Social Commentary Paper On “Imagine” And “Let It Be” (Other (Not Listed) Sample)
Overview of assignment: The Social Commentary paper is a combination of research and critical thinking. Only the second section, “Discussion of the Social Issue,” requires any research. In fact, no other outside information should be used in any of the other sections. 1500 words, minimum. *NOTE: quoted material (lyrics, sources), headings, titles, and references are not counted as original writing. In that light, you should aim for a total closer to 1650 words.
In this paper, you will choose two songs, each from a different artist (or band), preferably from a different genre, and compare how they address a single topic of broad social interest (social issue).
Nature of Assignment
This is a formal writing assignment requiring research AND critical thinking. There will be sources, 2 minimum (described below,) that you are required to include in a bibliography, and cite at points of their use in the body. DO NOT use an artist's song/performance video as a source for discussion, though you may use a video source that contains information about the issue.
Issues of broad concern such as, the environment, natural or manmade disasters, child welfare/abuse/neglect/molestation, domestic violence, rape, abortion, gang violence, class warfare, war, terrorism, propaganda, politics, national image, military service, religion*, racism, racially-motivated violence, slavery, human trafficking, materialism, among others, are acceptable. In some cases, songs of a more personal nature are acceptable if they speak to a broad audience. Topics such as mental illness, loneliness, drug or alcohol abuse (substance abuse) would fall into this category. Generally speaking, songs about love, sex, cars, the joys of rock and roll, or sports are not acceptable. Topics so general as to include everyone, like death, should be covered from the standpoint of the issues surrounding it; survivors dealing with a loved one's death, or views on the after-life are acceptable. When in doubt, consult your instructor. *There are songs in any given faith whose purpose is to connect to the faithful (ex. hymns, worship or praise songs, liturgical singing). These would be inappropriate. Songs that address various issues surrounding faith would be appropriate.
NOT ACCEPTABLE as an issue – Music, music business, artists, groups, genres or any historical perspective on music used to protest or bring attention to things. This is where a few students misinterpret the title of this assignment (without reading these instructions) and assume that this paper is on the subject of social-commentary music. It is not. It is about two specific songs that are centered on one specific issue.
Selecting your songs - Choose two songs that have the same social condition or issue at their core. They do not have to take the same position, or even have a position, but it should be fairly evident that the same issue is embodied in both. Further, the two songs should be written or performed by different artists, each from a different genre of popular music. Other than introducing an artist as “hard rock” or “hip-hop,” no further discussion of the genre need ensue. If you are unsure, you should ask your instructor. (see lists below of songs to avoid and songs to never use)
Social Commentary Paper on “Imagine” and “Let it Be”
Alas, the perpetual battle between utilitarianism and ideologues pervades every bit of contemporary society. Should humankind fight vigorously for an unattainable utopia or should they let go and find a happy ‘complacency' in our grim world? Maybe these are outdated, oversimplified tracks of thought; however, the question still stands: Can a perfect world be achieved? Or do we, as humans, make a happy collective sigh and say ‘oh well.' McCartney and Lennon were discussing these polemics in Imagine and Let it Be. The dichotomy of their reasoning is not only suggestive of their personal turmoil but their ideological differences as well.
II. Issue Discussion
The two songs, “Imagine” and “Let it Be” were composed just a year apart, throughout and after the chaotic split-up of the Beatles which was preceded by the disputed Let it Be/Get Back Sessions (Fricke 58). Imagine, composed in 1971 on Lennon's first solo album and Let it Be, composed during these sessions in 1970 could easily be construed as a discourse between the two on their diametrically contrasting worldviews (Roberts 292).
McCartney's “Let it Be” is a song that urges its listeners to forget and let it go. In life, many individuals find themselves stressed, worried, and eventually overwhelmed by life's many occurrences. In a sense, Let it Be asserts that people should live without thinking, or rather, over thinking, and let things fall into place as they have been predestined by a higher power (Blaney 50-51). The conventional wisdom is that McCartney composed this song for his late mother but in reference to song facts, an image of his mother talking to him was the inspiration behind the song. At the time Let it Be was being composed, McCartney was a worried and anxious man due to the division within the band. The dream itself was impressive. His late mother appearing to him and telling him not to worry about everything was very supernatural (Levy 87). It brought him the peace he much needed and composing the song further encouraged listeners to lead lives free of anxiety and worry.
In Lennon's “Imagine,” the song screams peace. Imagine openly asserts that Lennon desires peace between the earth's inhabitants and the song was an effective way of delivering this message globally (Harry 382). Once more, in reference to song facts, the song was intended to portray the message of peace. Imagine contains a political message which is sugarcoated with melodious tunes. Lennon chose this softer approach to appeal to a wider audience hoping they would listen to the message (Tim 288). The music video for this song successfully portrays this message. In the video, Yoko Ono dressed as an Indian and Lennon dressed as a cowboy. This wardrobe strategically says that everyone, alike or different, needs to come together, disregarding the past and all the differences, and become one.
III. Comparison of Songs
Imagine is a discourse of optimism for an illusory, quixotic world, free of famine, religious strife, and war. Imagine is ardently anti-capitalist, anti-religious, and anti-nationalistic. It is easily depicted as a sequel to Plato's Republic in which the beauties of society prevail, and there are perfect spiritual, political, and social orders. Nonetheless, this song does not advocate a ‘solution' or an ‘answer,' it merely abets the listener to ‘imagine' these things.
Let it Be has a deep cultural impact but delivered in a different way. Many Catholics highly regard the song because they misinterpret the intr...
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