Lyric Essays

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Charles Ives' Music Essay

Words: 1179 Length: 4 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 92387636

Charles Ivey Song Lyrics

"Charlie Rutlage" by Charles Ives (1920), from Cowboy Songs and Other Ballads

The song "Charlie Rutlage" by composer Charles Ives was released in 1920 as part of Ives' collection Cowboy Songs and Other Ballads, and the work is distinctive of his signature style. The lyrics are mournful and melancholy, as Ives eulogizes "another good cowpuncher (who) has gone to meet his fate," telling the story of Charlie Rutlage, a hand on the XIT ranch who was killed after his horse fell and crushed him underneath. Ives sings the opening lines of the song with a celebratory bravado, lauding Rutlage by saying "Twill be hard to find another that's as liked as well as he" to suggest that the fallen cowboy was beloved by his friends and family. In my estimation, this passage is used by Ives to form an emotional connection between his listener and the titular character, because in telling a tragic story of death at a young age, it is important to form a foundation of empathy between the audience and the doomed protagonist. I also believe that Ives intends for the individual man Charlie Rutlage to serve as a symbol for the cowboy culture as a whole, a culture which was dying off during the time in which Ives composed the song. When Ives sings of Rutlage's demise "Twas on the spring roundup, a place where death men mock, he went forward one morning on a circle through the hills, he was gay and full of glee and free from earthly ills, but when it came to finish up the work on which he went, nothing came back from him, his time on earth was spent," I view this sudden shift from gaiety and glee to death as a reflection of the wider cultural…… [Read More]

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Woody Guthrie the Most Compelling Essay

Words: 990 Length: 3 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 3287588

The narrator is identifying both himself and the audience as people who would be better served by a world that disregards the notion of trespassing, and thus the ownership of land. The folk tradition allows Guthrie to insert this political identification and implicit critique smoothly, without breaking the rhetorical flow of the song.

Guthrie's critique only become more pointed, as the narrator describes seeing "his people" "by the relief office […] / as they stood hungry," which makes him ask "is this land made for you and me?" Guthrie contrasts the idealized world of the first few verses with the bleak reality of hunger and poverty in America after the Great Depression, and he uses the image of hungry people to vividly demonstrate the fact that American capitalism is not a system made for the majority of people living within it. Instead, it is based on a system of exploitation that necessarily creates a lower class of citizen, and Guthrie contrasts this harsh system with the promise supposedly offered by the best notions of America.

Guthrie's critique was particularly relevant in 1940, as the country had not yet recovered from the Great Depression even as it was inching towards World War II, but it is almost eerily relevant today, as the country staggers back from the most devastating economic meltdown since the original Great Depression. Anti-capitalism and egalitarian protest groups have expanded substantially in the wake of this recent downturn, and more and more people are realizing that the economic system still is not part of the land made "for you and me." However, perhaps the best evidence of the continued relevance of Guthrie's critique is the fact that politicians find it necessary to alter the lyrics when using "This Land is Your Land" for political events, omitting the verses about trespassing and hunger (Rapp 37). In effect, politicians are making Guthrie's point for him, because they are demonstrating exactly what happens to the political ideas of those people who the land is decidedly not made for.

The success of Guthrie's political message depends upon his ability to blend his protest with folk traditions, but his message's resonance is due to his insights into the inequality of American society. By examining the lyrics of "This Land is Your Land," one is able to see how Guthrie uses folk standards to contrast the idealized America with the…… [Read More]

Blake, Matthew. "Woody Guthrie." Journalism History 35.4 (2010): 184-93.

Guthrie, Woody. writ. "This Land is Your Land." 1940.
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Comparing Two Songs With Similar Meanings Essay

Words: 580 Length: 2 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 3427852

Song lyrics reflect the culture and social norms of their time period. Examining song lyrics from two different time periods can therefore reveal the ways these two generations differed in terms of messages about core subjects. Love is a universal theme in all song, making it an especially good subject for analysis. Songs about love will differ according to the definition of love, how love is expressed or shared between two people, and also gender roles in relationships. In 1975, one of the biggest-selling songs was by a band called Captain and Tennille. The song is called, "Love will Keep us Together." In 2010, there was a song called "Boyfriend" by Best Coast. Both of these songs are overtly about love. Although "Boyfriend" is about unrequited love, and "Love will Keep us Together" is about relationships, these two songs have similar lyrics about the meaning of love and about gender roles in relationships.

The 1975 Captain and Tennille song, "Love will Keep Us Together" is a song told from the perspective of two people already in a relationship. It is about how to keep the relationship together over the course of time. The lyrics are about the difficulty of making and keeping commitments, especially with the temptations of other people. The lyrics send a message that temptation and other potential challenges to a relationship can be overcome by being conscious of the other person's eternal love. For example, the chorus of the song is: Just Stop [stop], 'cause I really love you / Stop [stop], I'll be thinking of you / Look in my heart and let love keep us together."

"Boyfriend," on the other hand, is about a woman who wants a relationship with a boy who is now…… [Read More]

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Music on Teens Actions in the Past Essay

Words: 2022 Length: 5 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 58030228

Music on Teens Actions

In the past 40 years all kinds of music has turned out to be more and more overt predominantly towards the negative side like sex, drugs, aggression and violence. Lately two of the genres which have caught great attention is hard rock music and rap music. In most of the cases, the lyrics of the music are made in such a way that they induce negativity in the developing minds of the teenagers. This negativity is reflected in their actions in the form of drug abuse, aggression, violence, sex and rebellious actions towards parents, family, family and society in general. This kind of negative music is a major concern these days because it poses mental and physical threat to the teens of today. Some of the other alarming effects of such music are pregnancy, STDs, accidents, killing and this has resulted to be the normal lifestyle for most of the teens today. This paper discusses the different types of music and the effects each one has on the actions and behavior of teens.


In the past, there had been doubts about music related to teens. A lot of philosophers believed that music is very dangerous for individuals in particular and society in general and must be prohibited because of the effects it has on human brain and body.

Regardless of the combination of rebellious subjected lyrics and offensive language used in all the genres of music, the majority of the lyrics which have been labeled by the record companies as "explicit content" belong to rap and heavy metal genres (Martino, 431). Other genres such as pop, country music and reggae are rarely labeled as explicit material although most of the time they also contain material which is objectionable. Rock music and rap are over rated as explicit material although in some of those songs there is no objectionable content.

More negative media attention is given to hard rock and rap although other genres of music are equally responsible for inducing negative behavior in the people especially teenagers. Media suggests that only rock, rap and heavy metal music is solely responsible for instilling the negative ideas of fornication, drug abuse, aggressive behavior, suicide, revenge, Satanism etc. (Martino, 432). If a rock star portrays rebellious behavior, the media over exaggerates the impact of such music on the actions of teenagers and often the…… [Read More]

Burns, Kate. The American Teenager: Examining Pop Culture. Annotated Edition. Publisher Greenhaven Press, 2003. ISBN 0737714670, 9780737714678, pg 150-189.

Connell, J., and C. Gibson. Sound tracks: Popular music, identity and place. London: Routledge. Pg 145-147. 2003.
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Drugs Explored in Music Essay

Words: 1892 Length: 5 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 29720651

social problem of using and selling drugs is portrayed in music. I'm interested in studying this because music has at once been accused of glorifying drug culture and also as being one of the few means of allowing users to vent on the realities of drug culture. Clearly, the relationship between drugs and music is a complex one. This paper will seek to shed light on the motivations for artists to incorporate drug culture in their songs and what they presumably gain from it, and what society presumably gains from it as well.

The first song that this paper will examine when it comes to the treatment of drugs as subject matter for songs is in the work of 2 Pac in his famous song, "Changes." This song is so remarkable in that it addresses a tremendous amount of social injustice in that is still alive and well in the world today. The treatment of drugs is often intertwined with the issue of racism and the fact that African-Americans in the world today are put at a severe disadvantage socioeconomically. Consider the first line that 2 Pac uses in reference to drugs: "Give the crack to the kids who the hell cares / One less hungry mouth on the welfare / First ship 'em dope and let 'em deal the brothers / Give 'em guns step back watch 'em kill each other" ( One notable aspect of 2 Pac's mention of drugs is that he refers to crack, a drug which is often found in low income neighborhoods. At the time of the composition of the song, there 1992 was a severe crack epidemic in particular parts of America at the time. Tupac's reference to crack is also a reference to the economic disadvantage from which he comes and the manner in which he first mentions it in his song is extremely revelatory: his remark about giving crack to kids because it will mean there will be less hungry children living in families…… [Read More]

Works Cited: (n.d.). Semi-Charmed Life. Retrieved from (n.d.). The A Team. Retrieved from 

Doak, B. (2003). Relationships Between Adolescent Psychiatric Diagnoses, Music Preferences, and Drug Preferences. Music Ther Perspectives, 69-76.
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Tori Amos Essay

Words: 2109 Length: 6 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 35417906

Tori Amos

In music, most artists will face a number of challenges. This is because there are struggles they will endure to become successful. At the same time, they have to be able to remain relevant and adapt with the music. This means creating a unique sound which can combine a number of elements together. In the case of Tori Amos, she was able to create a one of a kind genre that took the traditions of the singer -- songwriter from the 1970s and augmented them with an alternative -- punk sound. This created a new form of women entertainer, who wanted to use this as a way to highlight social messages in their songs. While at the same time, it is giving women a sense of empowerment in the way they carried themselves and performed.

As a result, there will be an examination of the influences of Tori Amos and how she is redefining modern music. This will be accomplished by looking at: her personal / music life, the album The Beekeeper and comparing two songs with each other. These different elements will provide the greatest insights as to how Tori Amos was able to redefine modern music.

Biography of Tori Amos

Tori Amos was born on August 22, 1963 in Newton, North Carolina. Her father was a Methodist minister and moved the family to Baltimore when Tori was 2 years old. At an early age, she was musically talented by: playing the piano and singing in the choir of her church. A quick learner, Amos was offered a scholarship to Peabody Conservatory. While a student there, she became obsessed with Rock and Roll (Led Zeppelin in particular). After losing her scholarship, because of this interest in popular music, Amos kept writing. In her mid-teens she moved to Los Angeles to peruse a singing career. In 1987, she was signed by Atlantic Records and released the album called Y Kant Tori Read. This was combination of heavy metal and punk rock. The album was a failure from: not attracting popular radio airplay or a large following. Frustrated, Amos kept going and working on her own songs.

In 1990, she created a new sound involving the use of a piano and her deep lyrical tone. These elements were augmented with her talking about some kind of deep seeded personal issues. In…… [Read More]

"The Bee Keeper." Tori Amos. Last modified 2011. " rel="follow" target="_blank">
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Formulaic Language the Use of Essay

Words: 1351 Length: 5 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 60284712

Though formulaic language expressions have been in regular use, in popular media forms, for at least the majority of the twentieth century if not indeed for centuries longer, their recognition and study is recent development (Van Lancker-Sidtis & Rallon 2004). Some texts have even been found to be comprised of a quarter or of formulaic expressions, demonstrating at once a reliance on collective cultural interpretations and a marked lack of originality in popular media language use (Van Lancker-Sidtis & Rallon 2004). These phrases make for interpretations that are both more colloquially colored and less symbolically imbued for their necessarily repetitive nature (thus their emergence as formulaic expressions) and their needed consistency in order to remain meaningful (Van Lancker-Sidtis & Rallon 2004).

Music and Language

The relationship between music and language is the subject of a great deal of debate, and ever researchers that support comparisons between the two uniquely human cognitive phenomena discern several different and offer contradictory approaches to such comparisons (Powers 1980). It is possible to see certain elements of linguistic construction in the construction of musical phrases, combinations, and pieces as a whole, and at times it is tempting to attempt pairing the explicit language meant to accompany a piece of music (i.e. The lyrics of a song) with the units of grammar and syntax or the notions of semantics inherent to the piece of music, but attempting to connect both at the same time has been deemed to be impossible by certain researchers (Powers 1980).

Other scholars take a far more pessimistic view of any attempt to equate music to language, whether this includes an attempt to tie the structures and features of a song's lyrics to the perceived "structures" of musical syntax or not (Jackendoff 2009). There are as many significant differences between music and language, according to this view, as there are between any other major cognitive creations, and…… [Read More]

Ballard, M.; Dodson, a. & Bazzini, D. (1999). Genre of music and lyrical content: Expectation effects. Journal of Genetic Psychology 160(4), 476-87.

Jackendoff, R. (2009). Parallels and nonparallels between language and music. Music Perception 26(3), 195-204.
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Dierks Bentley's Prodigal Son's Prayer Essay

Words: 1500 Length: 4 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 25022536

The whole concept of Christianity is that all people are sinners, but that God will forgive those sins and those sinners if they only ask for redemption. The lyrics say, "I lost my way but now I'm on my knees / if it's not too late won't you tell me please / You gotta place for me / a little grace for me" (Bentley). That lyric is not about the prodigal son, it is about all who have lost their way, which is every Christian. What this song makes clear is that the idea of redemption as it has been portrayed in Christianity may have its beginnings in the parables told by Jesus, but those parables were broadened by the crucifixion and resurrection, and they changed them in the same way that they changed all of the other traditions of Judaism.

Works… [Read More]

Bentley, Dierks. "Prodigal Son's Prayer." N.p. 2011. Web. 30 Mar. 2011.

Carter, Joe. "Finding God in the Gaps of Country Music." First Things: On the Square. N.p. 9
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Pop Music One Glance at Essay

Words: 1305 Length: 4 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 31717653

Moreover, the rape symbolism becomes pronounced in "How Low." First, Ludacris walks through the mirror into the girls' room. Initially there were only a few females but when he steps inside, somehow there are several more girls in the room. His stepping through the mirror is a gross violation of their privacy and personal space. The act is a symbolic rape as Ludacris enters the room uninvited while the women are scantily clad. Moreover, Ludacris brings with him some male friends who don creepy white masks like that of Jason in Friday the 13th. The video then depicts some of the women running scared down the stairs, as they are being chased by these creeps in the hockey masks. The imagery is frighteningly sexist, as males are shown as preying on helpless females. Later, women are being stripped of their clothing against their will by an unseen force. They have looks of fear and dismay on their faces, which then--appallingly -- turn into looks of pleasure. Thus, the stereotype that women want to be raped is reinforced repeatedly in this video.

Stereotypes related to gender and ethnicity are also explored in pop music videos. For instance, in Ludacris's "How Low," lyrics refer to women as "French Vanilla," "Caramel," and "Chocolate" depending on their ethnicity. Then, Ludacris mentions how he is not trying to use "discrimination" but that he likes how "Asian women like to serve us." Women serve as decorative objects, but they also literally serve the men fruits, cake, and other treats.

Not all pop music videos are sexist. Many are gender neutral, while some are in fact firmly feminist. For example, OK Go's video for "This Too Shall Pass (Version 2)" has no gender references at all. The video depicts a chain-reaction project and is a gender-neutral and fun video. The lyrics are likewise gender-neutral. In Paramore's video for "Brick by Boring Brick," gender is also relatively neutral. The song is about a girl, and lyrics like "keep your feet on the ground" are directed at young females without including sexist references such as depicting them as exotic dancers. Gorillaz's video and song lyrics…… [Read More]

All videos retrieved from MTV Music Videos Web site at