War Songs in the Present Times

In The article “Understanding the Pleasures of War’s Audiovision”, Sumera talks about the ways music is used in times of war. Those “pump-you-up-to-kill-the-bad-guy” songs and videos are used as propaganda on both sides of the social spectrum, whether it’s the American pride aspect that draws the Average Joe in, or the soldiers that use these songs as wartime mantras, giving a sense of patriotism on the homefront, and in the suburban home.

There are bands like Five Finger Death Punch and Disturbed, that take it one step further, and travel to these military camps, to show their and the United States appreciation for their services.

As long as there’s war, there’s going to be the music that shows support for these brave troops.


The “Anti-American” that is Psy

“Gangnam Style” became just another spoke on the wheel of the ever turning one hit wonder bicycle of popular culture. In the “Marketing” article, Chang explains the ins and outs of what makes the next successful dance craze. Without the internet, trends like “Gangnam Style”, The Harlem Shake, and others, would definitely not have spread like wild fire.

After reading this article, it made me think of the real reason for this song, and how people across the globe just didn’t care, only concerning themselves with knowing they have a new trend to overly repeat until they become sick of it and move onto the next. Have lyrics and personal background become so completely irrelevant in today’s society? Maybe if they looked deeper, before the craze began, seeing this artist as the American-hating man that he is?

Even though there are a few interpretations for this song he performed are mixed, hey still convey the same message–he dislikes Americans.

From CNN:

Kill those — Yankees who have been torturing Iraqi captives
Kill those — Yankees who ordered them to torture
Kill their daughters, mothers, daughters-in-law, and fathers
Kill them all slowly and painfully

Solidarity? “Leave Miley Alone!”

Let’s face it, sexuality is a big factor in a lot of mainstream pop music performances and lyrics. Miley is just running with the times, and finding her own identity, whether it means making a jaw-dropping, internet buzzing, highly commercialized performance on one of the biggest mainstream media ridden award ceremonies of the year, or stretching it band that, using that same performance, plus many other controversial numbers, and creating a successful tour from it.

In the Jezebel/BattyMamzelle piece, one of the first eyebrow raisers that came to me was her mention of Miley using  “all black women as literal props (they were teddy bears).” First and foremost, unless the author of this article was in fact one of those backup dancers herself, how does she know they were all black women? Is she, herself being stereotypical and assuming? If anyone were the (mindless) prop, it were Robin Thicke. And if so, who cares! If she wants a “black sound” and to steer herself away from that image the Disney Channel ever so successfully created for her, then let her. Personally, I feel that all this buzz created about her was exactly what her management wanted, therefore making curious people (like myself) attend her concerts, creating more hype, more controversy, and most of all, more cash.

11 Things I Overheard During Miley Cyrus’ Bangerz Tour


The Third Man Record Booth

Jack White, formerly of the White Stripes, owns a record company in Nashville and they recently installed a vintage recording booth from the 40s in their main store. The booth is open to the public, so anybody can go in and record for 2 minutes straight to vinyl. The record is pressed right then and there and you can take it home or send it to somebody right from the store. Its a gimmicky sort of move, but I think its sort of cool.

Neil Young recently recorded an entire album inside the booth and is releasing it later this month. He and Jack White appeared on The Tonight Show last night to talk about the booth and the new record. They actually bought the booth into the studio with them and Neil cut a record live on the show. Just goes to show that even some crappy sounding, lo-fi equipment can still have a use in these nostalgic days.


Understanding the use of nu-metal in brainwashing soldiers

Before this article established that the musical focus is metal, I noticed the author drop the name of Metallica’s debut album, “Kill ‘Em All”. This reminded me of what is likely the most significant war themed metal video – Metallica’s “One”, of their fourth (and last in their original thrash style) record …And Justice For All.

The differences between “One” and the tunes and videos discussed in the article lie in both composition and message. The nu-metal tunes are very simple and primal, no real craft to the songwriting. Metallica’s piece contains many parts, or “riffs”, which change throughout the song. Metallica also includes dynamic changes – the song starts softly and becomes aggressive and “thrashy” as the tune progresses.

This kind of tune would not prove effective to brainwash soldiers or pump them up for the battlefield. They would be required to use their heads to follow the song, and might be too reflective on the situation on hand for the military’s taste. This is even more apparent when we think of the lyrics. An excerpt from “One”:

Darkness imprisoning me
All that I see
Absolute horror
I cannot live
I cannot die
Trapped in myself
Body my holding cell

Landmine has taken my sight
Taken my speech
Taken my hearing
Taken my arms
Taken my legs
Taken my soul
Left me with life in hell

Not exactly lyrics a soldier wants to hear before going to war. “Die, motherfucker, die” is a bit more fitting.

My thoughts on this is also tied to the stigma that nu-metal has as being music for the unintelligent. No offense to Morgan, but the music is generally simple, primal, often ignorant in subject matter. I could go on with other reasons a large constituency of metal fans frown upon the subgenre, one other example is Slayer’s 1998 release “Diabolus In Musica” which borrows elements from nu-metal, but my conclusion is nu-metal is a great marketing and brainwashing asset for the military, as the kind of minds they want are those willing to kill for an adrenaline rush and not think deeply on the subject.

I know my perspective is a bit blunt and potentially offensive. But I also don’t have much of a tolerance for mediocrity in music which encourages me to not hold back my perspective. I think that’s better for the purposes of this class, anyway.

Metallica – One:

Okay, I do have a soft spot for some nu-metal. But the production and composition I’d say is a few steps up from Drowning Pool or Dope.

Sevendust – Black:

My ears, My eyes, Kill me now.

How pain can be inflicted by using music as a form of torture? A former detainee stated that it felt like being beat with a hammer but at the same time it doesn’t feel like you’re getting beat physically. He also said that because you are being forced to listen to something, the sound resonated through your whole body forcibly which can be damaging. Music as a form of torture is definitely mentally exhausting, I think we all have been there with some type of music they hate.

Yes I will say it, Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus should be the prime culprits of musical torture for many. I’ve seen what forced music can do to people, they change.. They become a whole different person… they become a monster. This article mentions the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) using sound as a form of torture for some time now, do you think they have Justin Bieber on their play list?

As most of us being a media studies major, I’d like to share, in my opinion, what can be considered another form of torture –visual torture. When I started my MEDST 200 class, my fellow classmates and I were introduced to the course with early experimental films. I can tell you that I did not have a good first day of class. As students we are conditioned to follow the rules and processes of film, experimental films takes what you are taught to do and burn them into ashes.


Filmstudie by Hans Richter is not too bad, I didn’t want to kill myself, I only wanted to remove my eyeballs and throw them into the ocean. There are some experimental videos that I cannot physically watch because it is simply intolerable. Now if you can tolerate this video while listening to Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus, you might want to sign up for some espionage work for the USA. If you ever become captive at least you know you can withstand the no-touch tortures!

Killing Me Softly with His Song

I started reading this article with the expectation of finding the case of the US military using Red Hot Chili Peppers as torture in Guantanamo, mainly because it’s a recent example which comes to mind, but personally because I agree that the band’s music is torture. That controversy included more musically abrasive acts, such as the industrial group Skinny Puppy who recently and famously published a letter claiming to sue the US Government for the value of the use of their recordings for such a heinous purpose.

By that logic I want to sue the FCC for allowing radio stations to play Red Hot Chili Peppers. But on a serious note…

I’m also reminded of music as torture in A Clockwork Orange. Alex is brainwashed against his criminal ways by torturous images pair with Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, his favorite. Although that case is one of rehabilitation, Guantanamo’s objective was to get suspected terrorists to talk.

The end of the article discusses the uses of researching music as a form of inflicting pain. One of the uses mentioned is music therapy. I’m not sure what the difference is between the examples listed in the article and music therapy as you’d find in a practice, aside from positive versus negative. I feel that music used in ways that changes how an individual feels is by default therapy.

I want to bring up Red Hot Chili Peppers again. I feel Nickelback gets unfairly labeled as terrible disproportionately to RHCP. Both bands are bland. There’s so much bland and unthoughtful music out there, lazily composed, that gets a pass today by listeners, members of our class included. To me, being boring and me hearing that is the ultimate form of music as torture. Kill Mumford and Sons.


Sounds Like the Mall of America: Programmed Music and the Architectonics of Commercial Space

I really enjoyed this reading and can relate to it a lot. Today music is huge, it surrounds us everywhere. People listen to music to cheer them up when they’re upset, to get more pumped when working out in the gym or to just play in the background when you want to focus to write an essay. Businesses and companies realize the effect music can have on people so they started to incorporate specific music genres to different stores for different audiences to help bring sales up. I believe it works in big businesses, i’ve already done my own test and found out that it works in my store. It isnt just music though, movie theaters spray a popcorn like smell to enhance the craving to attract the public to the movies. When ever I walk past a theater I have to hold my breath or else I have to stop myself from going in to get some popcorn. Next time you go into a store see if they have anything in the store that shows that they are trying to keep you there and wanting you to purchase something. see if they’re is a certain smell or type if music or even something small as free food or candy.

Does the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame really mean anything?

If ever there were a polarizing institution in the world of music, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame would be at the top of the list. Though considered by many to be an esteemed institution, it has been derided in recent years for its vague criteria for inclusion and its seemingly arbitrary induction choices. According to hall’s official website, a band is eligible for induction 25 years after their first official release and must have demonstrated “unquestionable musical excellence.” In addition, factors such as an artist’s musical influence, length of career, and innovation in style and technique are all taken into consideration. The subjective nature of all of these categories makes the process for induction one of mystery, and their choice in artists over the years does not help their case. How, for instance, an artist like LL Cool J made it in before a band like Deep Purple is an enigma to many.

Just a few weeks ago, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 29th annual induction ceremony was held at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn and open to the public for the very first time in New York. I was fortunate enough to be able to attend, and despite the hall’s controversies, it was an interesting experience to be present for a big moment in a few band’s histories. The selected inductees for 2014 were Peter Gabriel, Linda Ronstadt, Cat Stevens, The E Street Band, Hall & Oates, Kiss and Nirvana.

Within this lineup alone, there were discrepancies in what lineups of each band would be inducted. Only Kiss’s original lineup was included, but the current E Street Band was welcomed along with their original keyboardist and drummer who hadn’t been in the band in decades. For Nirvana, only the ‘classic’ lineup of the band was added, failing to include the drummer who played on their debut album and wrote multiple drum parts for ‘Nevermind,’ which broke them into the mainstream.

Oddly enough, Kiss, who always made a big deal about themselves, shirked off the induction as being too little, too late. They refused to perform and Paul Stanley blatantly insulted the hall’s induction process in their acceptance speech. On the other hand, Nirvana, despite being on a major label, steered clear of the path of becoming ‘rock stars’ during their career, but accepted their induction with open arms. They performed at the ceremony for the first time in the 20 years since Kurt Cobain’s death, which was the highlight of the night. Kurt Cobain was an outspoken feminist and the band chose to honor his music by performing with a rotating-lineup of front-women: Joan Jett, Kim Gordon, St. Vincent, and Lorde.

Its shaky ideals may spoil the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s legitimacy as an institution, but that is not to say it can’t serve any purpose. For a band like Kiss, the induction was a tiny blip on the radar of their career. It brought their original lineup together for a brief moment, and that meant a lot for their fans regardless of what it meant to the band. For Nirvana, it gave a band that fell apart under grave circumstances a reason to celebrate for the first time in a long time. 20 years after their abrupt disbanding, they were able to pay tribute to what they achieved and give the music a brief, but new, life.

Video Games- Where music is heading?

Last class, we saw 3 great presentations on music in video games. We saw the evolution of music in video games starting with Pong, Space Invader and Mario then moving into the different type of music in Tony Hawk games and lastly music in more current video games like Call of Duty.

We heard the presenters talk about video games as a sort of “new” thriving industry for music. People are no longer buying CD’s like they used to and the music industry is suffering in that way. However the number of people who play video games is astounding and we heard a statistic from one of the presenters that said that the average time of video game play in a household was 13 hours a week (I think, I’m not positive I remember that correctly). Although we may not necessarily buy video games with the purpose of listening to the “background” music, we are nonetheless listening to it the entire time we are playing the game. This is a great opportunity for musicians to gain popularity and get their music heard.

As I listened to the presenters in class, I couldn’t help but think about a conversation I recently had with my boyfriend. He has bought Grand Theft Auto 5 when it came out and had been playing it I would say around 10 hours a week. Recently, we were driving in his car and he put on a Kendrick Lamar song for me to listen to. After we listened to it, he told me that it had played on GTA and that was the first time he was introduced to it and after hearing it on the game, he went on to download the whole album to listen to as he drives in real life (you listen to music as you drive in GTA as well).

I thought this was a perfect example of what video game music is becoming. You may not think to buy an album but you can’t wait for a game to come out, and through this game you learn of new music and in the end you may end up buying that album as my boyfriend had. I think it’s actually a brilliant technique because people are very much into video games and they may feel cool playing them and in turn think the music they hear is cool as well and this leads to the recognition of the artist and so on. The game itself and the music go hand in hand with each other and create a certain experience that I would imagine to be beneficial to both the games’ sales as well as the music’s sales (or at least recognition).

All in all, gaming music has definitely come a long way. Although as was said in class, there is a certain nostalgia for the olden days of the Super Mario Bros. and Donkey Kong music.

I thought this meme fits this post perfectly: