Introduction to Popular Culture Studies

Archive for December, 2016

VOJO FINAL PROJECT – Katy / Ian / Ford

Posted by cliffordpaulparsoniiiesq on December 11, 2016

For our Vojo assignment, Katy, Ian and I invited people to share their memories of a popular musician who passed away in 2016.

2016 had no shortage of tragedy, particularly in the world of music. Right off the bat, January alone took David Bowie and Glenn Frey (The Eagles), and the rest of the year didn’t let up. At one point in the Spring, my dad and I actually found ourselves trying to guess which iconic musician would be the next to go.

Through the past 12 months, we lost not only legends like Prince, Leonard Cohen and Leon Russell, but also some younger stars like Viola Beach and Thomas Fekete (Surfer Blood). No matter what kind of music you like, you had a reason to mourn this year.

As we collected responses from friends and family, we were amazed at some of the everyday things people can tie in when it comes to their favorite musicians. A couple people talked about how family members identified more with a particular musician than they did, or vice versa. My dad mentioned how he didn’t get into David Bowie until his pop-centric ‘80s phase, even though his brothers had enjoyed his earlier, more experimental albums for years. Meanwhile, Brent Shinkle talks about how Prince was a favorite of his parents when he was growing up. It’s amazing to see how one’s taste in pop culture can be shaped by different sources. Brent grew up with Prince, so there was no escaping. However, my dad discovered David Bowie on his own, without influence from his family.

Overall, everyone we heard from has something personal to share, beyond just simply liking an artist. Whether it’s Brent discovering Motorhead thanks to one of his favorite professional wrestlers, or Leon Russell’s “Tight Rope” being one of the first songs Steve Wilkins learned to play… Everyone has a story to contribute, and it gives each artist their own sort of mini-folklore. It would be silly to think of these artists just in terms of record sales and Grammy wins… They’re more than just a product of the entertainment industry, and by influencing so many people, they blur the line between pop culture and folklore.

Included here is a SoundCloud playlist featuring some of our favorite responses to the Vojo prompt. We added some music clips to make it a little more fancy!

We had a lot of fun with this assignment! Here’s to a lot less tragedy in 2017.


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Final Project- Rose, Drew, Aiyana

Posted by roseconway98 on December 10, 2016


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FOLD Project

Posted by loganhamilton on December 9, 2016

I enjoyed working on FOLD because it allowed me to see how projects in the future can be done more efficiently. It did not take too long to figure out and after I did it all went very smoothly. I did my solo project on WWE wrestling and its impact on several factors. What a great site to use to express a topic or project.


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Final Project

Posted by laurenbailey07 on December 8, 2016

Pop Culture Final Project

My group decided to do our project individually. Each of us asked some of our friends what song has impacted them most in their life. For my project personally, I got a wide variety of genres of music. I felt like this project was interesting to be apart of because i realized that in all of the other projects i have done, no one was as willing to take part as they were for this project. I think that music speaks to a lot of people and makes them feel as if they are apart of something.

If I were to ask myself the same question, my answer would probably be Growing Up by The Maine. One of the lyrics in the song says “growing up won’t bring us down”, and i think a lot of us need to hear that every once in a while. We get this whole other world inside of our heads that adulthood is going to be so difficult and that we are going to lose ourselves in the transition but i think we just all need to realize that you can’t always take life so seriously. Everyone is in this together and you just have to continue to look on the bright side of things. I think this song could speak to a lot of different people and make them feel something good.

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Vojo Project (Mary Beth, Danielle, & Evan)

Posted by marybethchilders on December 7, 2016

Much like every other group, VoJo was not our best friend when it came to this project. Therefore, we decided to take a little bit of a different route and put together a little video montage. So without ado, here is our final project.

This project prompt was easily the coolest and most interesting project that we’ve been able to do this year. Music is the universal language, something that literally anyone can  talk about. Honestly, it something that seems to just make the world go ’round. It brings countries together, people together, hell, maybe even enemies together. With the all the different genres, artists, and styles available to listen to really allows people to express themselves. Songs express stories, heartbreaks, love, death, any subject under the sun. The songs that people listen to give insights to things they are going through, memories they have, etc. This project was  interesting because the question prompted really allowed the interviewee to open up and express themselves, giving an insight to their experiences and memories through music.  The three of us, Evan, Danielle, and myself each gave our own insight on the stories we captured:

EvanThe responses I received from my close friends were all very intriguing  and eye-opening. With topics ranging from the loss of a loved one being soothed over a song to self-improvement and how people grow to a love for a great country and how it influences them to work hard and be productive, there are many very meaningful themes seen in each of them. For a few of them with paths that are, to say the least, questionable, they were able to improve themselves through the hip-hop lyrics that spoke to their pasts. For the others, it was simply the tale a song tells that calms them and inspires them to work towards their better self. Among all  of these songs, one thing is clear. Each of these people were able to connect with their song based on a relation of experiences with the artist or the story that artist tells.

DanielleThinking of a response to this question was honestly kind of difficult. We never stop to think of how music has impacted our lives… especially rap. As female teens we lay in bed listening to Taylor swift singing our hearts out about the guy who broke our heart… but it. Isn’t like that with rap. Rap is known for drugs, sex, and alcohol… nothing to necessarily impact ones life. But it can. The right song can. For some, it reconnects friendships. Gives you something to sing along to in the car. For others, it can be empowering. Kevin Gates and G Eazy always rap about the struggle and how they made it.     In my own life, I’m struggling each day with different hardships that life throws at me. I have a big dream I am working towards. No matter how many times I get down or feel like I can’t, I turn on a good song and remind myself that I can… maybe twerking at the same time to the beat but that’s okay. Dancing is good for the soul anyway. Not to mention there is so many who are still empowering.. even if they didn’t come up from the struggle. Like Beyoncé talking about “pretty hurts” and all the crazy things women do for looks just reminds me that I am beautiful the way I am and not defined by societies standard.

Mary Beth: Coming from a music loving family and growing up with the musician for a brother, music has always been something that I hold dear to my heart. I associate different songs or artists with specific memories or people. “Everybody Wants To Rule the World” by Tears for Fears is a song I associate with many memories. It my comfort song. I played it on the way to my first day of high school when I was scared. I played on the way to my first job interview when I was a nervous wreck. I played the whole drive to college, when I was even more of a nervous wreck. It’s things like that that make music so beautiful, is the stories that come with it. This project allowed me to hear and appreciate another’s music induced stories. Stories of relationships, or life lessons, or even just family obsessions like the first interview in the video. It’s stories and memories like this that make life so interesting, and music is to thank.


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Dear Next President – submission

Posted by cliffordpaulparsoniiiesq on December 7, 2016

This project was a great opportunity to discuss politics in a light that you don’t see enough. I like the idea of not taking sides, but rather addressing what you should look for in a president overall. This way of thinking is a far cry from the hostile, “anti” attitudes that plague voters every election cycle.

“Dear Next President” made me feel like I’m in elementary school all over again: Open-minded, eager to learn, and enthusiastic to be a part of the political process. It’s a sense of childlike innocence to be able to look at a president objectively, not bound by one’s own biases.

I’m hoping it’s this attitude that may help some people cope with the election results to come. We will always have America, and too often the upfront politics distracts from our patriotism during hard times. Thanks “Dear Next President” for being something encouraging and positive to come out of 2016!


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“Synthesis/analysis of my Project”

Posted by yanniej on December 6, 2016


Since it was clear that we were Gennie pings for most of the projects it was very frustrating to me not only to have a platform that didn’t functions successfully but also not having a direct layout of what to do, how to do it and when it needs to be done. While there was a lot of confusion with this project I appreciate the people, who contributed to this project at the last minute so whatever recording I received is what I had to use because beggars can’t be choosers. There wasn’t a clear limit of how long the recordings were supposed to be, so I asked everyone the prompt my group created with which was what is your favorite song, who sings it and how has music influenced you.

Family feud by Pistol Annie’s: Within the recording the individual described how she used this song to deal with an emotional time within her family which was her family fighting over assist when her grandfather passed away. She expresses how music has a way of telling a story or relating to people which makes people connect with certain songs or genres. As she mentioned sometimes it doesn’t matter about the genre of the song but only the words and the meaning behind it. While this song painted her life story well everyone who listen to the song does not obtain the same emotional appeal which is why music is so interesting. I decided to give the song a try and see what message I gathered from the song which was issues within a family but of course I could not relate to the deep meaning that she gathered because that was her personal story.

My wish for Christmas by R. Kelly: Within the recording the individuals related this song to the memories and his joy for Christmas. The meaning that he gathered from the song is about peace and love and how Christmas time is all about giving. While its simple to say that this song is his favorite but Christmas is also his favorite the meaning behind a simple Christmas song like world peace and love are things that some people may draw from the song while I just think it is a catchy jingle. It is interesting to compare how you interpret a song compared to someone else because most of the time they are not similar. It does not have to be a deep song with a meaning to have a purpose to someone. While listening to this song what I took away from it was a song that would be played during decorating the Christmas tree and I didn’t enjoy it very much because I love uplifting beats and within the song I got a sad vibe of desire to change the world.

I’ll show You by Justin Bieber: Within the recording the individual related the lyrics of the catchy pop singer to how she views her life which is even when you do bad things you can always recover. She relates this to the song because the artist is talking about how as a celebrity he is also still a human and makes mistakes. It is also interesting to view the stand point of a young fan to the artist because his music is in a way motivation, courage and a sense of determination to her. Just by listening to the 3-min song she could reflect on her lifestyles by saying by surrounding yourself by the right people you can make a change. While I have listened to the song and didn’t take away such a deep meaning as what he was saying every song speaks to individuals differently because we have all faced our own struggles. The meaning I took away from the song was the artist personal determination to change and that simply his life isn’t easy just because he is famous.

That’s What I Like by Bruno Mars: Within the recording the individual said that the song as a form of entertainment. Music can be therapeutic, motivational or simply for entertainment. While hers was short and straight to the point some people simply listen to music as a form of entertainment just as I do. It doesn’t matter about the lyrics we can just be inspired or uplifted by a song simply because of the beats. Just as individuals enjoy every song produced by an artist because of the love for the artist. It doesn’t have to be a full song that reflects your life that makes you love the song, it could simply be bells that make you think about the time you were in New Orleans. This is honestly the only one I could relate to because this song is so uplifting and makes me happy and want to dance every time I hear it, to me it is much more than just the lyrics music is fun.

Crooked Smile by J Cole: Within the recording the individual mentioned how just the lyrics of the song holds a lot of meaning to him because it teaches self-love. Thankfully I picked his brain a little more to see what he meant by that and he told me that he views music as art. He admires lyrical artist that speak about related things true to the world which is why he respects artist like him because they are very hard to find. Indeed, I do believe artist such as him tell a story in a straightforward manner meaning there is no underlying message. The message I took away from the song was like my song I choose which was how society views people, the lyrics where beautiful and painted a picture to a tee! Music is art!

Pretty hurts by Beyoncé: Within the recording I reflected on how the lyrics and the video had a meaning to me because I am a visual person. Because of the video I had a different interpretation of the song because of the visual images where things I related to as a female. Sometimes you have a different feeling of a song when you just listen to the words compared to when there is a music video to go along with what was saying. I related to this song personally because I could relate to having to feel as if I had to live up to standards as a young woman to be beautiful. Since this was the song I choose I asked my friend to watch it because I was curious what she thought it was about and she connected the song to beauty pageants.

My approach for this assignment was different because I don’t think it was clear what was expected but I like the way I did it. It was much more than just “adding audio” together I could see something that I have never seen before which was how the meaning of music is different for everyone. It can be a personally story about family issues, insecurities, entrainment, memories, a reminder of your favorite holiday or simply motivation. The way music has an impact on people is different for everyone which is the reason why someone might like a song and the other person hate it. Just by simply communicating with the people who contributed to my project I understood myself that music to me is like a melody I listen to it for the beats and the vibes while the same song could remind someone of their lost grandfather.


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VoJo Project

Posted by loganhamilton on December 6, 2016

This was a very enlightening project for me which I very much enjoyed. I asked  22 different people what their favorite kind of music was, their favorite song, and how that genre of music has or is changing their life, and how it has had a major influence on them personally. Out of the 22 responses, I got some pretty diverse feedback I was not exactly expecting. I chose to pick the best most diverse six people out of the 22. As I was interviewing all these people I noticed that some of these people, especially the select six I will be talking about, are very integrated and moved some how by their music genre selection. Everyone has their own story behind their selection which was very intriguing to me. I did not realize how much people cared about some of the music they listen to, which makes me think twice about judging someone for their music selection.

  1. Male – Favorite song: A Plot to Bomb the Pan Handle – The first person I talked with was a bit different from the rest of the people i interviewed. His favorite genre of music is hard punk rock because it allowed him to meet some of his best friends he has now. He also loves hard punk rock music because he feels it relates to his family. He also likes how loud the music is. He says it relaxes him and makes him able to work on stuff.
  2. Female – Favorite song: He Shall Rein Forever More – She likes to listen to contemporary christian/ gospel music because it has given her the opportunity to lead her church choir with her mom. She teaches children how to do sign language at her church also. Lastly, she feels this genre of music has made a large impact on her life because it allows her to practice theme interpretation, which is basically sign language for music.
  3. Male – Favorite song: Wanted dead or alive – This guy really has a past with music that I thought was one of the most interesting stories I have heard yet. He likes to listen to rock and roll/ classic rock, more specifically, pre 90’s music. He enjoys this genre because he grew up with his parents listening to this kind of music and he believes that genre tells more of a story than most modern music does. He taught himself how to play the drums since the fourth grade! He was also in the band in middle school after he already taught himself how to play and read music. He informed me that the reason this genre of music has impacted him in such a way is because classic rock is the golden age of music and that all of todays music have roots coming from rock and roll.
  4. Female – Favorite song: Whisky – This lovely lady enjoys country music because she believes it actually has a meaning to it. She was raised on this genre of music and was not allowed any other music to be played in her household. She thinks country music beings out her feelings and allows her to express herself having a big impact on her life.
  5. Female – Favorite song: Horizon – She emphasized strongly that she loves the genre of soft alternative music because it actually tells a story and calms her down. This kind of music makes her want to be a better person and makes her feel better when she is sad or upset in any way. The soft alternative genre has changed her life in ore than on way so she continues to listen to it daily.
  6. Male – Favorite song:  – This crazy man is one of my roommates and could not stop talking about the genre of Americana. I actually did not even know this was a genre until he explained it to me. He says it is a mix between country and alternative music. He enjoyed this kind of music because it is full of developing songs and artists who can use their backgrounds to produce good music. This type of music allows him to study better and it is a stress reliever to him.

I got a lot from this project including some points I can take away for myself. I learned that everyone has a different taste in music and we should not judge them for that because their specific genre always has an impact on their life somehow. The main point I want to bring up is the fact that every single one of the 22 people I interviewed said at one point that their selected genre of music was a stress reliever to them in some way. I now understand how and why people choose what they listen to. The effect is always going to be different for everyone and completing this VoJo project was very enlightening to me on that subject. I thought the impact that music had on people was going to be much less than it actually does. Music has an influence on everyones life in some way or another and I believe I have truly discovered that for myself by completing this project.

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What Music Meant to Others and How They Discovered Their Favorites

Posted by prestonperkins91 on December 6, 2016

Alex and I had many difficulties with the Vojo project. For one, it would give us a username that already existed, but would not give us a password. Secondly, the video on the Vojo website would not cooperate with us and would ask if we would like to open it in Outlook. I tried sending it to myself through my student email, but then it asked me if I wanted to open it in Gmail. I tried, but it failed. It eventually gave us about four other options to watch in other messenger apps, but none of them would open the video either. Thankfully, after all of the trial and errors that Vojo gave us, Sam finally gave us an alternative, using the “ever so easy” Fold. After asking multiple people, particularly ones that I knew were more enthused about music than I was, we were able to get the following question answered: give a brief description of a time when they discovered or interacted with a piece of music in a memorable way. Through a close friend or relative, a record store, an online community/blog, or a radio broadcast, all that is required is that it means something to them.

I was quite surprised, yet pleased, to get as many as ten separate responses from people in a single night, unlike the previous projects, where people that we needed answers from did not know what to say or seemed a bit too lazy to even get involved. However, this is music we’re talking about, a powerful, spreadable experience for many people and generations. It’s been spreading through the media ever since the early inventions of the radio and record player. In fact, music is such a powerful thing; one can look up spreadable recordings from 100 years back, along with hearing more modern performances from music that was written centuries ago. The internet truly helped music with a really heavy dose of “spreadability” Even websites like Myspace, the precursor to Facebook, is dedicated to practically only music now. Thanks to the internet, anyone can create their own albums and spread it anywhere in the world, and anyone can find such music, if only they search. To me, it seems that many underground musicians are more passionate about their music than the more mainstream musicians, such as the kind that is played on the radio or performed on television and in movies.

In conclusion, the pace that music spread is larger than ever before, doing nothing but spreading quicker and quicker as each new day passes. If you’re into making music, and have enough knowledge about computers to put your music online, the internet can not only be the best tool to use to spread your music, but your best friend. There’s practically no point in handing out mix-tapes at gas stations anymore, but instead one can simply say, “Look me up on this website.” There are still some bugs throughout the different websites, such as Vojo, and hopefully they are able to fix the issues. If so, it will do nothing but help the future of spreadable media to grow faster as each day goes by.


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We Came to Kick Ass and Turn in a Final… And We Just Turned in the Final

Posted by wrmattison on December 5, 2016

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