feeling it provides us with. Many people may listen to music while doing homework because it helps them concentrate. It is believed that these cognitive benefits arise from emotions because positive effects can improve cognitive performance and make you feel like you can accomplish anything. Current lyrics in most popular songs today involve tons of explicit meanings and messages behind them. With Madonna, The Beatles, and surprisingly even Elvis Presley (MEDIA SMARTS 1). Each artist played a part in how music is today and challenged the music industry with their controversial and derogatory lyrics, music videos, and even dance moves. Madonna, for example, when her album Like A Virgin dropped in 1984, one of her songs named after the album got a lot of attention. She was sexually explicit and actually used the word virgin, which was rare. These lyrics changed her image: ‘Hoo, Like a virgin. Touched for the very first time. Like a virgin. When your heart beats, Next to mine. Gonna give you all my love, boy. My fear is fading fast. Been saving it all for you ‘Cause only love can last.’ Over the course of time, this revolutionized the music we have today (Biography 1).

Technological Changes and Musical Value

If we go back to 80’s music, the instruments were used differently than in prior times, like in the 70s. Before they synced via MIDI, it was important that the bands recorded lived together and had the tracks added up while using the drummer (CNN 1).While this change improved music, it also started an issue that seemed as if music lost its actual value, the main purpose of what music is all about in the first place. Now some artists go into the studio, record, and get out.

Problematic Lyrics in Contemporary Music

Music hasn’t changed that much, but inappropriate lyrics have definitely become more common in our generation. Hip-hop and rap are two of the biggest genres that the younger generation listens to. These genres have received a lot of criticism over their graphic concepts of sex, drugs, and women. While this concept isn’t anything new, it is causing more issues because music is now more attainable to children without their parents knowing what they’re listening to. This can impact bad behavior (PMC 2). The average adolescent is exposed to approximately 84 references to explicit substance use per day and 591 references per week, or 30,732 references per year, according to the study from The Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine (New York Times 2). Human beings learn through direct everyday experiences but also through exposure to the behavior of their favorite celebrities model. Since people connect deeply with music, perhaps more than other entertainment, media can easily influence the development of an adolescent’s identity. (CNA 1)

Gender Representation in Music

Music genres portray the two genders very differently. A lot of music in our generation has problems with misogyny and degradation of women.

Although it’s mainly seen in rap, all music genres are at fault. Women are portrayed as sex symbols who are powerless accessories for men. In rap lyrics, women are told they should flaunt their bodies and taunt men. For example, in music videos, they focus mainly on the woman’s body instead of their face and how they should treat a man. However, for men, they are seen as self-obsessed, wealthy, demanding, or aggressive towards women. Women are just seen to serve male pleasure. Music creates these stereotypes, which can influence the younger generation to act this way. This shows a horrible expectation for boys on how they should treat women.

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The Intention Behind Music Production

For some artists, their main purpose is to make money, and they don’t realize how their music can affect the younger generation. However, for others, they are simply using their music to bring awareness to social problems in our society. The main problem is who their audience may be and how it can affect the development of adolescents who look up to these artists (CNA 1). Music is produced to make you feel a certain way, to connect with the meaning of the song. That’s why we all listen to it in the first place. We want closure or to be able to fit in. Regardless of the constant change, that’s the music industry, and it will always be that way. It will contentiously influence generations, either in a positive or negative way.

Concluding Thoughts

I believe music impacts a lot of the choices we make today. If that means living a certain lifestyle, helping you concentrate, or motivating you. How it allows you to think is strictly up to you. So once again, I ask, when you’re jamming out to your favorite music, do you listen to the lyrics or the enjoyment of the beat? Maybe you should rethink your answer.

Works Cited

  1. Psychology Today. (2019). The Neurochemistry of Music: How Music Affects the Brain and Mood.

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How Music Can Touch Lives and Shape Perspectives. (2023, Jun 18). Retrieved from