guidelines for song lyric on social issues

For this assignment students will be asked to find song lyrics that deal with one specific social problem (racial/gender prejudice/discrimination, poverty, domestic violence/abuse, pollution, drug/alcohol abuse, war, environmental issues). The original author/song writer must be included in the writing. Additionally, the artist who recorded or preformed the song may be mentioned. Write a 2-3 page typed essay explaining the relevance of the song to our study of social problems. Think carefully about the mood, tone and message of the lyrics. Be sure your discussion includes the following: 1. When was the piece written? Who was it written for? (audience) 2. Historical context. Were there any political, social, environmental or economic influences on the author that led to the creation of this piece? 3. What is the specific problem being addressed? 4. How does the piece treat the problem? With protest? An attitude of “it is what it is?” 5. Is the voice of the lyric that of someone experiencing the problem or from the perspective of an outsider? 6. What is the mood? Angry? Optimistic? 7. Why did you choose this lyric? How or why did it speak to you?

Suggestion: should you choose to work with a more contemporary song that has a music video do not reference the video in your essay. I would challenge you to ignore the video all together so as not to bias your opinion of the meaning of the lyric.

Be cautious of lyrics with a great deal of profanity. You are looking for songs with plenty to analyze. Sexual references and four-letters words are fairly-straight forward. Plan to modify when presenting your lyric in class.

You will turn in a typed copy of the lyrics along with your typed essay. You will be presenting on the essay in class. Please note that this will mean you will be separated from your personal belongings on this date. Please plan accordingly.

Assignment restriction: Please do not choose “Where is the Love” by the Black- Eyed Peas or “Imagine” by John Lennon.

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