I won’t talk to you about the music industry as a whole or the decline in CD sales with the increasing online availability of albums. What I would like to discuss, and hear your opinion, are the themes driving our current musicians and the platform that progressive and socially minded bands have built for music to become a positive influence and community activating tool.
The depth of music runs deeper than purely what genre you prefer or matching sounds with your current mood. The Greek philosopher, Plato described music as:
“The movement of sound to reach the soul for the education of its virtue.”
Virtue is a powerful word to be linked with Music as it relates to morals and the useful quality of a person, object and/or concept. Music being a form of art is subjective, not everyone enjoys the same music some like a large range of music from chart toppers to world music whilst others enjoy particular genres like metal, punk or techno. Being of the subjective nature and considering Plato’s words; Musics power is its ability to reach the soul of the listener and connect with what is important to them regardless of background.
On the surface this is understandable and something you might consider a simple statement but now I ask you to consider the Music currently playing in the charts and being pumped out of cars, TVs and ipods.
I logged on to my itunes store and looked at the Top Singles being sold on itunes. The top 2 are:
1. On the floor – Jennifer Lopez
“All I need is some vodka and some… coke
And watch… get donkey konged
… if you’re ready for things to get heavy
I get on the floor and act a fool if you let me…”
2. Sweat – Snoop Dogg
“There’s only one way we can stop the drought
Come with me
We can take a trip down south
I can tell she’s thirsty
I’m in the hole like a birdy…”
While these are small selections of the songs I’m sure you can tell the songs theme by these words. A theme that is consistent among a lot of (not all) pop-music. Now I ask you to once again consider Plato’s words. If this music is reflective of our morals (virtue) then the popularity of these songs should be concerning as a reflection on a society that feels these songs connect with what is important to them as individuals.
Today I was reading my twitter feeds as I follow a number of Indigenous Organisations and Individuals who do a great job posting news stories and media coverage on the Aboriginal community. While flicking through some links I came across the great Australian band the Warumpi Band and their legendary song Black Fella White Fella which started me thinking, where the progressive and popular bands like the Warumpi Band, Midnight Oil, Coloured Stone, Yothu Yindi and many more bands with a social message celebrating culture for building an inclusive and equal Australia, have gone in todays society. Powerful lyrics that not only connect with your soul but engage you on an emotional level. Lyrics that educate and evoke a sense of urgency for change, driven by some seriously talented musicians.
- Yothu Yindi – Tribal Voice:
“All the people in the world are dreaming (get up stand up)
Some of us cry for the rights of survival (get up stand up)
Saying c’mon c’mon! Stand up for your rights
While others don’t give a damn
They’re all waiting for a perfect day
So you better get up and fight for your rights
Don’t be afraid of the move you make
You better listen to your tribal voice!”
I realised that the ideology of social change through music hasn’t disappeared but it has faded from the popular music charts and thus out of the minds of the wider society and into an underground scene which is engaging a progressive Australia.
The questions I feel are important to ask are:
- Has the music scene lost its heart when it comes to seeking and supporting bands that are pushing an agenda and wanting to engage a wider audience.
- Has our virtues fallen to the point that we no longer connect or identify with lyrics that promote positive attitudes of self worth and culture.
Here is a wonderful artist from Country Victoria, Philly! Philly was honoured with the 2015 Emerging Artist Award at the Indigenous Music Award held in Darwin. His lyrics give me hope in the impact of real, meaningful and passionate music on society.
Here are 2 other music videos that I feel connect with me and promote culture and a progressive Australia:
Enjoy and keep searching cause there is so much amazing talent out there that doesn’t get the airtime it deserves so please share your thoughts and build awareness of bands who are reconnecting with the social minded community to promote a music industry that we can be proud to play everyday.