What happened to the lyrics?

So what happened to music these days? I mean, why does every second song have to be about sex … what happened to the story or narrative behind the song? It seems that these days the idea that “sex sells” is taken to the extreme with overt sexual imagery now being characterized lyrically to the point that it is basically rammed down ones throat. According to Jean Kilbourne, modern cultures vapid inclusion of sexual imagery trivializes the subject matter as sex is now used to sell virtually everything. This has been duly noted in recent studies of the top-selling American country, pop & R&B songs, which found that 92% of the 174 songs that made it into the Billboard Top 10 in 2009 contained sexual references. Notwithstanding that, an average of 10.49 sex-related phases were contained in each song. This overt sexual lyricism is only getting worse. (article)

It was only the other day where I was walking down the street and overheard a little girl humming along to Neon Hitch’s recent hit “Fuck you better” with a highly eroticized lyric that states that “she can love you good, but I can fuck you better.” Such bareback eroticism seems to be the norm in mainstream female pop-culture with the likes of Britney, Rhianna, Madonna and even Katy Perry hopping on the bandwagon of printing money by selling erotic lyrics. S&M by Rihianna is a prime example, a song literally about bondage. I am no prude by any means, but it seems that younger generations are being exposed to such overt sexual imagery at increasingly early ages just through the consumption of mass culture. The pornographic has somehow become the norm of music culture. This is because sexualized appearances are seemingly rewarded by society; women are somewhat encouraged by sexualize themselves in order to gain acceptance (Kilbourne.) I know sex sells but where has the music gone?

Jean Kilbourne’s “Killing Us Softly 4: Advertising’s Image of Women,” Northampton, MA : Media Education Foundation, 2010.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tTr4jtSjY7Y (Fuck you Better – Neon Hitch)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KdS6HFQ_LUc (S&M – Rhianna)

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