A connection has long been made between music and moral education. Recent discussions have focused on concerns that certain lyrics can lead to acceptance of violence, suicide, inappropriate views of women, and other unethical behaviour. Debate over whether such connections exist at least illustrates that popular songs engage listeners with ethical issues; this arises from the unique blend of emotional and cognitive reactions to music. And while the emotional side of ethics has received less attention than other aspects of ethics, it is important and music can be a powerful and unique tool to introduce the emotional aspects of ethics.
Songs With a Moral Message.
Some unfairly view pop merely as fluff music, something light and irreverent and fun to dance to. And while there's plenty of pop music that's been perfectly primed for the dance floor which, by the way, there's nothing wrong with! As widely listened to as it is, pop music can be used as vessel for change, a tool for discourse on social issues. There are numerous pop songs — including more than a handful of well-known singles — that tackle social, political, and cultural issues as diverse as racism, feminism, police brutality, LGBT representation, and much more. One of the singles from the hit album included "Man In The Mirror," an uplifting and critically acclaimed pop ballad about society's tendency to turn away from difficult social issues. The song, and its politically-charged video, acted as a literal call for change, touting the message that change begins from within. Almost 25 years later, Lady Gaga released the lead single and titular track off her highly anticipated sophomore album, Born This Way , in With its thumping bass, infectious hook, and slamming club beats, "Born This Way" sounded like any sexy dance-pop song should, but its progressive lyrics transformed the contagious track into the powerful anti-prejudice, pro-LGBT, pro-self-acceptance anthem Gaga intended it to be.
Pearls of Wisdom: Where Music Meets Life Advice
We've often commented about how song often is reflective of societal values or is used as a method of propaganda. This cannot be much in dispute as we can look back on any period in America's history and see how music has reflected values, political issues and even the composer's own views. One need only look at today's music for an affirmation but other periods in history also are exemplar. Consider the "coon songs" of the 's, the Temperance songs of the 's and 80's, the prohibition songs of the period or the politically charged music of the Vietnam and "hippy" era of the 's. Much of today's music, in my opinion, is devoid of traditional moral messages. Rather, it seems steeped in anger and focused on counter morality. For some, today's music represents a "new" morality that rejects old ideals and establishes new ones. However, if we look carefully at the lyrics of today's songs, they mostly represent an amoral point of view where anything goes with no holds barred. It does seem that every era brings it's critics of music's morality and dire warnings of the death of our society.
FlourishAnyway believes there is a playlist for just about any situation and is on a mission to unite and entertain the world through song. I'm a parent of a teenager who wants little to do with my life lessons, philosophical nuggets, or pearls of wisdom. As a teen, she doesn't want to hear about what anyone learned from their mistake. Right now, she's too busy texting with friends and listening to music. But this mother is creative and won't be easily dissuaded. So if a direct approach doesn't work, I'll let the music speak on my behalf.