First off what is grunge? Google defines it as “a style of rock music characterized by a raucous guitar sound and lazy vocal delivery.” I think that is somewhat accurate but not fully. I think it needs to have an element of energy as well which this doesn’t mention. Also, I think “lazy vocal delivery” is not really accurate. They have lots of passion for their delivery so I don’t think lazy is correct.
I know it is kinda basic to post this song but it is one that really draws me in. I think its also important because I’m not a big fun of grunge or rock in general. I like it, but I don’t usually listen to it. But when it comes to songs like this, I just HAVE to listen to it. Even though it isn’t my genre, I still find it really good and enjoyable. I think this is another reason why this genre and the bands that created it are so unique. They are really able to translate their artistic expression to fans of all different types of music. It has passion, energy, heart, and talent, and people will respect that no matter what type of genre it is.
I think that this was a very interesting episode. I didn’t know too much about the Seattle music scene and I definitely did not know that so many of these bands came from Seattle, that blew my mind. Anyway, if I was to describe Nirvana to someone I would describe them as innovators that are full of energy and knew how to create a new style of music that would appeal to many different types of people. Grunge was a great typer of music and a huge opportunity for bands in America. I think the video was pretty accurate showing how it still influences music today. I wasn’t sure how important it was to have Macklemore in there…but I get how it is showing how Seattle still develops plenty of independent artists.
Going to Unplugged, I would definitely say that it was an important show culturally. Culture traveled much slower back then and having a show where you could showcase more “underground” artists and people of that nature would have been really useful. In addition, I think it is just a really cool concept overall. To have bands on national TV, playing in a much more casual setting, is something you could never have really seen. Nirvana played at their shows with super high energy and really loud and passionate which is awesome, but sometimes you want to see them in a more relaxed environment like they had in their Unplugged performance. I actually watched them perform “Come as You Are” and I thought it was a really incredible performance. Definitely going to be listening to a lot more Nirvana and Soundgarden, etc. after this week.
I think this phenomenon helps to explain a lot of the anger and other emotions that ended up being present in music over the next decade. I think of other artists like System of a Down (even though they came a little later) and bands like that that helped to express this emotion. The rust belt being hit by economic hardship continues even to this day so I thought them mentioning that in the video was really interesting. I want to know more about how they were “overeducated and underemployed”. Maybe they just beat the technological revolution and had lots of computer skills that there weren’t exactly jobs for yet? They did use a lot of tech in their music. For the song, I analyzed I used “Suck” by Nine Inch Nails released in 1992. The start of the song has these lyrics
There is no god up in the sky tonight
No sign of heaven anywhere in sight
All that was true is left behind
Once I could see, now I am blind
Don’t want your dreams you try to sell
This disease I give to myself
I think this explains very well their thoughts. Their parents had grown up in the 50s and 60s where things were very prosperous for America. Everybody had jobs and even factory jobs had good pay with great benefits. American corporations were roaring and everybody was good. That had changed significantly by this time. American corporations certainly weren’t as big and successful as they are now. I could see why they would have some angst about their future. They were probably nervous and maybe even scared and they choose to interrupt these feelings as anger. I am still a bit confused though so I hope our class today can help clear my thoughts on this.
I think that Ball Culture did not appropriate other cultures in creating their own culture. They certainly used influences, in fashion, in models, in music, and more. But all cultural movements use some sort of inspiration. They changed these basic elements more than enough needed to create their own distinct culture. I don’t think you could say that there was any other community in America like the Ball Culture in New York. They had to make their own culture, they weren’t accepted in their own communities, in the cultures they grew up in, and because of this, they had to make their own community they could belong to. The interesting thing is the people in the culture. They had to endure many hardships and had to deal with not only homophobia and transphobia but also racism. This is why their culture is so incredible. I had never heard of this culture before and at first, I wasn’t really interested but after learning more I’m very impressed with the well-developed culture they made for themselves. In terms of specific queens, I think Venus Xtravaganza was a great example. She seemed to be really into the model culture and knew a lot about the different models. She also seemed to know a lot about fashion as well and was really committed to her family. I cant think of any other famous figures who emulate Ball Culture but I think Madonna is a perfect example of cultural appropriation. Other students have expanded on this so I won’t go much further than that. I’d like to know if there is any sort of culture like Ball Culture left around and how that would look like in a world with Facebook and other tools that make throwing things like Balls much easier.
NWA’s music had a widespread popularity. People who have no connection to black impoverished communities still listen to their music today. Why do you think this relative niche music appeals to so many types of people?
I think the music of NWA has a wide appeal for many reasons. I think one of the main reasons is people want to think that they have struggled in their lives or that the struggles they do have are serious. Everybody has some sort of personal struggles. While I as a white dude growing up in the suburbs didn’t have to worry about gang violence, I still worried about school pressures and social acceptance and other things of that nature. Obviously, these problems are much less serious or directly threatening than worrying about being shot every day, but it is still nice to listen to music about overcoming struggles. I can listen to NWA’s music and relate at least to the idea that we both struggle with something, even though we struggle with very different issues. Also, while many people don’t struggle with the same issues that NWA did, we can still respect their struggles and the animosity they have to deal with and can feel sympathy for them and their goals. We can enjoy their fight against inequalities and support them even if we don’t experience it directly ourselves. In addition, the music is just good and catchy. Their songs aren’t just bland poetry about inequality, its done with great beats and flows and catchy lyrics. So that adds another reason to enjoy the music. I see similarities with Eminem. He doesn’t rap about race as much but he raps about being a poor father in songs like “Lose Yourself” and while I cant directly relate, I can appreciate his struggle and enjoy listening to him fight against it on a catchy song with great rhymes. Ultimately, music can be enjoyed by all types of different people, even if you can’t relate to the issues in the song directly yourself.
I decided to do my hack on 2Pac’s song “Trapped”. It is off of his first album and I think it is a great way to see the early 2Pac before he started to get more into beefs and drama and other things of that nature. In this song he talks about how the police and their mistreatment of black people make him feel trapped in his own neighborhood. He knows that this isn’t the way he wants to live:
“You know they got me trapped in this prison of seclusion
Happiness, living on the streets is a delusion”
The use of the word prison has a double meaning here as he feels like he is “trapped in prison” in his own community due to his lack of freedom from harassment from the police, but he is also likely to end up in actual prison when the police discriminate against him and his people as much as they do. I think this was an expression of how he felt especially when he was young which helps to explain his activism. His first manager mentions that 2Pac wanted to “ride around the Bay with video cameras to monitor the police” (Stanford, 10). 2Pac didn’t just hate feeling trapped, he wanted to do something about it and actually change his situation. Later in the song, he says:
Over the years I done a lot of growin’ up
Gettin drunk, throwin’ up, cuffed up, then I said I had enough
There must be another route, way out to money and fame
I changed my name, played a different game
Tired of being trapped in this vicious cycle
This goes perfectly with 2Pac’s drive to be a force of change in his community. He didn’t just want to accept feeling Trapped. He wanted to change the world and he did. He went into the communities he wanted to help and tried to do tangible things to help spread positive change. While he wasn’t perfect, the dedication he showed was admirable and I think that overall, he left the world a more positive place than he found it.
Do you think The Real World is an accurate reflection of American culture? Consider gender, race, age, religion, sexuality, and/or social class in your answer. You are welcome to discuss how “real” reality television is.
I think The Real World is somewhat representative of American Culture. I saw an episode from the season where they go to Paris. On the one hand, obviously, most Americans can’t afford to travel to Paris in their mid-20s which is a way to say this season specifically at least isn’t very representative of American Culture. There were some aspects though that were real. Some of the conflicts seem like things that would happen to me too. People living in a crowded apartment, and people doing little things that annoy you, is something I have experienced my whole college life. So in that sense, it is somewhat realistic. But in terms of representativeness, I don’t think its that great. I didn’t see a lot of diversity in any sense. They all seemed like pretty similar people. In terms of social class, they all seemed like they were pretty well off so not a lot of difference there. I think this speaks to how “real” reality television actually is. A real reality show wouldn’t be that entertaining. It would be people waking up, going to school/work, coming home working on some projects then watching tv or doing homework or something like that. I have heard they tell them to drum up drama in these shows which seems necessary to get people to watch. I have never been a fan really of these reality shows, I’d rather just watch a comedy or game shows, but to the people I know who love these types of shows, it seems to fit their desires perfectly.
So after watching the documentary, I learned a lot about the music culture of the 1980s. More specifically, my question to answer is about the censorship. I could honestly see why the parents and others would think the music went too far. They had never seen anything like it before, and it probably did shock them. I think its interesting that the solution they came up with in that time, the explicit lyrics warning, is still the method used today. I know personally that I don’t even notice it anymore. It’s on nearly every album and so it doesn’t really mean anything. My mom growing up wouldn’t let me play violent video games like call of duty until I was 13, but she would let me listen to any music I wanted. I grew up listening to a lot of the bands that were featured in the documentary and some of them promoted violence or sex, but I guess to my mom music was different than video games. I also think the idea of “Explicit content” is so arbitrary. Is it just for vulgarness? Is swearing automatically explicit? Does it have to involve sex? (Apparently, Google thinks so as it defines explicit as “stated clearly and in detail, leaving no room for confusion or doubt” or “describing or representing sexual activity in a graphic fashion.”) I think one could argue explicit could be describing bad things without using vulgarity or sex. I think the rappers rapping about poverty in their communities could be “explicit”. Kid Cudi has a song “Down and Out” where he raps:
My life you could not live it
For the things that I’ve seen have been too damn explicit
But soon you will get it on a CD with some credits
I provide my grind, mixed with no edits
I think this wording of explicit shows my argument that explicit could just mean describing very bad situations, and therefore it shouldn’t be labeled as a warning for explicit content if they were just trying to go after sexuality and violence. Ultimately though, the warnings had minimal effect. It is easy to get a hold of CDs even if your parents don’t want you to listen. You could sneak MTV on when your parents were out of the house. I am curious what would’ve happened if they were able to “ban” lyrics that were considered too explicit. It wouldn’t stand up in court but the public arguments over that decision would be very interesting to watch.