Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Music of the 80s and Now

The Link above is to Michael Jackson's Thriller music video which was released in 1983. I chose this song because the 1980's saw the reinvention of Michael Jackson and he can be said to have been one of the most powerful musicians of that time. This particular song/video was voted the most influential pop music video of all time and proved to be a huge effect on pop culture. At the time MTV was very popular in American culture and was a way of musicians being seen and Michael Jackson's videos became a permanent fixture on MTV and was watched worldwide. The Thriller song was most renowned for it's ground breaking music video and it was named "a watershed moment for the music industry" because of it's merging of film and music which was not widely known at the time. With the video being an incredible fourteen minutes long and it incorporates a plot into the song and therefore almost acts as a short film rather than a music video.  

The video was also said to have broken racial barriers within music at the time, with Patrick Kevin Day and Todd Marten, of The Los Angeles Times suggesting that "MTV had a reputation for favoring white performers at the time, and its heavy rotation of Jackson videos helped alleviate the criticism". They then go on to state that "Thriller's phenomenal success led to a breaking down of traditional racial barriers on FM radio at the time". Therefore, I think this song and video represents the period of the 1980's, not just in music culture but in a racial aspect as well.

The link above is to Beyonce's music video of her song "I Was Here" which was released in 2011. I chose to look at this song because I think Beyonce is one of the most influential music artists of the last decade and is set to do the same this decade. I chose this song in particular because, even though it may not be one of her most well known or most popular songs I think it is especially relevant to representing the contemporary. The song itself is a reflective ballad, in which Beyonce reviews her past, how she became the world renowned star of today and it also reflects on how she wants to leave an impact on the world before her life comes to an end. Which is why I think this song and it's artist is a good representation of contemporary America and the world, in that it talks about her wanting to leave a legacy and to show the world what she has achieved through out her career so far. Along with this, the song was also said to be motivated by the September 11th 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre in America. This song was the only song on Beyonce's album that she did not co-write but when she heard it she had to sing it. With September 2011 going to mark the tenth anniversary of the September 11 attacks the song fitted perfectly and Beyonce thought it would be the perfect song to finish her album.      

Therefore I think this song is a fitting attribute to contemporary America and globally, not just for the music industry but for what is going on in the world. With not only the lyrics describing how Beyonce will leave her mark on the world and the song being a "career song", which was seen by some critics as strange because she is still very young. But also the video itself shows Beyonce's life over the past few years, how it has changed and what has made her career so far. It is for these reasons that I think this song can be seen as a representation that could still be seen thirty years from now.   

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