What Does Mainstream Music Really Say?

Welcome to the first in a series of opinion pieces by Lashandra Willis, based in Atlanta, Georgia.

I enjoy listening to different types of music in various genres because, well, I love music. It is a “feel good” medium… at least it’s supposed to be. Yet, how can one really get into the groove of the jam when the person behind the creation of the track demonstrates a lack for authentic communication, the sort stemming from what real lyricism is? This question is especially pertinent when favorite artists – or those you follow from the beginning of their careers, or since you’ve consciously listened to for a while – create engaging bass and background, yet you find yourself at a loss for their message.

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Many artists use ‘wordplay’ to create a new meaning in format I liken to Morse code. Writers and psalmists of old used such methods to open the reader to their views on everyday issues, sharing narratives on what many faced personally over the course and shifts of time.

Coded meanings within a beautifully put-together story turns and spirals the listener through a journey of emotional roads. Most of us listen to tunes for various reasons, sometimes purposes, from motivation to a sudden heartbreak to tapping into spiritual consciousness.

I mean, some of what is out in the mainstream is really disturbing. These high-profile artists with their “lyrical pitches” mostly sound the same to me.  When viewed from a perspective of creating a theme with mixed messages, it boils down to narrowing out the unique quality of each song. The approach and format seem uniform no matter how you rearrange the wording, add a plethora of adjectives and even insert “costume” descriptive jargon implying degradation, violence, confusion and mostly misinformation. Some crop up through defined emotions that come from a picture only the artist sees. The songs in the clips that follow are food for thought in the sense that what you consume creatively is a part of your diet as well. It’s worth considering!

Here are some examples of lyrical poets with their linear meanings:

Ain’t that a mess? Really? Songs many of us have listened to repeatedly by artists we have cleaved to throughout their careers cannot be forgotten. They are ingrained in the soul of the listener and will be acknowledged for their “in-depth” meaning within the content and it is hard to renounce the fact that their whimsical metaphors carry a subconscious mystical undertone. As a Nuwaubian Nubian Moor, I enjoyed many hit songs from Madonna, Andre 3000, even Britney (regardless of what she was going through).

…it is evident that words placed together to form a certain meaning, yet “cosmetically” viewed for face value as something else can be classified as a creepy, subtle form of psychological illusion.

Not everyone is or will be familiar with where I am going with this series. I can assure you that, as we go blog-by-blog over the many ways words have a relative connection to everything we do, you will understand how important it is to select the right words to define oneself and the most sensitive place from my perspective is the music we enjoy.

Here is another example of lyrics with incomprehensible “mystical” meanings:

Wow, imagine that! Growing up in the north, I enjoyed the Beatles as well as the Monkees, Partridge Family and some other 60’s pop stars. Being an impressionable child, you would not think that something like this is possible. Truth is, this is still happening in the music world today. Coded meanings within a beautifully put-together story turns and spirals the listener through a journey of emotional roads. Most of us listen to tunes for various reasons, sometimes purposes, from motivation to a sudden heartbreak to tapping into spiritual consciousness. More often than not, the reality that music is powerful in a nature that can have adverse effects on the listener must be perceived in the mind of the person. Many leaders and philanthropists can place their own spin on this phenomenon and highlight the specific origins of this type of devotion as being strictly psychological. With that being true, what about how it is explained by the narrator? Doesn’t that need a REAL thorough diagnosis?

Here are the last concrete examples of just that for this first of the series of blog articles:

Again, Kiss was a favorite of both myself and my grandmother, as well as the artists who brought the catchy eclectic dance tunes in “Electric Avenue” and “99 Luftballons.” This was around the time when Motown Records, along with other labels, were one of the biggest companies in music. They released tracks for many highly acclaimed artists, such as The Supremes, who wanted to bring flavorful genres of music styles to the American public while beginning their ascent into stardom. After viewing this video, it made me ponder my mindset in those seasons past, those that shaped the course of my steps through this journey of life up until now. In saying this, it is evident that words placed together to form a certain meaning, yet “cosmetically” viewed for face value as something else, can be classified as a creepy, subtle form of psychological illusion.

music
via Inside the Brain

So, remember to scan that next track word-for-word when a “new wave” sound hits the radio dial. Prepare your whole self to endure every realm and level that spews forth from the speaker’s or group’s mouths, for clarity’s sake. Prepare to find yourself in another place, through the mind of someone – who is the only one that knows how to guide you there. Through the pictures they create, words act as a compass for storytelling.

“When I find myself in times of trouble, mother Mary comes to me,
speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
And in my hour of darkness she is standing right in front of me,
speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be.
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be.
And when the broken hearted people living in the world agree,
there will be an answer, let it be.
For though they may be parted there is still a chance that they will see,
there will be an answer. let it be.
Let it be, let it be, …..
And when the night is cloudy, there is still a light, that shines on me,
shine until tomorrow, let it be.
I wake up to the sound of music, mother Mary comes to me,
speaking words of wisdom, let it be.”
Let it be, let it be, …..
—-Paul McCartney
(Source: https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/music)

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