Introduction to Popular Culture Studies

Vojo Project

Posted by ccpadfield on December 5, 2016

“Name a song that changed you life,” is a thought-provoking prompt. I received responses ranging from strengthened personal philosophies to motivation. An interesting note I made while reviewing these responses was the dynamic of gender and age. Out of all of my responses, I chose to write about six. This group of six included four women, both college- and middle-aged, as well as two men, both college- and middle-aged. Below is a list of the six chosen:

  • M1, male, 20’s: Most Tech N9ne Songs, The music helps with motivation
  • F1, female, 50’s: Trust and Obey (Church Hymn), The lyrics are clear and strengthen faith
  • F2, female, 20’s: Smile More (Deap Vally), The message of the song is body-positive and defeats stereotypes about women
  • F3, female, 20’s: Gravity (Sara Bareilles), The message is relates to personal history
  • M2, male, 50’s: Money (Pink Floyd), The lyrics send a positive message about money, hard work and greed
  • F4, female, 20’s: I and Love and You (Avery Brothers), The song is about loneliness while loving someone, hardships and coming-of-age

The first point I want to bring up is the difference in song choice and age; the older the subject, the older the song. The other difference I can see between ages is the meaning in what they take from the song. While the older subjects took value in their songs for spiritual and moral reasons, the younger group related their songs to their personal lives. This generational difference speaks volumes about how generations value things differently. The older group looked at their songs for direction while the younger group tended to like their chosen music because it related to certain aspects and obstacles in their lives.

Another difference was the comparison of the genders of the subjects and the types of music they chose. The women chose songs that were personal while the men chose music that taught lessons and gave them energy. This difference shows, again, values between men and women. Women tend to focus on themselves and personal experiences while men tend to focus on philosophies and energizing. While the amount of male and female subjects weren’t equal or incredibly diverse, I think this still provides some insight as to how age and gender differ within pop culture.

I think that the take-away from all of this shows how pop culture has changed over the years. It also shows how music is marketed and how fleeting music can be. One of the subjects, M1, said it best when he said that he couldn’t decide on which song to choose because he felt that music was so fleeting. Hit songs come out all the time, and if the hit song doesn’t change your life, you may find another song by the same artist that influences you. New music doesn’t only spread through the radio; it can spread through television, films, word of mouth, etc. It’s important to realize all the different avenues for music to be spread through, and what it can mean to different people.


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