Popular culture is defined as the wide-ranging perspectives, attitudes, ideas, images and several other phenomena within the mainstream or rather scope of a given culture particularly the western culture (Storey 4). Subsequent to the industrial revolution, people had a lot of free time and this prompted the emergence of entertainment customs that include the mass media, additionally, this impelled advertisements ensuing the high supply and demand of goods, this in essence is perceived to have fuelled the emergence of pop culture (Fedorak 50). In history, pop culture and particularly pop music has been influential in a number of ways, additionally, pop culture has developed over the years predominantly during the 1950’s to date. Evidently, the cohort that has been affected the most by pop culture and precisely pop music is the teens. By majorly focussing on pop music, this paper seeks to present the history of pop music since its emergence as perceived during the industrial revolution and the effects of pop music to the society particularly to the youths.
History of Pop Music
Pop music is widely known as that music which is popular to majority of the members of the public. As such, pop music has been changing constantly over time. Pop music has had an impact on teenagers of various generations.
During the 1950s, the music that was very popular at the time was ‘Rock and Roll’ music. Elvis Presley managed to become the first singer to become popular during this time as a result of the rock and roll music. Teenagers greatly loved this music because they had an upbeat and they were fast and thus this music won them over (Campbell 80). Additionally, the folk song was another pop music that was widely sang during this time by artistes like Patti Page and Pat Boone. Even though the Rock n Roll music was still highly regarded in the 1960s, other kinds of foreign music were introduced during this era. Soul music and that of R&B became more popular especially amongst the Americans.
The ‘Rock and Roll’ music came to rise again during the 1970s as it was led by bands such as Chicago and the Led Zepplin. Besides the rock and roll music, the disco style of music arose and it became famous because teenagers found it appealing. According to Wald (98) teenagers enjoyed the way the music had quick upbeat trends including the fact that the music played from records rather than the usual bands. The disco style of music became popular in the clubs because it was a lot cheaper and enabled club owners cut on the cost of hiring the bands that played live. Furthermore, the disco music could even be played in movies as evidenced in movies like the ‘Saturday Night Fever’. The fact that disco music could take several forms increased its popularity amongst teens in the 1970s.
The 1980s saw pop music evolve even more with the development of things such as compact discs, which contributed to the rise of pop stars like Michael Jackson because they became widely known for their pop music. The 1980s further saw the development of music like hip-hop, psychedelia and Goth rock. Pop music became greatly famous to the extent that pop artistes were now able to obtain aid for the disadvantaged groups and starving people in various parts of Africa. Rap and hip hop became the most popular music in the 1990s. It is believed that these songs became popular because they were considered to be ‘dance music.’ Artistes used a variety of styles to lure the audience to their music (Jones 115). For instance, Tone Loc would make use of innuendo and the sexual lyrics to deliver their music. Additionally, musicians like Nsync and even Britney spears rose to stardom when they delivered their music using sexual lyrics and innuendo.
The modern day pop music has largely been shaped by the music that was played in the earlier decades. The previous music has gradually been refined to form the pop music that has been played in the 2000s to date. This is evident from the fact that renowned artists of the former years like Mariah Carey and Madonna have been able to maintain a successful music career. Another example is Punk Rock who has remained popular because of being part of good bands like Simple Plan and the Fall Out Boy. Pop music has been able to fit in well with music such as R&B like is the case in songs done by Rihanna and even Nelly Furtado.
Effects of Pop Culture to the Society
Subsequent to the slow admittance and development of pop culture and essentially pop music into our society since its early developments, apparent effects can be deduced. To begin with, through the various musical channels and awards, pop culture has been seen to infect the society since most of our teenagers in the contemporary times now utilize pop music for the purpose of creativity and expression. Through this, the destructive behaviours portrayed by the celebrities will be copied and made apparent in the day to day life.
With the prevalence of pop culture and its blow-out through music, pop culture has been perceived to promote violence in our society in some way (Elliot 80). Though no apparent research has proofed this conception to be a true fact, statistics show a very close link between violence in pop culture to being an “antagonist”. In essence, those people in our society who partake the violent aspects of pop culture spread through pop music have a high chance of involving into the same, a negative aspect that has been perceived to spoil our contemporary society.
Similar to the notion of pop culture violence. Pop music has been seen to have profound effects to sexuality in our contemporary society. The perceptions people acquire concerning sexuality through the messages incorporated in music lyrics and celebrity behaviour, has acted a huge in in affecting sexuality. For teenagers who are still exploring sexuality and finding what the all thing means normally fall into the trap of destructive sexual behaviours acquired from pop culture because they are not mature enough to handle physical and social effects of sexuality (Roach 50). This has fundamentally affected sexuality in our society because we are too much deceived into believing that all that we hear and see repossessed from the pop culture is necessarily good without giving it a thought.
Another apparent effect that pop music has on our society in the cotemporary times is the way people particularly our youths define themselves. Considering that the huge part in a teenager’s development is his or her self-definition, most of the youths in our contemporary society have evidently been affected by pop music. In essence, considering that pop music that sometimes entail gangster music is normally listened by teenagers in our society today, most or rather some of them end up taking the characteristics of pop culture hence influencing their self-definition in many apparent ways. Essentially, pop culture through pop music provides the benchmark under which the people in our society particularly the youths retrieve self-definitions from (Fedorak 11).
Pop music has been seen to affect our language in many apparent ways. Pop music that has lyrics containing slang in it will fuel the adoption of slang into our language, in this way, the prevalence of slang subsequent to the development of music has been rampant and has in essence affected our society. Evidently, slangs has slipped into the vocabulary of teenagers subsequent to listening “Crunk” and hip hop music that normally has too many slang in their lyrics.
Last but not least, pop music affects the quality of education in our contemporary society negatively. Firstly, most of the students these days are so into music to an extend where they cannot concentrate more in their studies. Additionally, youths tend to indulge themselves into entertainment to such an extent where they make their studies a priority.
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