The adults are right: music today is just bad

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Art </a><figcaption id=Art by Christina Wang and Amanda Yan.

Singers and songwriters have long been considered poets to teens. Sadly, the true poets have left modern society and taken their meaningful lyrics and melodies with them. Nowadays mainstream music encourages our youth to engage in risky behaviors and to not expect the consequences.

Perhaps more influential than any other entertainment medium, music can connect to an individual’s mood, identity, and memories. On average, teenagers listen to about 2 1/2 hours of music per day and one in three of the popular songs that they listen to have direct references to drug and alcohol use. A study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine in 2009 discovered that those who listened to music in which sex was described tended to have sex earlier and more often.

Isn’t giving 15 year-olds access to the morning-after pill enough?

According to a study done by the University of South Carolina, teens and young adults are most affected by the negative messages found in much of today’s lyrics. Take for example, songs from the rap genre. These songs tend to give off the message that women are equivalent to material possessions and are only needed to fulfill a man’s sexual desire. While music can have a double meaning, the most prevalent interpretation seems to be that it’s normal for women to be played around with and get abused because that is what their favorite “artists” do.

Recently, radio stations have stopped playing songs with negative messages by artists like Lil Wayne and Rick Ross. U.O.E.N.O by Rick Ross had the following lyrics:

“Put molly all in her champagne, she aint even know it…I took her home and I enjoyed that, she aint even know it.”

It caused controversy because of its bad timing corresponding to the Steubenville rape case. The lyrics condone rape and despite Rick Ross apologizing, radio stations are still pulling it off the air. More radio stations should be doing the same. In addition, songs like this should be more difficult to download. We shouldn’t be paying airheads millions of dollars to promote the vices of society.

The inappropriate material is not found in any one specific genre but in lyrics across all genres. Today, labels just want the easiest way to make money and have no regard as to how much influence they hold over their listeners. Female artists like Rihanna and Nicki Minaj add on to the over-sexualization of women and it never fails to “inspire” the minds of children. It’s a lot easier to find music nowadays that debases sex, religion, gender, politics, and sexuality.

Teens are desensitized by songs like “The Motto” by Drake and now use the acronym YOLO to justify risky and irresponsible behavior. What are the results? Teen suicides are increasing, high schools now have daycares, and casual drug use is common among teens.

It’s pathetic how we have come to accept these behaviors as part of American society.

It’s wrong to think that music does not influence the human psyche. Music is as persuasive to susceptible teenagers as television advertisements for companies like McDonalds. Food chains pay millions of dollars for 30 seconds just to get your attention. Why? They know the impact they have on viewers and most especially, impressionable youths. Now imagine the effect a 3 minute song has.

Glorifying drugs, suicide, and abuse should not make someone famous and rich. Next time you turn up the volume, consider the effect it has on not only your ears, but what’s between them.

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