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Communications & Media
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Social influence of pop songs (Research Paper Sample)


A research paper about Social influence of pop songs.

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Social influence of pop songs
Analysis of Macklemore’s and Lewis’s song; Thrift Shop (Can’t Hold Us)
The song is part of the album The Heist that was released in October 2012. The song is a huge success as it was reported to have reached over a million sales (Zwickel 1). Considering its success, it is obvious that it has immense influence on the society. It is not every other time that a song reaches multi platinum since there are songs by more popular artist that do not make it. In order to appreciate Thrift Shop, it is essential to analyze its lyrical messages.
Thrift Shop is a rap song that is snagged by two artists with different vocal traits. Macklemore is a rap artist whose specialty augurs well with the West Coast Hip hoppers. His collaborating artist Ray Dalton is more gifted with R’ n B vocals, which he utilizes in the song’s chorus. The producer Ryan Lewis is an independent producer who does not adhere to the forces that control the hip hop industry. This means that his song has been written and done based on the artists’ talents as well as to portray a message to their listeners.
The song starts with an introduction to the artist, Macklemore, in a shortened form of his name, Mack. This works to show that his main audience is the young people. He paints a picture of someone who is undecided, which is seen in his use of questions at the beginning of the first verse. He asks, “what it is, what it does, what it is, what it isn’t” (Macklemore verse 1 line 2). These likely questions go through someone who does not have an organized daily schedule. By referring to the act of looking for a more appropriate way of getting out of bed, he captures the likely dilemma that faces some youth who live without formal processes in their lives, like those who are not employed. Through this reference, Macklemore is able to address and influence a large proportion of urban youth who will identify with this music. This is consistent with an observation made by Morrell and Duncan who affirm the influence that music and particularly hip-hop had on the urban societies (88).
Macklemore then urges his audience that instead of waking up only to get on the internet, a common youth behavior, they should get up and go thrift shopping and get active. He emphasizes the need to be considerably humble and cautious. He paints to the listener glimpse of his own style of living to which he and his friends adhere. In an urban style of showing what is beneficial, he uses the phrase, “this here, is our party, my posse’s been on Broadway” (Macklemore verse 1 line 10-11). In this depiction of a better way of spending one’s days, the artist is able to influence the attitudes of the listener, which in turn contributes the development of an individual, especially adolescents (Milbrath & Cynthia 84).
Macklemore is able to display a kind of independence that hip-hop musicians aim to instill in their audience. He proclaims that they did it their own way and managed to do superior music. In attaining this, he says he had to work extra hard, which is a clear message to the youth. “Grown music, I shed my skin and put my bones into everything I record to it” (Macklemore verse 1 line 12). In the same breath, he acknowledges that he succeeded in achieving what he set out to do and is getting rewarded for it. It is futile to argue that such messages will not influence the listeners. Considering the political belief that revolves around hip hop music as being bad influence in the society, then it is also highly likely that Macklemore will positively influence the hip hop lovers. This is consistent with Blanchard’s findings on the social significance of hip-hop (1).
A common feature in hip hop is an artist’s identity. It is also a source of significant influence to listeners as they form closer ties with the artist if he acknowledges some of their traits. Macklemore links closer to his audience by saying that he becomes successful in order to “pass the torch and put on for my town” (Macklemore verse 1 line17). He also refers to his lifelong struggles crisscrossing his city trying to achieve his dreams only for them to be trounced by the fat cats. In this vehemence he proclaims he pays no allegiance to anyone and insists that nobody can tell him anything. This is a clear message to the audience that they can attain independence too. Carver affirms this premise by indicating that hip hop is a form of social commentary (4).
The importance that the artist bestows upon his audience is evident in his work. By proclaiming “nah they can’t tell me nothing, we give it to the people” (Macklemore verse 1 line 20), it is evident that he is singling out the people who face hardships like he did as well as those who support the efforts of those trying to achieve something in life. Carver and Rebecca identify this as being one of the purposes of h...
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