Increasingly raunchy music is desensitizing our generation; it’s time to find alternatives
“I can be your hero, baby. I can kiss away the pain. I will stand by you forever. You can take my breath away.” Most teenagers our age have heard this song “Hero” when it was released in 2001 and sung by Enrique Iglesias. Iglesias left the spotlight for a while and came back with his song “Tonight”.
The chorus includes, “That tonight I’m ****** you. Oh, you know. That tonight I’m ****** you. Oh, you know.” In nine years Iglesias went from cherishing women to demeaning women through repetitive, offensive lyrics.
Music, in the popular sense, has become more profane and sexual. Whether you are going to a dance or turning on your radio, it is hard to stay away from lyrics that can desensitize you without you even realizing. Just like video games, such as COD, can desensitize you to killing, this popular music can do the same when it comes to objectifying women, using drugs and alcohol and crazy partying. This is most commonly found in rap music.
Rap emerged in the 1970’s and was used to empower African-Americans and encourage them to persevere and stick together to get through hard times. But by the mid-1980’s, rap became more aggressive and now sends bad messages, especially to teens.
“[Inappropriate] music can pump you up before sports or make you feel [cool], but in reality it puts bad thoughts into your head,” senior Ben Bakke said. “I try not to listen to explicit music because it makes me have a negative outlook on life.”
The American Psychology Association (APA) agrees with Bakke. In May of 2003, the APA released a study showing a direct correlation between violent lyrics and aggressive behavior and emotions.
“One major conclusion from this and other research on violent entertainment media is that content matters,” said Dr. Craig A. Anderson, one of the authors of this study. “This message is important for all consumers, but especially for parents of children and adolescents.”
The APA released another study in 2007 about how the media such as television, movies, magazines, sports, video games, the internet advertising and music allows objectifying women to be a more prevalent theme. The study also showed this media has a negative effect on women and girl’s cognitive functioning, physical and mental health, sexuality, attitudes and beliefs.
KS95 is known for family friendliness in the Twin Cities area but plays songs such as “Whistle” by Flo Rida, “Locked Out of Heaven” by Bruno Mars, and the song mentioned above, “Tonight” by Iglesias (these songs are in your face and have many sexual references).
Jill Roen, music director at KS95, told the Talon about why she was allowing these songs to be played.
Roen said at first their station didn’t play those songs because of the sexual references, but these songs became so mainstream they were being played anywhere from in a store at the mall to at the gym.
She also explained how “Whistle”, for example, has a “subtle sexual innuendo” and it is a bit of a stretch to imply especially for kids. Roen also said the version of “Tonight” played on KS95 is clean and changes the chorus from ******* to “loving”, but does that really change the meaning of the song? Kids may not understand exactly what the song is saying, but they can figure if a song is talking about partying or alcohol or a woman, which leads to desensitization.
So why are we still listening to offensive music if we have all this information?
We still listen to this music because we think it’s “cool” or we think we can ignore the lyrics or it won’t affect us or just because drama sells. For whatever reason, profane music intrigues many teenagers and sucks them into an inappropriate section of music. But what if we listened to music that meant more than just getting high and getting the “hot” girl?
Music is a huge part of our culture and if used correctly, according to the Mayo Clinic, music can improve communication, enhance memory, counteract depression, promote activity, encourage relaxation, promote sleep, and can reduce pain.
We at the Talon encourage not only you, but ourselves to stop and listen to the lyrics of music.
In our day and age it is hard to draw a line between inappropriate and appropriate, but we push you readers to see if you can defend what the song is saying to someone you look up to like your parents, your teachers, or God.
If you are listening and you can’t defend the lyrics, all you have to do is change the channel or turn it off. We understand how difficult it is to change habits and stop listening to some of your favorite songs, but it all starts with one time you turn off the song and realize you don’t need that song. There will always be other songs, there are over 25 million on iTunes alone. We believe you can try a little harder to find another song.