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Rock Lyrics: The Growing Controversy This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   Recently a controversy has arisen concerning the useage of obscenity in rock Iyrics, with groups like The 2 Live Crew (Long on obscenity, if short on talent) on one end, and concerned parents like Tipper Gore, on the other. I myself side with Tipper, and I agree that use of obscenity in rock and roll music is rampant and offensive. New legislation passed requiring Parental Advisory stickers on albums containing obscene lyrics would seem to be a decisive victory for parents, but in fact, this seeming victory may blind them to the real danger.

Obscene lyrics are straight-forwardly obscene, and anyone raised with good morals will know enough to avoid them, or at least not to repeat them to his or her parents. The real danger lies in lyrics that are subtlely corrupting, because the children may not even know they are being corrupted. Songs like M. C. Hammer's "U Can't Touch This" demonstrates no civilty, politeness, or respect at all, and describes M. C. Hammer reveling in and boasting about his wealth, genius and extreme sexiness. Hammer, a devout Christian, should be setting a positive example for the community. I would suggest, as a title,"Thank U For Not Touching This."

Even songs with no notable negative aspect often miss a chance to educate or enlighten listeners. Think how much more informed the nation's teenagers would be if the sound track to "Pretty Woman" had featured the hit song "King of Positive Thinking" ("I refuse/ to give into this manic depressive syndrome/ that's not how it's gonna be.")

Even today's dance music is faltering. Go back and listen to the Beach Boys say, "Help Me Rhonda," or "California Dreamin'," carefree songs of youthful hearts. Today's dance music doesn't sound like carefree songs of youthful hearts, it sounds like orders yelled to innocents in a demilitarized zone: "Get down!" (The longer versions sound instead like demented games of Simon Says: "Get down! Now get up! Get down! Get up!")

In summary, I believe that almost all modern music is in decline. There are countless questionable songs besides the ones I have mentioned and you never know what bad influences kids could be coming under. Why not just nail down the radio dial on the jazz station? Listening to it will give kids a rich sense of their cultural heritage, and besides! there are no words.n


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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HaleyPotter said...
Mar. 16, 2010 at 10:42 pm
Your article is extremely well written and presents a good argument, but I have to disagree with you. You can't blame music for kids making bad choices. I've no doubt that Elvis (this "King of Rock n Roll") would be embarrassed at what rock music has become, but it's simply evolved with the times. Teens these days want to, as Silevryn said, "drown out everything else in a sea of pounding noise." You aren't going to get that with the Beach Boys.
 
Silevryn said...
Mar. 16, 2010 at 1:20 pm
While this is a good point and an excellent article, i respectfully disagree. The general tone of Rock over the years has changed. Groups like the beach boys rarely if ever reach the masses of teenagers out there now. Teens want something they can relate to their life or at least something to drown out everything else in a sea of pounding noise. Rock is evolving into a separate entity, and more profanity is undoubtedly going to be a part of this. While some rappers take this to an extreme, most ... (more »)
 
alex12 said...
Oct. 27, 2008 at 6:10 pm
my favorite song is "I Kissed a Girl" by Katy Perry. Boo-Yah!
 
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