Lyrical Values         If music is the product of its culture,

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 12th grade February 2008

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Lyrical Values If music is the product of its culture, it would appear that the culture young people are growing up in today has some problems. Most of the music that is popular with people my age is full of violence, sadness, and worse. Yet, music is a passion of mine, and my appreciation for it has grown a great deal over the years. I have a current compilation of over 1000 mp3 songs on my computer. I mainly base my opinion on how the song sounds, not what the lyrics say. I don't choose my music based on my values. But, if I need to think about specific lyrics, in general, the lyrics to the songs I prefer are insightful - yet hard to define. The songs I have chosen for this essay don't have the same ideas and values, but they all seem to have the same feeling.

The first song I chose is Hummer by The Smashing Pumpkins. Here is an excerpt from the song.

When you decide That your life is a prize Renew and revive It's all right honey It's all right, yeah Happiness will make you wonder Will I feel OK? It scares the disenchanted Far away I want something new But what am I supposed to do about you Yeah I love you, it's true Life's a bummer When you're a hummer Life's a drag The lyrics appear to not make much sense. To me, if you dig deeper at what he's saying, a few basic values appear in the lyrics. For instance, it talks about happiness - wondering if everything is going to be okay - what to do (with my life?) - finding some form of love. The song tells a story, and the values are in the story.

The second song I picked out is Mistakes & Regrets by …And you Will Know us by the Trail of the Dead. This song demonstrates the negativity in my music tastes and values. Its lyrics are sad and lonely and seem to be looking for direction. I think this is a big part of every high school student's life.

Because every inch of hope becomes a world of shame I've had to walk through Each and every day These words show the angsty, more pessimistic side of my personality, but the actual music that goes with the lyrics sounds like the first song. I like listening to it and find it comforting.

My third and final chosen song is The City by The Dismemberment Plan. This is one of my favorite songs of all time, in addition to having what I consider to be the ideal lyrics. This song definitely tells a story - the name of the song is like the title of the story. Again, the city is a lonely place full of people who aren't really connected. Here is an excerpt from the song.

Now I notice the streetlamp's hum The ghosts of graffiti they couldn't quite erase The blank-faced stares on the subway As the people go home / The parks lay empty like my unmade bed The streets are silent like my lifeless telephone And this is where I live, but I've never felt less at home.

In summary, it's hard to put the profound attitudes of the lyrics of my music into words in an essay. When I started the project, it seemed like the lyrics had nothing to do with my values and thoughts on life; I couldn't even identify one value or find lyrics that might explain the value. I realized that after listening to the songs countless times, I had never really thought about what the lyrics actually mean. But after I looked through my favorite bands' songs and their lyrics, some of the themes started to appear. I think I'm still searching for a place in the world that feels right for me.