By jillian green
Throughout American history, music has resonated in the souls of people and reflected on the culture of a society. Music is both a reflection of our cultural tastes and a cause of it. As discussed in an interview with world history teacher, Mrs. Jennifer Mohr, music is impacted by culture.
In the 1950’s and 1960’s, the Civil Right’s Movement and economic boom brought about the time of change. These changes were reflected in the music of the decade, while still being a part of their societal standards. R&B and Rock’n’Roll showed the racial tensions erupting from the Civil Right’s Movement. Mohr explains that music is “reflective of a certain time period, a certain genre… if you really look at it, it’s reflective of our people culturally, politically, and economically.” In the 1960’s, following the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the war in Vietnam, and the continuous procession of the Civil Right’s Movement, American culture changed. The British Invasion aroused when British bands singing covers of popular American songs. When the Vietnam War started to crumble America’s confidence in winning, Folk Rock and Protest Music rose with their concerns. Music changed fairly quickly in the 1960’s as it was a time of change.
In the 1970’s to 1980’s, deprecated peoples continued to fight for equality, and many Americans protested the ongoing war in Vietnam. The 1970’s was a time of punk, disco and society wanting to relax. Punk was about the concerns of society, but disco was about having a good time. The 1970’s were a unique time to develop new musical styles. Mohr discusses how music affects people,“There’s something in there that, you know, speaks to them in some kind of way... that’s the beauty of music, everyone can find something that speaks to them, no matter where they’re from or what they’re about.” Then came the 1980’s, with lingering problems in Vietnam, the economic crisis of the nation, and unsettling activity in the Middle East, it is no wonder rock and rap took hold of the music industry while disco slowly faded away. One of the most important influences in the music industry, MTV(Music Television) provided a huge impact on the popularity of certain kinds of music. Besides rap, pop music became extremely popular. Although MTV was reluctant to show music videos of black artists, rap was still able to become mainstream because of how many of its listeners related to the artist’s lyrics. As Mohr mentioned, “people were singing about what they were experiencing, and that became more widespread than people realized.” Rap and pop music still continues to be widespread genres of music even today.
From the 1990’s to today, pop, rap, and urban music have reigned at the top of the music industry As said by Mohr, “Well I think it’s obviously driven a lot by the internet and SoundCloud and the variety of ways people can’t get music out there.” Many teenagers take advantage of the opportunity to listen to anything and everything they want but do not realize how certain lyrics affect them negatively. Mohr expresses how music today is“more suggestive, and more violent, and I think that… it has made people very numb to certain things… generally speaking, music is a reflection of who we are as a people.” When considering the impact music has, it's important to see what music is doing to society and to America's culture.
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