In today’s world, it is easy to argue whether something is good or bad with various evaluations and theories that emerge each day. For example : good foods and bad foods. We read each day, eggs are bad, especially the yolk as it raises your cholesterol levels. However now there is a change of heart, where we are told that an egg a day is healthy. Every day we read the virtues of each type of food and are told to take those into our daily diet. But honestly, can we really include so much into our daily diet? Impossible! Is it possible to argue that food is good or bad? No! Some foods are good, some may be harmful; but everything in the right proportion and in moderation cannot be bad.
So who and what do we trust and believe? I guess the answer lies in trusting and believing in yourself and your own judgment in what is good for oneself.
The same argument hold true for everything including Popular Music. How can we generalise about Popular music being good or bad when there are so many types of popular music songs – some good for the soul and some really bad for society. The trick lies in segregating the good from the bad and taking the good to better our lives. Any type of music, can never be popular and liked by the entire universe as we are all individuals belonging to the same species but having very diverse likes and dislikes.
We notice certain similarities in various cultures when it comes to certain preferences like looks: Tall, fair, beautiful for women and tall, dark and handsome for men. In terms of our sense of smell; universally everyone abhors the smell of a rotten egg. In terms of sound; universally everyone abhors the sound of a crying or wailing baby or the sound of a loud horn or the sound of fingernails scratching a board. So we notice that certain sound, smells, appearances are universally liked or disliked, and some may try to associate that with a stream of music as well. But that may stem from various personal and emotional factors rather than a logical evaluation of the same. There have been some very poor compositions of classical music, but does that make classical music generally bad? No, we have to analyze and evaluate the music we hear and be able to determine what is constituted as good or bad.
Popular Music with good messages heal our souls, our society and the world; whereas those with bad and obscene messages can ruin for generations to come. The question then is to ask, what makes music good? Different people will have different opinions and answers to this question. But do they actually critique the music or the artist? Do they draw a distinct line between the artist and his music?
Popular Music when self-written, comes from the heart. It reflects the soul. That is true music. It is the music that is for the soul, for our society and for the world around us. What makes Pop Music fake is when it is not self-written, when it lacks meaning, when it lacks passion, and when it is performed just for the sake of a performance.
People are known to comment adversely about Popular Music performers stating that they do it only for the money. Does everyone not ultimately do things for money? Do we not work, teach, play professionally , run a business, provide a service all for earning money? So why single out a Pop Musician?
Popular music is associated with violent lyrics, loud music, which automatically puts people on their guard because the general assumption is that long-term exposure to this type of sound and words, may lead to antisocial behavior in young adults.
Many U.K. politicians had banned artists that have been considered a risk to society. A perfect example was the rapper, Snoop Dogg, who was prohibited from re-entering the U.K. in 2006 after a scuffle at Heathrow airport, even after serious assurances of good behaviour. He was barred from several other countries as well, as he was considered a potential threat. This ban was associated with his behaviour and not his music, however, the music got associated by co-incidence.
Even in today’s age, there are many people with the old way of thinking, and to an extent, they may have a point. Any parent would be wary of their children associating with children who constantly have their headphones with loud music and unsavoury use of language which is generally picked up from the music.
Research over time has indicated that listening to heavy metal leads to men having a low regard for women, and listening to rap leads to more aggression, irrational driving habits and practice of unsafe sex. So from this analysis do we conclude that there was no aggression or low regard for women or rash driving or unsafe sex before Pop Music became popular? While the agreement could hold true for rash driving, mainly because there were fewer cars, fewer people driving cars, maybe there were fewer accidents. But unsafe sex has been around since time immemorial – without the threat of aids as exists today. Did we not hear of so many illegitimate babies being born to the aristocracy through their house maids? Same goes for aggression. Did we not hear and see documentaries on the treatment of women in the olden days. And what about suicide? Do only those listening to Pop and Rap commit suicide? Is there not even one documented suicide of those that listened to Opera or Classical or Country & Western or for that matter didn’t listen to any music? So how does one generalize and place the entire blame on music?
In conclusion, I would say that music is any form should be heard, understood and enjoyed. Not be treated as a cause to social evils and hence restricted.