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Quora Answer : What message does nowadays music's are passing?

May 16, 2020

It's pretty varied.

Obviously there are the classics about love. That's still the number one theme in popular music.

Of course, it falls into several subcategories.

Wanting to get off with someone. And more hoping / imploring them to notice and make a move on you :

Falling in love ... with a certain amount of trepidation. Is this going to work out for me? :

Pulling yourself together after having your heart broken :

Actually "pump up" music, to boost your self-confidence is pretty big these days. Hey "I'm great, despite whatever flaws you might think you see" says the singer. With an implicit invitation that the listener can relate and feel great about themselves too :

And that leads into a theme which, I think, is harder to understand. Particularly by men, who yearn for a time when rock and pop music were simpler, and less ambiguous.

Women face a lot of contradictions. They need to be strong, and reinforce their self-confidence against the harsh lives they face. They are also expected to be sweet and vulnerable. And to be sexy. And women in pop music are expected to sing and dance and do more or less erotic performances in their videos. Women are often expected to be sexually available. Sexually forward. And yet pure. And retiring.

So a (perhaps not so) surprising amount of pop music today, seems to me, to be about that. About the tensions of women expected to be both strong and vulnerable, of having to play multiple roles.

That's how you get stuff like this :

It's "pump up" music, boosting the singer's self confidence ... to a manic extreme. And then it suddenly crashes into vulnerability and emotional loss and pain and suffering.

It's kind of about both of these things : being strong, and feeling weak. But more importantly, it's about the relation between the two. How the strength, the anger, the aggressive sexuality, and the insecurity and need fit together. Is one a front for the other: Which is the "truth"? Or are they both true?

I think if you start listening to a lot of pop music today, particularly by women singers, you hear this message a lot.

Obviously videos are a wonderful "dressing up box". And the chance to role-play different characters in them is embraced. People complain that video dominates music. But we have to accept that in the age of MTV and now YouTube, popular "music" is, indeed, gesamtkunstwerk. Like Wagnerian opera. The music is part of a greater whole.

What other messages does popular music pass these days?

Well, dancing is always a big theme. Let's dance together.

However, right now, we're in the age of COVID and dancing at home in quarantine. So popular musicians are making songs about that. We can't be together in person, so lets dance together virtually.

In other words, popular music today is about what it's always been. Finding / defining an identity. Finding something to boost your self confidence. Particularly in adolescence and early 20s when you are full of hormones and obsessed with love and sex. And easily hurt.

Plus dancing is great ... because a) you might get off with someone hot at the dance. And b) because it brings us all together, however isolated we might be.

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