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The Psychology Of American Music

May 5, 2008

Every time I get in the car, I randomly cycle through various radio stations to hear what kind of music they’re playing. This is my thoughts on the kinds of music I hear.

Most music I hear is the artist telling a story of sorts. Most songs which are popular paint a picture of either a way of life, something going on in the world, or a psychological state. These sorts of pictures typically reflect what the artist is either going through, or has gone through in the past, and as they perform their music, people relate to them through their music.

I cannot speak much for the music of other countries, but as for American music, I find many themes running through main-stream popular music. And by “pop” I simply mean any song that is heavily listened to by a large audience, not neccessarily any particular style. First I will enumerate and explain these various themes, and afterwards I will give some case-studies of very popular songs, and show these themes within them.

1. Relationships and Love related
If a song is to be popular it must have a message which connects with a large audience. The most universal of problems people face in this world are those of finding love, and relationships with each other. Sometimes these songs are about emotional states of bliss and happiness when with their lover. Sometimes they’re about fights and disputes. Sometimes they’re about a lover being unfaithful in the relationship. But overall, these sorts of issues are the most prevalent in mainstream music.

2. Sex
This is closely tied to relationships, but I wanted to isolate this factor from it mainly due to the fact that I oftentimes find in songs people singing about the beauty of women. It’s not neccessarily about any sort of relationship with the woman, but moreso about the power women can have over men by using sexual attraction. Many men seem to sing songs of warning to other men to watch out, and not fall into this trap. Other times though, men and women both sing about the “fast life”, where the two come together and use each other for immediate enjoyment. This also includes “players” who seduce women, and women who sing about teasing guys.

3. Escapism
A very popular theme I’ve found running through many many pop songs of today is a theme of going to the club, having a good time, and while you’re in the club, forgetting about the real world, and just having a good time in the present moment. It seems very few people are happy with the life they’re living, and hope to find happiness during the late nights on weekends, where they drink some alcohol to numb their mind, then get lost in the lights, dancing, and loud music.

4. Life Confusion
This is another very popular theme I find in many songs. I always hear something along the line, “I don’t have all the answers”, or, “I don’t know what’s wrong, but I know things aren’t right.” Sometimes people complain about others thinking they know the way to happiness when they really don’t.

5. The Struggle – The World’s Messed Up
If they do not sing about overall being confused as to the state of affairs of the world, they like to tell their story. They paint a picture of their life and how things are for them. They perform their music and hope to find an audience of people who relate to them and “get” their music. These songs are about things such as disorderly homes, not being loved, people telling them they wouldn’t amount to anything, hard life circumstances and conditions (such as the ghetto, poverty, etc).

6. The Success Story – “You can rise above this too”
This is very closely tied to the struggle. Oftentimes after singing about the struggle, there is some sort of psychological message delivered. A sort of, “I made it, you can too”. Sometimes however, there is no, “you can too”, it’s just a “I made it”. There are many artists who take the role of a messiah for their particular way of life, and try to lead their listeners into a better life through their advice and encouragement. It’s not uncommon though just to find people proud of the fact that they made it, singing about the good life they’re living.

Now that we’ve talked about the messages you find in the music, let’s briefly describe the psychological underpinnings as to why these particular themes exist in mainstream music, and how they find such popularity.

Relationships and Love

I think the first theme, relationships and love, is obvious. The human constitution is wired in such a way to desire relationships with each other. People are simply born with a desire to find love, and find someone. It’s hard-wired into their system. But though the body is wired to find sex and reproduce, these base instincts do not accomdate for a successful relationship. The only way to have that is through love, knowledge, and discipline. You have to make sacrifices for one another, and take care of one another. This is repulsive to base animal instincts, and requires education, culture, and discipline to get a hold on. The education, discipline, sacrifice, and other factors it takes for successful relationships takes work and even when a person gets a hold of the proper education and takes proper steps to make the relationship work, things get very complicated. Most people judge the success of the relationship on happiness, which for the most part they take as the emotion of feeling good. Emotions however are very complicated, and difficult to find out. So you find many people singing songs about the struggle as to how to gratify their animal instincts to reproduce, yet at the same time balance this with their emotional structure and find happiness with this other person.

Sex

The next theme of sex is also immediately obvious. Sexual attraction is immediate and requires no effort of any kind to develop. The feeling of control over one another is a powerful intoxication which can get to any human being, and beautiful women become vulnerable to it quickly. They use their sexual attraction to seduce men into getting things. This is an interesting theme, so I’ll spend more time on it.

Many women face various opposing streams of thoughts in their mind when it comes to this issue. At one side of the coin, women do not want to be looked upon as a whore. That’s socially unacceptable. But on the other side of the coin, they love to be admired. They love the control they have over men, and the attention they receive. So you find many strange behaviors. Women will wear clothing which exposes their breasts, and shows off their curves, but at the same time, if they catch a man looking at them, they go off on them. It really comes down to them wanting the men to look at them, but only when they themselves do not notice (or to be more specific, when nobody noticed that they noticed, and that second person may be their own mind). This puts their minds at ease. In one respect the women wish to be chaste, pure, and special, who keep themselves for one man. But at the same time, they also want to be admired, and like the attention. You can pleasure yourself to their photo, or to any other form when they’re not looking, and they also want to know that you did so, but they rarely speak this out loud. They like it when men of all kinds approach them in every social setting, and try to get dates with them, but they do not want to think of themselves as so base that the only reason the men approached them was due to looks. God forbid. The men saw her inner beauties, her chastity, and her intelligence, and she tells herself that this is the reason the men hit on her. These two conflicts co-exist in their minds, and allows them to gratify themselves from both sides.

Men seem to be less vulnerable to this type of scenario, but men who are good looking and know it quite often use this to their advantage. With men though, it’s not near as complicated. Men are looked upon as “studs” if they can get many beautiful women to sleep with them. That’s why the complicated fractured dynamic women often have does not exist in men. Men brag about sleeping with beautiful women. They hang up the photos like a trophy. Women know this sort of thing exists. Part of the reason they set their mind in that conflict we just spoke of is because at the one side they want to be special to the guy, but they also know that many men are pursuing them for no other reason but to have sex with them, then leave them. Many desires are taking place here. Women like sex as well. They want to have sex, but they do not want to be whores. So they have contradictory behavior. They wear the seductive clothing to attract the attention, but do not want to notice the man admiring their breasts, and other curves, because they do not want to think of themselves as an object being used. They want to be special. The thought of themselves being an object to the man is revulsive to them, at least from a social point of view, but they have secret desires (even if unconscious) that many good-looking men will take them to the bedroom and have sex with them. Their instincts are there too, just like the men’s instincts, it’s only that the women’s are oftentimes covered by social conventions of morality. Every night when the man they’ve just met is taking them to his home for whatever excuse he’s told her, she always tells herself that this time will be different, the man is after her true inner beauty, and can see past her beautiful outer shell.

Now these women are not stupid. You always see a girl’s friend telling her, “He’s only after you for sex. Can’t you see that!” But then the girl replies, “This time’s different.” All of us have an inner sense of probability. This girl, being taken home by the man she just met, knows that in all probability that the outcome she’s hoping for is not likely. Now if the woman did not desire sex from the nice looking man as well, she would easily see this, and lose interest. But it’s easy to see she’s looking over things she knows to be the case because she has other desires as well. When people desire something, yet don’t desire something, and the two are in conflict, probability is not an accurate determination for what decision will take place. We can talk all day about the woman wanting a “real” love relationship with a man, and one that’s solid and has security and fulfillment. To her friends she acts like this is all that exists in her mind, and she doesn’t want these random sexual encounters. But she does want them. The two are in conflict. She represses the sexual desires to have sex with random men, and relieves herself of such thoughts. But on an unconcious level, these desires still exist within her, and are still influencing her decision making and rationality.

There’s more factors to this as well. Men and women both want security, but at the same time, commitment scares a lot of people. Many men sing in their songs about life being rough, and how they appreciate the help the woman provides (or the help they desire from a woman), but the thought of being tied down scares them as well. You always hear lyrics along the lines, “Baby, I need you”, but at the same time, bragging about being a “player” and sleeping with many women. Near all people understand that in this life not many things are solid, and things easily fall apart. We all want something we can depend upon. But when it comes to other people, whether it be our government or relationships, it’s difficult to trust and believe. Trust is difficult when you’ve been hurt in the past. As for faith in one another, when you see how nasty people can be, it’s hard to have faith in them, and see a world where people can be relied upon. Seeing beyond the present is a virtue many people lack, and becomes even more difficult to those who lack knowledge as to how success happens, and or have never experienced kindness and goodness practiced before.

Escapism

Life can be very difficult, and there are many ways people choose to deal with its problems. When you study depth psychology you find that the mind has very few ways to confront fears, yet it has a huge variety of ways to run away from problems. It seems only a matter of statistical probability that most people will choose to run from their problems, instead of confronting them.

As for ways to run from their problems, people can resist thinking on subjects. Sometimes they blame other things for their problems, instead of taking responsibility. Sometimes they deny their own faults and instead find them in others. Sometimes people deny their problems exist, or they belittle them and act like they’re not such a big deal. Sometimes they literally run from them, and try to hide in some place where their problems will not find them. Some people numb their mind with alcohol and drugs. Some use anger and drama to try to scare people away from confronting various topics they don’t want to talk about. Some use humor in a misplaced fashion and laugh about serious problems, and do not allow people to confront their problems. Some rationalize, and try to convince everyone that this problem is shared by so many people that it doesn’t matter (everyone’s doing it). Some procrastinate and avoid their problem. Some intellectualize and treat their problems in some abstract fashion, and try to use logic in a way which displaces that the event is actually happening to them. Some daydream, and lose themselves in fantasy, video games, and books, and try to forget that the real world exists.

The list goes on. There’s so many ways to run, but not many ways to stand firm in the trials of adversity. Every form of escapism inhibits progress and growth.

It’s not surprising to me to find in music people singing about going to the club, where they create their own heaven-like utopia, and ignore their problems, if only temporarily. Of course, it’s not very easy to do. Most problems aren’t so docile that they can be turned on and off like a light switch, or the press of a “forget about me” button. But the mind can easily be diverted by strong sensory impressions. So the music is turned up loud, lights flash brightly in splendid arrays, everyone dresses as sexy as they can, and alcohol exists in abundance; all methods to divert and numb the mind of the real world which awaits them the next morning.

Life Confusion

Life can be confusing. Near every wise man worth anything will tell you that the more you learn, the more you’ll learn how much knowledge you’re lacking. Stupid people seem to be the ones who think they know everything, which is quite ironic, yet makes perfect sense. Stupid people even lack the knowledge of the fact that they’re stupid. But besides this, the pursuit of knowledge and wisdom is an arduous journey, and everyone is in different stages of this process.

We all seem to know that every decision we make leads to a certain life destination. What we don’t know is what this destination neccessarily is, and whether or not there is more than one way to accomplish a goal, or whether a particular path is the only way to get to a desired location. Most decisions in life are made blindly in leaps of faith, and we all hope for the best.

There is the nature of probability and studying the experiences of others, but the world is always changing. Utopias and paths to them seem to become outdated with the advent of new ideas. And even with those things which have a degree of consistency, and follow some set laws, the process of learning is tiresome, and takes a lot of time, and most of us have little time to spend.

This situation is difficult, and many try to run from this and pray to God to lead them. They think of the futility of trying to make life decisions with their own knowledge and hope that the divine realm will help them. Others look to fate, and hope some sort of mystical force will take them where they need to go. Others run from their own freedom by thinking their life has some sort of meaning or purpose, instead of defining what they want to make their life to be.

I always tell people that there is no solution to a lack of knowledge. As long as you lack knowledge, you will live in confusion. The more you learn about something, the more the cloud of mystery and confusion surrounding that concept or thing dissipates. But until then, you’re forced to make decisions on blind faith, and hope for the best, or depend on the counsel of someone in whom you hope has knowledge enough to make a wise decision for you. But as for wise counselors, most cost money to hire out, and money is something most lack. The only other common way to acquire knowledge from wise counselors is from books and other instructional material, which presupposes that you have the means to acquire the material, and more importantly, the time to properly go through it, and ingest all the knowledge contained within it.

Some are fortunate enough to have parents, teachers, and access to other successful men and women who can teach them lessons about life, how things work, and how to achieve prosperity. But most do not have this luxury, and are forced to just go out there and see what happens.

On top of all of this, sometimes we don’t even learn from our mistakes, because we lack knowledge to such a degree that we don’t even know what to look for in our own failures to see where things went wrong. How many of us have found ourselves circling that same mountain over and over and over, wondering how we’ll ever find our way to the top of it? I’ll be first to raise my hand on that one.

Considering we all experience this, it’s no wonder it’s found in so many songs. We all see that inner mirror reflecting the state of knowledge of our own mind, and the picture is weak and pathetic. Most of us wonder how we made it as far as we have, considering our limited knowledge.

I’ve devoted my life to studying the books of Nobel laureates, philosophers, top scientists, and the other great thinkers of the world. Most of what you find is warnings as to what doesn’t work, expositions on all the flaws in the ways so many people try to find peace and happiness, and flaws in particular world-views, and how they could not possibly be true. I’ve found most of it unsatisfactory, at least unsatisfactory in respect to finding answers, but at the same time, I have seen some progress, and what better thing do we have to do than progress and make our lives better?

The main gist of wisdom I can shed on this topic, for whatever wisdom I may have, is that we must learn to work together, because the world is too complex to handle alone. In my early years of business, I used to try to do everything myself, and I wore myself out, and did not succeed in the least. But when I learned to raise capital, hire many employees, and work together with others, by sharing a common vision, I’ve began to achieve much greater success. But as we said earlier, it is difficult to work with others, to trust in others, and to get people together in one mind. Our base animal instincts are naturally selfish, and disinclined to have any notion of anyone nor anything but ourselves. I didn’t learn this concept very easily. Working together with others is difficult, but it’s not as difficult as trying to take on the world alone.

The Struggle – The World’s Messed Up

As just mentioned, every decision we make leads us to a certain life destination. The world which exists today is rooted in the decisions in which all the people living on it have made, past up until present. You must also combine this with natural factors which none of us had any part of, such as natural disasters. This leads to very complex scenarios.

When each of us are born, we inherit whatever life was left to us by our predecessors. This includes everything from our parents, our communities, and our governments. Now because of this, each of us inherits a certain starting point, which wasn’t decided upon by us.

Naturally due to this, some people have access to better lives than others, just by sheer luck. But at the same time, life is not some static thing which we’re stuck with. You can begin making decisions and pull yourself out of whatever mess you’re in. I will say this though – it’s harder for some people than others, mainly due to the fact that they start off with such difficult initial circumstances.

Many people relate their journey, and their starting points in their songs. Sometimes this is for a warning to others, and other times it’s just to let others know that, “hey, not everyone has it like you. take a look at this.”

Throughout my studies of history, one of the main progresses in the history of man has been a more even distribution of starting points, easier accesses to success, sharing of successes, and even sharing of failures. This leads to people creating a web-work where the strong catch the weak and save them from destruction, and nurse them toward becoming self-sufficient and powerful themselves, so that they can help those in need as well. Education was initially confined to a select few who were lucky enough to be born of a particular bloodline, or priesthood, but now a certain degree of education is available to all, and in some more developed nations, even higher level learning is freely accessible to anyone who wants it. These things are paid for by those who are successful, who have money to pay taxes to fund these social programs. But when this is lacking, very sad stories unfold.

If you listen to 2Pac’s song ‘Brenda’s Got A Baby’, you hear a true story of a ghetto girl. Born of two crack addicted parents, the girl grows up not even knowing she’s living in a mess. When she turns 12, her cousin starts making sexual advances on her, and her parents allow it due to the fact that they want the baby, in order to get the child support welfare checks. She has the baby on a public bathroom floor, and doesn’t even know what to keep, or what to throw-away. She throws the baby in the dumpster, but it cries and she is emotionally convicted. Her parents end up throwing her out, angry due to the fact that they won’t get the child-support checks, so she ends up on the street. She tries selling drugs, but ends up being robbed. Having no money, and no way to get a roof over her head, she becomes a prostitute, and is later murdered, I’m assuming by one of her “customers”.

What a waste. The girl never even had a chance. She was only a small girl, not taught anything, confused with feelings and emotions she didn’t understand, and people trying to take advantage of her from every angle. She was weak, and did not know how to make it in the very cruel world she found herself in.

History of full of such people who were never given a chance. People born into slavery. People born as peasants to work the lands of the rich. Women born into cultures where they had no rights, and no access to education. Progress came as these sorts of things were abolished, and a more even distribution of starting points and access to education and other forms of success was given.

I hate it when I hear people talking about “everyone’s responsible for where they are in life.” That mindset is really half-true. Sometimes people are given ample opportunity, and their own laziness and lack of initative keep them from moving forward. But there are many cases where people just aren’t given a chance. Sometimes, also, people just need some psychological coaching, to help clean them up of all the bad thinking that has been programmed into their minds.

We mentioned before that mankind has a natural inclination to selfishness and to think only of himself. When someone wants something to be true, even in the face of evidence, they cling to what they want to be the case, and let their instinctive impulses sway their decision to what isn’t completely rational. This mindset of “everyone is responsible for their own lives” panders to the instinct of selfishness, because you can always use this as an easy excuse to over-simplify people’s situations, and absolve yourself from helping anyone else. Whenever you’re doing well, and see someone else in need, you can just say to yourself, “They’re only there due to their own failures.” That may be the case, but sometimes it’s not. Even if it is the case, we’ve seen that all progress has came from people being given a chance, and then the large numbers of weak themselves become strong, and a greater prosperity ensues. But as I said before, it’s difficult to believe in others, and see beyond the present. You see the weak ghetto girl, uneducated, blood covered shirt, holding her bloody baby in her arms and think, “What could come of this pathetic ghetto girl?” And the real question to be posed is, “Who are you to say?” People want certainty of results before they’ll invest time and effort into someone else, but you’ll never find this. Any investment which offers good returns demands high risk.

This may show my nerdy side, but I remember watching a Star Trek episode, and a very advanced race of aliens were encountered, whose knowledge transcended near all comprehension. But they treated the starship’s crew very poorly, like lab-rats to be played with for their pleasure. The purpose of the episode was to ask the question whether intelligence always amounts to progress, and if these alien beings were so powerful and intelligent, why didn’t they have any sort of moral clarity? I sometimes try to imagine myself encountering such beings, and if I look pathetic and weak in their eyes, will they believe in me? Would I be worth their time, to share their vast knowledge with? The same question could be posed to man encountering God, and whether God should give us the time of day.

Of whatever wisdom I may have, I’ve also learned this. All wise men do not look to circumstances or what is immediately present, but always see beyond what is right in front them, and see the UNSEEN POTENTIAL IN THINGS. A wise man knows the energy stored within a thing, and knows how to bring it out. They can take scraps and build you a beautiful home. They can take a person in poverty and give them wisdom and show them how to succeed.

If a person needs ideal circumstances before they can accomplish anything, they are worthless. Ideals never exist. “I could do this, if only this this and that weren’t the case.” Well, this this and that are the case, and we have to make due with what we do have, not with what we don’t. Wisdom is just the opposite of needing ideal circumstances. The less ideal the circumstances, the more you need a man of wisdom who knows how to fix things.

The main problem with this though is that every time you go to help someone you are spending your time, and time to us is precious, especially if you’re a valuable member of society.

Though even with these difficulities I still believe it’s unwise to judge others. To judge means to say what someone does or does not deserve based on their past actions. To me, I don’t care about getting some sort of invisible retribution. They don’t owe me any sort of amends, even if they’ve caused me trouble. I simply want them to change their ways, and stop doing what’s hurting us both. I think if a person is truly wise, he will be able to turn worthless people into people of value. He should be able to instill confidence and faith into those he speaks to, and take someone who is down and bring them up. I believe all people’s failures is due to bad programming and bad reinforcement, and all lack of motivation in people due to past inhibitors, which may possibly be unconscious. I oftentimes speak of laws of success, and laws of the mind which bring about power. If such laws do exist, that means they can be taught to others, and that there’s something to teach. I don’t believe it’s a purely arbitrary process completely due to the person. It’s due to a person who has knowledge of these laws of mental power and success, and aligns themselves with these laws, and learns how to remove all inhibitors which are holding him back.

The Success Story

The last theme to discuss is success stories you find in many songs. These songs are of the “I made it” variety, and sometimes of the “you can make it too” variety. I will now briefly explain the psychological reasons behind these sorts of lyrics.

In his book ‘Civilization and Its Discontents’, Sigmund Freud wrote about the nature of happiness, and the psychological laws behind various emotions. The most common emotion which we label ‘happiness’ is generated in one of two ways. Mild happiness is created whenever you have a small goal, and you accomplish it. So if you want to have a continual mild happiness, you must set many small goals, and be continually accomplishing them. Euphoric happiness is brought about whenever you set a large goal, which is hard to achieve. You work hard, and day after day you struggle. You work so hard and you wonder how you’ll ever achieve this goal. Then as you grow so tired and depressed that you don’t know if you can go on, finally a way presents itself and you’re able to accomplish the goal you’ve longed for for so long. When this happens you’re filled with euphoric bliss. You finally did it! You made it!

Now to give the explanation as to why so many people sing about their success is simply because this is euphoric bliss for them. They were poor and struggling, and never knew how they would make it where they are today. Some of them come from very formidable early conditions, and they’ve risen to a high degree of success, and after so many years of toil and struggle, they’re very proud of where they’ve came from.

I once heard a Christian accuse rappers of being vain, and being all about money and women. This person failed to see what’s really going on. With rappers, many of them grew up on welfare, were told they would never amount to anything, and in their early years had no foreseeable future ahead of them. They kept trying and doors presented themselves to land their record deals and make money. When they drive through the ghetto with their expensive car, wearing their expensive watch, they are filled with that same sort of happiness that a business owner is when he stands outside of his successful corporate office building, and takes that glance and says to himself, “I did it.”

There’s a video you can watch on Youtube by Sean Kingston, and the song is called ‘Take You There’. You see Sean taking an attractive girl for a ride in his expensive car, through the ghetto where he was raised. I saw some of the comments saying, “Who would want a tour of the ghetto? Why would a girl be attracted to a guy wanting to take her there?” They fail to see what’s really going on. When Sean drives the girl through that area, he’s saying, “Look at where I started. This is what I was born into. I was born around all of this, but look at me now. See this car? See what I have? I am a man who can rise above circumstances like this. I can make things happen.”

Whenever you see rappers, and other artists singing about their success, they are doing so because they had to come a long way to get where they are, and it took them a lot of struggle. It’s not meant to show off to anyone. Those sorts of songs are like a corporate business owner having all his employees stand outside the new building next to the corporate logo sign, taking a picture with him standing in front, cutting a blue ribbon, and placing that picture on the wall of his home for memories.

When they flash their watches, show off their cars, and other displays of wealth, it has nothing to do with showing off to the watcher of the video. It has to do with the artist telling themselves, “See, I wasn’t a loser after-all. I made it. I did it. Look at me now!” If they are showing off anything, it has nothing to do with the actual watches, cars, etc. It has to do with them showing that they are a valuable person, and can accomplish things in life. If the cars and watches that are displayed in the video were cheap, and some other cars and watches were expensive, they’d be driving the other cars, and wearing the other watches. If cars and watches were not signs of being valuable, but instead possession of some other nik-nak showed social value, they’d film themselves standing near the nik-nak, and flashing it around. The videos are really saying, “These things are expensive, but how could I afford them if I wasn’t a valuable person?”

So we see that though at first sight we may have thought that their display of wealth, flashing cars, watches, necklaces, etc., was due to their own insecurities, it really displays confidence in themselves to overcome obstacles.

The main problems with the music artist showing off his wealth, versus the business man taking the picture to hang up on his wall, is that though they both display the same psychological success story, the music artist falls victim to the fact that he or she likely won’t be popular a few years from now, and could easily only be a one-hit or a few-hit wonder. Afterwards this newly acquired lifestyle tends to burn though the money rather quickly and not long later they’re back in the ghetto with nothing to show for it other than a year or two of good times. The business owner has no such negative consequences.

Case Studies

Now I will go through several very popular songs, and exmaine the lyrics, and show these recurring themes we just spoke of in them.

Kanye West – Stronger
——————————————————-
– “that which don’t kill me, can only make me stronger”
I don’t neccessarily agree with this. It really depends on how you deal with your problems, and if you’re able to see where you went wrong. A person isn’t always able to do this, and sometimes problems just leave people bitter and even neurotic. This is him sharing a life lesson in his music, but his lesson is really a half-truth.

– “let’s get lost tonight”
This is an example of the Escapism we talked of.

– “do anybody make real shit anymore”
This is an example of the struggle, the world’s messed up.

– “Bow in the presence of greatness
….
You should be honored by my lateness
That I would even show up to this fake shit”
I find this portion of lyrics interesting mainly due to the fact that why is he there if he doesn’t want to be? This is the world being messed up, and also partly a success story, saying he doesn’t need to put up with this sort of thing anymore.

– “I don’t know if you got a man or not,
If you made plans or not
God put me in the plans or not
I’m trippin’ this drink got me sayin’ a lot
But I know that god put you in front of me”
This is an example of love and relationships, the escapism in action (influence of alcohol), and also the superstition of asking God to make his decisions for him (escapism).

– “So how the hell could you front on me
There’s a thousand you’s there’s only one of me”
This is an awful thing to say to a girl, but we spoke of this dynamic in love and sex.

Kanye West – Flashing Lights
———————————————————–
– “She don’t believe in shooting stars, but she believes in shoes and cars”
This is an example of sex. Woman using her sex appeal to get things.

– “She in the mirror dancing so sleezy”
This is love and relationship problems. She’s dancing in the mirror in order to get attention and seduce men. Or at least is practicing. He’s worried he can’t keep a hold on her.

Sean Kingston – Beautiful Girls
————————————————————-
– “damn all these beautiful girls, they only want to do you dirt”
This is love and relationships, combined with sex. The pretty girl is bored, and uses an unattractive, but fun guy, for a temporary good-time until she finds a guy she really likes.

– “they’ll have you suicidal when they say it’s over”
She’s using him. Once again, talked about this under sex.

– “you’re way too beautiful girl, thats why it’ll never work”
Same theme.

– “it’s very defined, you’re one of a kind”
Girl wants to be special, but does not want to commit. They want to be loved, but do not want to return the love. We talked about this.

– “when i went away for doing my first crime… mommy move me down south”…
This is success story combined with the struggle.

– “now we’re fussing, now we’re fighting, … and I don’t know how to make it better.”
Love and relationships. On an interesting note, I find it funny that this song is actually very depressing, talking about how nasty these types of women are, how they use you, and cannot be trusted, yet everyone’s in this very happy 1950s setting, all smiling, having a good time. He’s talking about his jail-time, how she’s only going to do him wrong, how all these girls do is lie…Interesting. YouTube comments, “Such a happy song!” I don’t think people think at all. If someone’s smiling in the video it’s a happy song.

– “you’re dating other guys, you’re telling me lies. I can’t believe what I’m seeing with my eyes. I’m losing my mind” …
Once again, love and relationships. I could easily see a school kicking this song off at a pep-rally, and everyone having a good time, with lyrics so awful like this.

Sean Kingston – Take You There
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We talked about this song earlier. It’s a success story, of him rising above the ghetto, and showing that he’s a valuable person.

Fergie – My Humps
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This song is all about women using sex appeal to take advantage of men.

– “U can look but you can’t touch it,
If u touch it i’ma start some drama,
You don’t want no drama,
No, no drama, no, no, no, no drama”
We talked about this earlier, how women want to be admired and looked at, but the same time, do not want to be a whore. Besides this we’re also told she’s a drama queen. *cringes* – stay clear of this woman. She can keep her humps.

Fergie – Glamorous
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– “if you ain’t got no money take your broke ass home”
That’s just what the doctors told the 12 year old girl Brenda when she was delivering her baby on a public bathroom floor.

– “G L A M…O R OUS” –
This is success story.

– “I’m flying first class, up in the sky”
success story.

– “living life in the fast lane, i won’t change”
This is her sharing a life lesson of hers, that don’t let money change who you are. She drinks, parties and will continue to do so. Responsibility is not something she cares to think about.

– “gold and diamond rings, those things don’t mean a thing”
Strange verse when earlier you just told people that if they don’t have money to go back home. Maybe this is her own bitterness that back in 1994 they didn’t let her into some party because she lacked money. I don’t know. In this song she apparently doesn’t get into money and outward displays of wealth, but she likes to be on the social scene, looking good, and in the magazines. It’s really the same thing though. It’s wanting to be valuable in someone else’s eyes. Though I suppose you could say she likes being admired by guys, but isn’t about impressing us with outward wealth. I don’t think that is it though.

– “I be on the movie screens
Magazines and bougie scenes
I’m not clean, I’m not pristine
I’m no queen, I’m no machine
I still go to Taco Bell
Drive-through, raw as Hell
I don’t care, I’m still real”
This is more of her not letting money change who she is. But I find it quite irrational. Why would eating food that’s bad for your health, and make you gain weight be more “real” than eating healthy food, or good food? It makes little sense. Nice things are still nice. Somehow eating food of this nature makes you real, and if you’re eating good quality food, you’re caught up in riches and prosperity. You see her throwing food around in her limo to mess it up. A clean limo is not “real”, only when it has smashed Taco Bell grime in the seats and the floor. Now it’s “real”. If you think about it, food doesn’t really cost that much. I could understand her saying this about a yacht and private jets, but eating quality food isn’t all that hard to do. Most people on middle-class income easily achieve eating good food. There’s nothing “real” about Taco Bell. I doubt the beef in those tacos is even real. And having smashed food stinking up your car, and grimy greasy food on your leather seats is just nasty.

– “I got problems up to here
I’ve got people in my ear
Telling me these crazy things
That I don’t want to know
(Fuck y’all)”
Glamorous, yet she doesn’t like it very much. This is the struggle.

Fergie – Fergalicious
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This is yet another song about using your looks to get what you want from guys. It also includes what we talked about under Sex.

It’s unfortunate that so many American girls are this way. You look for girls who think in terms of virtue, who think of commitment, working together as one, helping one another, being there for each other in the hard times, but women like this are all about them, and giving them a good time.

Jessica Simpson – A Public Affair
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– “all the cameras come out for a public affair”
This is girls using sex to their advantage and having fun toying with the guys. This also talks about them being valuable, and people wanting to know what’s going on in their lives. But, every wise man will tell you that if you want to experience bliss in what you’re doing you have to let go of self-consciousness, which only diverts your mind and attention away from the moment, locking you back into your own mind, and you do not fully experience the moment. Keep the cameras out of the scene, they only take away from the fun.

The positive aspect which I like about this song is about hanging out with your friends and having a good time.

– “do what you want to do, tonight the world does not exist”
Once again, the escapism concept.

Carrie Underwood – Before He Cheats
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If you could find a song which is directly opposite of everything that I am, and the way I live, it would be this song. It has to do with relationship problems, distrust, and the woman trying to get revenge. I could only listen to around 1/2 this song before turning it off.

Puddle Of Mud – Blurry
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– “Everything’s so blurry
And everyone’s so fake
And everybody’s empty
And everything is so messed up”
This is the struggle. It also talks about protecting your child from the filth of the world.

Puff Daddy – Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down
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This song is completely success story.

50 Cent – In Da Club
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– “I’m into havin sex i aint into making love”
Sex without commitment. Guy being a stud

– “When I pull up front, you see the Benz on dubs”
Success story

– “Been hit wit a few shells but I don’t walk wit a limp”
Struggle, as well as success story. I can overcome anything.

– “Nigga you mad? I thought that you’d be happy I made it
I’m that cat by the bar toasting to the good life
You that faggot ass nigga trying to pull me back right?”
Success story, escape from the ghetto, i’m not worthless

– “I wink my eye at you bitch, if she smiles she gone”
Sex. No boundaries, and being a stud.

Colbie Caillat – Bubbly, Realize
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I think Colbie has pretty classy music. Bubbly is mostly about that warm blissful feeling when you’re with the one you love and she paints a picture of that experience. Her song “Feelings Show” is mostly about emotions a girl can experience during the love process. As for her song “Realize”, I like it, but you’ll notice it wasn’t near as popular. You’ll notice Bubbly was all about feelings, and it was very popular. It required no thought, nor commitment. Her song “Realize” challenges both the guy and the girl. “If you’ll meet me halfway, it’ll be the same for you.” Sounds so simple, but it’s amazing how in near every other American song it’s all about the girl, or all about the guy and the other is “so lucky to be in my great presence”. The best part about Realize is the fact that she has confidence and belief that they’re “right” for each other, which basically boils down to the fact that she believes in the success of the relationship.

Rihanna – Umbrella
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This song capitalizes on the motherly instinct found in many women. The woman protecting her man when he needs her. I’d judge this the main reason it’s so popular, because it caters to instinct. I think this song is very nice, at least lyrically.
– “When the sun shines we’ll shine together. Told you I’d be here forever.”
– “Said I’ll always be a friend
Took an oath I’ma stick it out till the end
Now that it’s raining more than ever
Know that we’ll still have each other
You can stand under my umbrella
You can stand under my umbrella”
– “You’re part of my entity”
The two are one. Very Nice.
Of all the songs we’ve examined thus far, I’d rate this one best. This is a time where instinct provides a strong support for good commitments. Instinct can be a beautiful thing, and it’s a shame that it doesn’t always work out as nicely as it does in this case.

Snoop Dog – Sensual Seduction
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This song’s meaning is obvious. It means you’re great in the bedroom. The rest of it is just general good living from the perspective a man from the ghetto. I don’t have much to say about this song. I don’t really approve with being a pimp, and messing with random pretty girls you come across, but other than that, the song’s alright. Just a guy, being a guy, taking good care of his woman (and apparently other women as well).

2Pac – Dear Mama
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This song is very deep, and you can’t listen to this without getting a good feel for the mindset of a man raised in the ghetto, why he began dealing drugs, his mother being addicted to crack, and growing up living on welfare. (Struggle)
– Feels good paying rent when the rent’s due
Shows that he feels good now that he’s made money, can take care of himself, and is no longer dependent on welfare. That verse brought me to near tears. I felt really sorry for him, and I’m sure there’s many many gangsters like him, who are the way they are for similar reasons.
Such a small thing to ask out of life. It is nice to see that he loved his mother and appreciates her, even with her faults. In his song ‘Keep Ya Head Up’ he speaks about the difficulties of men in the ghetto to “stay legit, but still pay the rent”. That seems to presuppose that many of these men from the ghetto try to resist getting into dealing drugs, but are not able to make enough money, or hold down a job.

This song is both admirable and very sad. It paints a picture of his life, and I found it very informative. Same with his songs Changes, and Life Goes On. His song Brenda’s Got A Baby is very sad.

When you hear his music, to me, he sounds like a man trying to rise above the life he was born into, but wasn’t able to find all the answers. He found some of them, but still lacked many of them, and never let go of some of his violent passions which he developed trying to stay alive in the ghetto. I think if he could have lived longer, I think he would have made even more of an impact than he already has, and in a good way.

Gwen Stefani – The Sweet Escape
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This is Love and Relationships. This song is about a girl apologizing to a guy who she’s treated badly. I’m sure a lot of people having relationship troubles, well, maybe this sort of thing could reconcile the relationship. I have to turn this song off though. The “Whoooaaa hooooo. Yeeeewwhhooo” is driving me nuts.

Gwen Stefani – 4 In The Morning
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This is Love and Relationships. This song is about a one-sided relationship. The girl being much more committed to the guy than the guy is to the girl, and it hurts the girl that he won’t commit to her like she would like him to. I’m sure many girls hear this song and can relate, which is the root of its popularity.

Foo Fighters – The Pretender
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This song seems to be about government oppression, and people pretending letting all the corruption go on. It goes under the category of Struggle mixed with the “messiah” tendencies. The only thing I don’t care for in this sort of music is that it encites people to take action against the government, but people don’t know what’s good about the government, and what’s bad. If this sort of stuff became REALLY popular a revolution could take place, and I wonder what sort of government we’d have put in its place. The USA’s government is a mangled version of a government which was once beautiful, but it still has its good points. It’s hard to say what a violent revolution would lead to, but I think changes in government need to be done with education, not with passion. People need to see wrongs and peacefully vote in new change, and peacefully protest against government functions we’re against. Violent change could easily lead to a worse condition than we’re already in. Even if you violently kill all the politicians and are given a blank slate, what new constitution are you going to write? Most people have no idea. They haven’t even read our own, must less those of other countries, nor studied the arguments for what’s contained in them, and what other things could be in there.

Most progress comes only with a change in mindset in the people by a slow spread, then the law changes to accomodate these changes in mindset later. Violent changes don’t change how people think in their minds, and don’t really do what needs to be done to make real change happen.

Akon – Don’t Matter
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Classy song about “i love you” and I don’t care what anyone else thinks about that. Also talks about how he’s going to treat her well from now on.

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