Socially Conscious Music Assignment

Socially Conscious Music Assignment

This assignment explores how popular musicians from all eras address or make reference to social justices, social injustice and public health. These song are referred to as socially conscious songs. You can find socially conscious songs in the music of our contemporaries and in the music of the past. Many communities use music as a means to communicate, reflect or address problems and concerns. Perhaps you are aware of a few.

Guidelines:

  1.  Do not select a song that your classmates are using.
  2. Find a song that has lyrics that address a social justice issue.
  3.  Copy the lyrics – type them out or cut and past.
  4.   Write an insightful one page analysis about why you think this song addresses an important social justice issue, what the artist is saying (message), why you think it is important, what symbols did the artist use to convey the message?
  5.  If your song is selected, be prepared to introduce the song and what it means.

***** Songs must not glorify violence, consumerism or sexism. Songs cannot objectify women or any other person in any way. Songs must not belittle or prejudge groups of people. Cursing is acceptable in the art of the song as long as it is not gratuitous.

Grading Scale

A – B           

  1. Song fulfills all of the above requirements.
  2. Song offers a solution to the problem(s) in the song.
  3. You wrote an insightful analysis of the lyrics.
  4. You have a recording.

B – C           

  1. Song fulfills all of the above requirements.
  2. Song refers to a social justice or public health problem
  3. You wrote an insightful analysis of the lyrics.
  4. You have a recording

 

C – D           

  1. Song fulfills all of the above requirements.
  2. Song refers to a social justice or public health problem/
  3. You wrote an ok or mediocre analysis of the lyrics.
  4. You have a recording

 

Mr. McDowell’s example of a socially conscious song

PRINCE – “Sign of the Times.”

“Sign O’ The Times”

In France a skinny man

Died of a big disease with a little name

By chance his girlfriend came across a needle

And soon she did the same

At home there are seventeen-year-old boys

And their idea of fun

Is being in a gang called The Disciples

High on crack, totin’ a machine gun

Time, time

Hurricane Annie ripped the ceiling of a church

And killed everyone inside

U turn on the telly and every other story

Is tellin’ U somebody died

Sister killed her baby cuz she could afford 2 feed it

And we’re sending people 2 the moon

In September my cousin tried reefer 4 the very first time

Now he’s doing horse, it’s June

Times, times

It’s silly, no?

When a rocket ship explodes

And everybody still wants 2 fly

Some say a man ain’t happy

Unless a man truly dies

Oh why

Time, time

Baby make a speech, Star Wars fly

Neighbors just shine it on

But if a night falls and a bomb falls

Will anybody see the dawn

Time, times

It’s silly, no?

When a rocket blows

And everybody still wants 2 fly

Some say a man ain’t happy, truly

Until a man truly dies

Oh why, oh why, Sign O the Times

Time, time

Sign O the Times mess with your mind

Hurry before it’s 2 late

Let’s fall in love, get married, have a baby

We’ll call him Nate… if it’s a boy

Time, time

Time, time

 


Andy’s Example:

Hunting for Witches – Bloc Party

I was sitting
On the roof of my house
With a shotgun
And a six pack of beers, six pack of beers, six pack of beers
The newscaster says the enemy’s among us
As bombs explode on the thirty bus
Kill your middle class indecision
Now is not the time for a liberal thought
So I go hunting for witches
I go hunting for witches
Heads are going to roll
I go hunting for
Nineties, optimistic as a teen
Now its terror
Airplanes crash into towers
The Daily Mail says the enemys among us
Taking our women and taking our jobs
The reasonable fool is being drowned out
By the non-stop baying, baying, baying for blood
Fame to go
So I go hunting for witches
I go hunting for witches
Heads are going to roll
I go hunting for
I was an ordinary man with ordinary desires
I watched TV and it formed me
I was an ordinary man with ordinary desires
There must be accountability
Despaired and misinformed
Fear will keep us all in place
So I go hunting for witches
I go hunting for witches
Heads are going to
I go hunting for
I was an ordinary man with ordinary desires
I watched TV and it formed me
I was an ordinary man with ordinary desires
There must be accountability
Despaired and misinformed
Fear will keep us all in place