Roots of Pop Music

Question Description

I need you to edit this paper and make it so it meets all the requirements listed below.

Trace the development of popular music from the 1920s until modern times (the music that you listen to). You can comment on style if you wish, but we are mainly interested in the lyrics and their message. What themes are present in the lyrics? What are people worried about? What are they happy about?

Pick a song that is representative of the style of music during each decade from the 1920s until the 2010s–a total of ten songs. Listen to the song, find the lyrics and read them. Think about them–what are they telling us about the people and their lives during each decade?

Write at least one lengthy, detailed paragraph* for each song that you pick. Include a brief discussion of the theme and importance of the song and its message. Be objective, not personal: We want to know what these songs tell us about history and the people living during those times. This is not a song review: we are not that interested in whether you liked the song or not; etc. Any comments you make on style should be related to the historical content. We want to learn something about how music reveals important things about the lives of people.

Your last page should be a summary of what you have learned. What common themes are present during this ninety years of music? How are the lives of common, working class people revealed in these songs?

Make a bibliography of the songs you pick and include it at the end of your paper. Use the Turabian format for a music citation; a link is provided in the Study Guidelines module.

A typical paper of this type would be at least 6-8 pages. You can write more if you wish, but quality is more important than quantity.

The main grading criteria listed in the syllabus will be used on this paper, especially adequate, clear and accurate information about the songs.

Have some fun with this! It is interesting to find out the roots of the music you listen to. Impress your friends with your knowledge of pop music in America.

*Each paragraph must be at least six complete sentences, written in your own words. Include at least one verse or lyric from each song you picked. Be objective, accurate and detailed.

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1 Kaylie Yanda Bradley Dyke U.S. History Since 1877 29 Oct. 2018 The Roots of Pop Music Swanee – Al Johnson (1920) Swanee is a love song specifically dedicated to a place that the writer longs to be. He values that place and he would even forsake his mother to be in that place; “D-I-X-I-E-ven no My mammy’s Waiting for me, Praying for me, Down by the Swanee, The folks up north will see me no more”. This song visualizes people and their problem and they are willing to go miles to hide from them. The fact is that even if you go miles away, the problems will always confront you either mentally or physically; “Swanee, I am coming back to Swanee!, Mammy, Mammy, I love the old folks at home!”. Billie Holiday – “Strange Fruit” (1939) This is a protest song that has a stable relevance. Its lyrics symbolize the dominance of racism at that time and the practice of lynching the blacks; “Blood on the leaves and blood at the root, Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze, Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees”. Strange fruit in this song symbolizes the black people. The black people who were in southern America faced cruelty, pain, and racism. This era appeared to be so dark and twisted as it typically gives someone a mental picture of what was happening in America. People were not 2 supposed to protests and if found doing so, would be hanged with the African Americans in the public venue for spectacle; “Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees”. This Land is Your Land by Woody Guthrie (1940) This song literally means that the American land belongs to everybody and this is simply a blessing to the people of America. Whether white, black or the minor group in American, you are entitled to enjoy the full benefits of the land. This may probably be a Marxist response that says God bless the land of America. Come Fly with Me Frank Sinatra (1958) Come Fly with Me is a fun song because it shows obvious leisure concepts; “Come fly with me, we’ll fly, we’ll fly away, If you can use some exotic booze, There’s a bar in far Bombay, Come on fly with me, we’ll fly, we’ll fly away.” This song is crafted to draw attention specifically from the elements that the writer uses such as a sunset walk on the beach. This song dazzles and impresses the listeners. The biggest draw in this song is the vocal capabilities that soar to new heights. Sam Cooke – “A Change Is Gonna Come” (1964) This song shows that there are protests during this era and people have hopes that soon, a change will come. The worries of the people at this time is that they were denied their rights. If blacks were found on the streets alone those days they were threatened or punished violently; “I 3 go to the movie and I go downtown, Somebody keep tellin’ me don’t hang around”. They were dispised in America and no white at that time would be seen talking or helping the black people; “Then I go to my brother, And I say brother help me please, But he winds up knockin’ me, Back down on my knees, oh”. This song gave the people of that era hope that there is this one day that they will experience change. The problem is that they would never leave America because they did not know how better or worse other countries would have treated them; “It’s been too hard living, but I’m afraid to die, ‘Cause I don’t know what’s up there, beyond the sky”. Sex Pistols – “God Save The Queen” (1977) This song is about rebellion amongst the youth against British politics. This song shows that many people at that time felt alienated because of the continued rule of the royal monarchy; the queen was the ruler at that time. The problem with monarchy ruling is that a monarch overstays at the throne and all the time there will be no diversity due to lack of young and ambitious leaders. Young people are not contented with the leadership establishment that is why they are asking God to intervene. England sees that they will not have any future that they had dreamed of if they continue being oppressed in a government that will not change soon; ”God save the queen, We mean it, man, There’s no future, In England’s dreaming God save the queen”. The problem with England at that time is maybe they were being led by someone who was not responsible, had poor governance, and was amassing wealth for herself. Public Enemy – “Fight the Power” (1989) 4 This song embodies the pride that the black people have, their complaints about discrimination, and they are also taking shots at the white icons of that time; “Mother fuck him and John Wayne, ‘Cause I’m Black and I’m proud, I’m ready and hyped plus I’m amped, Most of my heroes don’t appear on no stamps”. The worries of the people specifically the black is that they have the public enemy within. They are not represented in parliament and through the lyrics, they would have made one of them to keenly listen and get to participate in politics. The African American community cared so much about their lives and they saw people who were thought to protect them as the enemy. Despite focusing on the black community, it urged everybody in the nation that they can easily get behind power and unify people; “What we got to say (yeah), Power to the people no delay, Make everybody see, In order to fight the powers that be”.The good thing about people’s complaint is that its persistence leads to the creation of solutions. R.E.M. – Losing My Religion (1991) The term losing my religion in this song does not mean losing your faith, rather, it literally implies someone losing his/her temper. This song basically talks about life and the opportunities that it gives different people. People are destined to do different things in life and so they should not focus on what the others are doing. A friend’s life may seem peaceful but there are different times that he/she experiences sorrows. Live Your Life T.I ft. Rihanna (October 27, 2008) 5 The theme and message present in this song is contentment; many people do not recognize their ability to remain contented with what they have or what they have worked for. The general plague of mankind is being pleased with one’s or friend’s station in life. The worries of people portrayed in this song are that they do not get to live their lives. In this world, everything needs money and people need to steadily work for it. Being less contented with what you have will make you seek other dangerous/ illegal ways of getting money. That may end up badly with a loss of life. People in this decade are happy because all they have worked for will finally be rewarded; “I’m the opposite of moderate, immaculately polished with the spirit of a hustler and the swagger of a college kid”. Someone’s life may be difficult or full of disappointment but following the right path and friends will lead to success. 1+1 Beyoncé (2011) This song talks about love. The singer talks about the power of love she has for her man and she equates their love to an algebra; “Cause I got it with you, I don’t know much about algebra, but I know 1+1 equals 2, And it’s me and you”. She is contented with the love that he has for his man and if she lacks somethings material wise or emotionally, she knows that there is someone who will always care. 6 Summary Pop music origin is rooted back in the 1900s. The different decades reveals the different music styles like the jazz pianos and the late music trend in the late 1990s to the early 20th century. The roots of the pop music are found in rhythms that are improvised especially in the jazz era of the 1930s and the big band era which ruled in the 1950’s. A new type of music emerged in the 1960s. Music in the 1960s was called rock and roll featuring fast rhythms with soulful lyrics. The first king of rock and roll was Elvis Presley. The 1960s decade music was known as the British music invasion. The years between the late 1990s and early 2000s were the best years that pop music ever had. The themes of lust and love are all over the lyrics of pop music over the past 90 years. An examination of any changes from one decade to the next is not seen, these two themes tend to interrelate with the music lyrics over the years. Apart from love being the most important theme in the song, the artists, especially, in the late 1990s and early 2000s are talking about money and the flashy things in life. The liberation theme is present in most jazz songs which were majorly performed by the blacks. There is human oppression and that is obviously noted in the lyrics. 7 The lyrics expose suffering and pain caused by uncontrollable events in the singer’s life. The level of oppression is also expressed in the vocals. The life of the common working people is revealed to be stressful because of the oppression of the leaders. These leaders have maintained power amassing wealth and also promoting some acts such as corruption. Work Cited 8 1+1 Beyoncé (2011) Billie Holiday – “Strange Fruit” (1939) Come Fly with Me Frank Sinatra (1958) Live Your Life T.I ft. Rihanna (October 27, 2008) Public Enemy – “Fight the Power” (1989) R.E.M. – Losing My Religion (1991) Sex Pistols – “God Save The Queen” (1977) Sam Cooke – “A Change Is Gonna Come” (1964) Swanee – Al Johnson (1920) This Land is Your Land by Woody Guthrie (1940) …
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