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Music Discuss your favorite musicians and music, whether you listen or play, here.

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Snufkin Offline
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Help with coursework? Escapism/romanticism in music - February 12th 2012, 07:11 PM

Iím doing coursework and I need to ask a few questions. Iím writing an article about the effects escapism can have when it comes to music.

Ideally, I would have quotes from fans of people like Rihanna, Tom Waits, and Nightwish. These three, to me, represent 3 different times of lyrical extremes, and all involve story telling and romanticism in their lyrics.

For example, Tom Waits has the most perfect song in the world called Tom Traubertís Blues. He says he was inspired to write it by going down to skid row, getting wasted and talking to the people who live there. He says what he found out was that everyone put there was put there by a woman. In my head, this is a heartbreaking, yet romanticised, tale. It sounds like anything from an old blues tale that sounds somewhat cool. But think of it in reality. The people on skid row are hobos, and most people go out of their way to avoid them when you see them lying on the streets. In Tomís song, the romanticised version is a heartbroken man. In reality, itís quite different.

In Rihannaís case, there is an abundance of sexual lyrics and imagery, as well as an abusive relationship in the case of We Found Loveís video. Considering she appeals to teenage girls (mostly her fanbase) all over the world, what kind of message does this put out? Is she lowering sexual inhibitons for teens, or do they know itís just a song? Is she glamourising abusive relationships in her videos?

In Nightwishís case, more often than not they tell fairytale-like stories in their songs. The basis of them are often personal, but they combine the diary like entries from the composer with lyrics involving anything from LOTR to Disney. This will be my concluding point because it meshes the escapism/romanticism with an underlying realness.

So all I want is your opinion - is escapism/romanticism good, and what effects can it have? Is Tom idealising singing the blues, something that is usually caused by depression? Is Rihanna creating harlots? Is Nightwish tearing people from reality? If you can come up with other examples, similar or not, even better. All input is appreciated. Cheers.

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Re: Help with coursework? Escapism/romanticism in music - February 12th 2012, 09:14 PM

This is actually a topic I've given a bit of thought to before. Listening to music, for me at least, is a really rich experience. The best music is the kind that paints a picture in your mind and for that picture to be truly effective it needs to be vivid. There's no such thing as a good song that is 'lukewarm'. And yes, the best music is that which gives a glimpse into things that we normally would try not to think about (abusive relationships, depression, etc). I think romanticism of these themes is a positive thing. It's much easier to look at something and come to terms with it when it's shown in an easily accessible and beautiful manner. However, on the flip side, it's easy for someone (especially a young person) to hear a song like one of Rihanna's and think that it's okay if the underlying subject manner applies to their lives because they've heard it in popular culture. You really shouldn't be taking your sense of right and wrong from music, though.

Escapism is a gigantic part of why people use music as a coping tool, though, and if nothing else it should be appreciated for that. Music's always been that way and the mark of a truly great song (in my opinion) is one that mixes romantic elements with more realistic aspects of an experience. Charles Bukowski once said, "An intellectual says a simple thing in a hard way. An artist says a hard thing in a simple way." Music isn't always a completely well-thought-out and coordinated approach to an issue (i.e. drug abuse). They aren't singing facts, they're singing feelings and quite often feelings make no sense.

Sorry if this was all over the place
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