All Things Music, Social Justice, and Protest

Category Fourth Listen

For this listen, I’d like you to consider the social critiques your song is making, both overt and subtle, and what, if any, solutions to the problems your songs offer.

In prior listen’s I’ve asked you to focus on the Context and there will undoubtedly be some overlap here. But, rather than just stating what the social issues are, I’d like you to discuss how the artist(s) offer critique through their lyrics. Those critiques can be overt through direct discussion of the issue(s), and they can be subtle or implied through subtextual discussions. Try to illuminate both and link to news stories or other documents that highlight the importance of the issues being discussed. Find sources you have yet to use.

Further, I’d like you to think about about how the genre the artist has chosen enables or detracts from the critique being made. And if you see a connection to their vocal delivery.

Finally, think about if the artist is actually offering concrete solutions to the problems they discuss. Yes, they may offer “love” or “kindness” as a solution, but that isn’t a concrete solution—it’s more like a idealistic and, perhaps, somewhat unrealistic. Rather, are there hard, policy-like, solutions that are offered?

Quote the lyrics throughout.

Fourth Listen: Looking for America

Del Rey’s genre is typically considered pop, “dream pop,” or even indie, this track is more accurately described as singer/songwriter, folk, acoustic. The vocals are prominent, allowing for the lyrics to get the listener’s attention. While I struggled to find… Continue Reading →

Darkness: A Fourth Listen

In “Darkness,” Eminem criticizes both America’s lax gun laws and other surrounding circumstances that make gun violence commonplace. He references three main issues: mental health, media exposure, and gun laws. The first spoken lines of the song are: “Here I… Continue Reading →

“The Village” – Fourth Listen

Wrabel’s social critique in this song is overall more explicit than it is subtle. He focuses on two main groups that contribute to the issue: society as a whole and then, more specifically, the Church. The first verse of the… Continue Reading →

Waiting on The World to Change- Fourth Listen

Waiting on The World to Change by John Mayer is indeed a social justice song but I would not say that it is the most controversial or widely discussed social justice song out there. Since this song was released in… Continue Reading →

Land of the Free – Fourth Listen

As overt as The Killers are in calling attention to the systemic social issues, they don’t necessarily offer solutions. I think part of this has to do with the fact that these societal problems are systemic. Racism and xenophobia are… Continue Reading →

I Am Not Your Expectations, I Am My Hair

India.Arie’s “I Am Not My Hair” was created for these purposes: to promote self-expression, to inspire people to embrace their inner and outer beauty, to encourage the right to self-definition, and to both critique and refute society’s standards of beauty…. Continue Reading →

Run The World (Girls)

Some of the social critiques that “Run The World (Girls)” is making is that men believe they run this world and that women must just stand back and do as they say. It is bringing attention to the fact that… Continue Reading →

Americans Fourth Listen

Americans by Janelle Monae contains multiple levels of critique. The song critiques oppressive policies that have caused harm to minorities during the verses and critiques the mindset of American conservatives during the bridge and pre-chorus of the song by parodying… Continue Reading →

Fourth Listen – DNA

In the beginning of the song, it seems as though Kendrick is not overtly critiquing anything, but rather stating facts. Throughout the song, it seems as though he is just comparing his DNA to other people’s and discussing what is… Continue Reading →

“The Story of O.J.” – Lyrical Critiques

Jay-Z’s “The Story of O.J.” critiques the current state of black wealth in America as well as blatant discrimination in the entertainment industry on all levels; which all stem from America’s past regarding racism in visuals and performance. Such as… Continue Reading →

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