In preparation for a discussion on music lyrics with my culture class I printed out the lyrics to the current top 10 most popular songs according to Billboard. Some of the lyrics were deep and moving, but most consisted of subtle (if not overt) references to sex, addictions, dysfunctional relationships, and/or irresponsible behavior. Most of the songs had one or more of George Carlin’s seven dirty words.
I was fully prepared to blame my students for the moral decline of our civilization and to chastise them for failing to critically analyze the messages of the songs they listen to when a colleague asked me about music when I was in high school. So I looked it up. Most of the top 10 songs in 1993 consisted of… subtle (if not overt) references to sex, addictions, dysfunctional relationships, and/or irresponsible behavior. The list contains such gems as “Whoomp! There It Is,” “Freak Me,” and “Rump Shaker.”
My colleague’s graduation year (1985) fared much better. That top 10 includes the “We are the World” Africa benefit song and the only remotely questionable one in the list is “Money For Nothing” by Dire Straits.
Maybe it was my graduating class that was responsible for the moral decline of our civilization…