This paper will examine music and social issues. Suicide rates have increased among teenagers, young adults and an epidemic in our military with the prolonged wars. Songs that are composed about suicide and the loss of someone whom has committed suicide has also increased in recent decades.
Key words: suicide, music, social problems, demographics and lyrics.
Music is easily accessed today through various media outlets and devices. Music is in automobiles, smartphones, personal audio devices and online. With all these personal devices it has become more common today for people to listen to their choice of music when shopping, traveling ...view middle of the document...
com. The genre of rock music also has the most musicians of non-hispanic demographics which also correlates to the highest demographic of 25-64 year old males whom commit suicide from 2005-2009 according to the Center for Disease Control (www.cdc.gov). Suicide has also moved into the top 20 reasons for death in teens and young adults (www.cdc.gov).
MUSIC THEMES AND SUICIDE
There are three common themes among suicide and rock music, one being the recent loss of a suicide victim, the second is how we will be affected by suicide or why not to and the third is committing suicide. Most of these songs are directed at young to middle aged groups. For example Good Charlottes’ song “Hold On” is an anti-suicide song in response to large volume of letters received by the band from fans thinking of committing suicide. The song lyrics urged them to “Hold on till the world gets better” and the music video was produced with the assistance of a suicide prevention group (Good Charlotte, 2002, track 5). The song “Jeremy” by Pearl Jam deals more with first theme of being affected by someone whom committed suicide based on a true event. Again this demographic of band is still young adult and non-hispanic and the boy whom shot himself is a white male age 16. The song lyrics go on to describe that Jeremy from Texas killed himself before his high school English class as a result of bullying. This song and incident both took place in 1991, however in 1996 another white male high school student in Washington State, shot two fellow students and a teacher in which he stated he was compelled by the video and lyrics of this same song to commit this act. Kelly Clarkson’s hit song “Haunted” also deals with this theme of how she was affected by someone whom committed suicide when she was growing up (Kelly Clarkson, 2007, track 7). She expressed her anger in the lyrics of how someone could be selfish to take an easy way out and leave everybody on Earth feeling guilty or what they could have done to prevent it. Her song features more of slow melody with softer vocals and acoustics, that makes you reflect more as she describes the incident in the song as opposed to Good Charlottes’ “Hold On” song which is a faster tempo with more guitar, drum and louder vocals which could be explained by in its’ attempt to lift one’s spirits not to commit suicide. “Just A Thought” by Gnarls Barkley deals with the third theme of thinking about committing suicide (Gnarls Barkley, 2006, track 8). This song explains that he has thoughts about killing himself and even in the lyrics he identifies that most songs are from non-hispanic bands as he says “when was the last time you hear a black man talk about suicide?” The song is from an African-American artist but still is in the same age demographic of middle age adult. The tempo is not slow or deep vocals to make you feel depressed but seems more to be a way of the artist expressing that we all have some thoughts of suicide...