Art and Music

Purpose:  The purpose of this assignment is to explore the connections that exist between popular music and the political, social, and personal issues of our time.

Assignment:  In 1977 the United States launched the Voyager spacecraft to explore outer space, specifically Jupiter and Saturn.  Anticipating the possibility of intelligent life someday finding the probe, the contents of the craft included a gold record with information intended to represent the diversity of life and culture on earth.  The idea for including music on the record was to symbolically introduce earths culture to whomever may find this record through some of our most significant music.  Among the many musical pieces included on the record were recordings of Johnny B. Goode by Chuck Berry, Melancholy Blues by Louis Armstrong, and “Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground” by Delta Blues artist Blind Willie Johnson.

Prompt:  For this paper. you are to select one song that you would consider including on a similar recording that represents todays society and culture.  You must include the name of the song and the artist whose recording you are referring to (i.e. is it a cover?).

You paper should interpret the song as a sign (see below) and explain why this song is an appropriate representation of contemporary society.  This interpretation should address the songs:

    Performers attitudes
    Visual elements IF you are looking at a video

Though this is an essay presenting your personal perspective, your opinions must be supported with evidence details.  Evidence could include:

    Personal experience
    Reference to specific lyrics in the song
    Analysis of the style of music
    Historical musical references (examples from class or the book or elsewhere)
    Social events or issues that are part of contemporary life


    Include specific details from the song (lyrics, style etc.), specific references from contemporary life, issues, and events
    Is your interpretation clear? Do you make sufficient references to the songs content to support your interpretation?
    Quality of your writing (grammar and spelling)
    Clarity of your explanation of why this song would best represent contemporary life.

I recommend reading these first two brief articles.  I think they will provide helpful guidance about the idea of a generational song. link:

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