Song #1 – Paramore, “The News” (2023)

I am interested in investigating this song for the project for a few reasons. Not only is it a relatively new song that was just released this past year, but it is accompanied by a heavily symbolic music video that can be thoroughly analyzed to uncover a multitude of meanings. This is a song that I had previously listened to in another COM class last semester, which is why I thought it would be a great choice for the project. 

I am particularly interested in analyzing the music video to gain a better understanding of the lyrics themselves and the messages behind the song. The main issue being highlighted by the song is deceptive and unreliable the media is, especially news sources, in the information they release. This can be in regards to politics, world news, crime, international conflict, and practically any information that is shared online. Paramore’s lead singer Hayley Williams describes this through her lyrics and in the music video, where the viewer sees Williams becoming addicted to the news on television and how it is negatively altering her mind and by the end, it has totally consumed her. In another part of the song, the lyrics describe a war across the globe and how it is portrayed in the media. I believe it also has messages of how performative activism in the media has become an issue as well.

I believe this song relates to a social issue of how users of media and viewers of the news can become victims of distraction and lies of real world issues. In my podcast, I could discuss different news platforms and the types of media they discuss, especially in terms of politics and other social justice issues. I believe this is a very relatable and prevalent issue in today’s world, which is why I am willing to further research it for this project.

Song #2 – J. Cole, “Be Free” (2014)

I am interested in investigating this song for the project . Although the artist’s choice of lyrics are fairly simple, they contain heavy meaning. J. Cole wrote this song in response to the tragic death of Michael Brown in 2018 as a result of police brutality. Brown’s senior portrait is featured as the cover of the single. Additionally, the song features vocal clips from an interview with Dorian Johnson, the friend who was with Brown at the time of his death and witnessed the entire altercation between Brown and the police officer who shot and killed him. 

This song is incredibly emotional, and when I first listened to it I truly could feel the pain in the artist’s voice. There is also a live performance of the song that is deeply emotional (linked here). It is an obvious protest against police brutality, gun violence, and anti-black racism. This song is important for many reasons, but in particular how an extremely famous artist has used his platform to protest against police brutality and racism. I think researching this song will allow me to further develop my knowledge of these social justice issues in America, including cases of other victims who have lost their lives in the same manner. Although the song was released in 2014, I think it can also relate to more recent examples of police brutality and racism in the news, such as the death of George Floyd. 

I do not currently have any questions or concerns about this project and am looking forward to hearing your feedback!