Music plays such a powerful role in our lives, whether we choose to recognize it or not. I do not know another medium that can make us FEEL something so instantaneously. The research on the topic is really fascinating and brings up the interesting point that even though you may have certain emotions connected to a certain song; they might be contradictory to what the song, rhetorically, is trying to communicate.
What this research is making me start to realize is that so many of my favorite songs might not be based in the same emotions or sending the same message through their lyrics that I as the receiver am feeling or thinking. I mean lets get real, some of the popular music that is out right now, I could not begin to try and explain the rhetorical meaning behind it, what I could tell you is that it makes me want to get up and bust a move. For example, the popular hit from DNCE – Cake by the Ocean
You can imagine my horror as I slowly came to realize that this song really had absolutely nothing to do with cake (unfortunately). Reading through the comments left on this video, it looks like I am not the only completely gullible listener out there. So I began to ask myself, what other songs have I been completely naïve to their real meaning?
Well apparently there are numerous. In the online article, The hidden meaning behind 27 pop songs, you can learn about the true meaning of some of the most popular songs of our decade. This includes, Rihanna’s Umbrella, Lorde’s Royals, and even the girl power anthem that is Katy Perry’s Firework. Katy told Billboard magazine that the song was inspired by her morbid idea that when she passes to put her ashes into a firework that’s shoots across the sky as a last hoorah. Wow. I feel so betrayed.
Seriously, please tell me I am not the only one who sometimes has no idea what the lyrics are even saying let alone the message they are sending. Which in reality is really is kind of scary, Sellnow emphasizes my point by stating, “When messages are "couched in music"…listeners do not ordinarily anticipate persuasion and as a result, (may not be) aware of its complete implications.”
I hope to become more aware of the message behind those catchy pop tunes you hear on the radio but for now I need some time to process since the world I once knew has just been shattered. My questions for you are:
- Are you always aware of the message a song is communicating or are you paying more attention to the beat and rhythm?
- Can you name a song that had an alternate meaning than what you initially assumed?
- Are you the type of person that has to look up the lyrics to the song before you will listen to it?