All Things Music, Social Justice, and Protest

Category First Listen Spring 2021

For this listen, I’d like you to consider the context in which your song was released and the critiques your song is making, both overt and subtle, and what, if any, solutions to the problems your song offers.

When thinking about context, I’d like you to consider two things:

First, think about what was happening in the world at the time, or leading up to, the song’s release. Be specific and add links to examples of the kinds of events that were happening.

Second, I’d like you to think about genre as a kind of context. As we have discussed in class, genre often shapes or influences how one approaches a song. (See Rosenthal and Flacks on “The Power of Genre and Musical Code, starting p. 52.)

In terms of social critique, consider how the songwriters(s) offer critique through their lyrics. Note that I am distinguishing between the artist and the songwriter(s) and I want you to look up who actually wrote the song you have chosen, and when referencing lyrics, use the songwriter(s) instead of the artist (the artist is responsible for the delivery). 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.

Quote the lyrics throughout.

Choose the First Listen Spring 2021 category so your post appears on this page.

Due Friday, 2/26 by 11:00pm

“What About Us”: Critique and Context

Pink or otherwise known as Alecia Beth Moore co-wrote “What About Us” with songwriters Johnny McDaid and Steve Mac. These songwriters have also written songs for other popular artists such as Ed Sheeran. In 2017, “What About Us” was released… Continue Reading →

“Hunger” Florence + The Machine

This song was released in May 2018. I feel as though in 2018 the normalization of eating disorders truly began to become a thing. It seems as if so many people were scared to admit it and ashamed of their… Continue Reading →

First Listen: LAND OF THE FREE

In 2017 when LAND OF THE FREE came out I was graduating high school. While that was a significant event in my life, the whole of the United States was going through massive changes and seemed to be breaking apart…. Continue Reading →

“The Man” // Critique and Context

“The Man” is a song written by Taylor Swift which came from her album Lover. Lover came out in 2019 and it instantly broke records and left people wondering about the ‘new’ Taylor Swift. She had always played by the… Continue Reading →

“Make Me Feel” // First Listen, Context & Critique

Monae co-wrote “Make Me Feel” with Julia Michaels, who is also responsible for writing Justin Bieber’s “Sorry” and Selena Gomez’s “Good for You”. The track seems to be about the singer voicing her feelings for a special someone “Baby, don’t… Continue Reading →

Chanel: Context & Critique

The years leading up to Chanel‘s release was eventful in drastically positive and negative ways.  Of course, in 2015, same-sex marriage became legalized in the United States and nearing the end of 2015 there was already the expectation that 2016… Continue Reading →

“Promises and Pills” by SOJA // Context & Critique

Promises and Pills from the album Amid the Noise and Haste by SOJA was released on 2014. In 2011 President Obama announced that by 2014 he plans to withdraw all military troops from Afghanistan. The US invaded Afghanistan after the… Continue Reading →

“Cough Syrup” context and critique

  “Cough Syrup” was written by Rock, Alternative group, Young the Giants in 2008 and appeared on their EP called “Shake My Hand”. In the infamous hit show, “Glee”, Darren Chris, who played former Warbler, Blaine Anderson, sings a cover… Continue Reading →

The Bigger Picture: Context and Critique

“The Bigger Picture” by rapper Lil Baby was released June 11th 2020 in the wake of George Floyd’s death.  It was inspired by the injustices and hardships faced among the black community.  The Bigger Picture comes at a time of… Continue Reading →

“Cherry Wine’s” Context and Critique

In my listening posts, I am focusing on Hozier’s “Cherry Wine”. Originally recorded in 2014 for his debut album, the song was re-released with a music video on February 12, 2016, as a charity single that donated proceeds to domestic… Continue Reading →

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