#Music #Lyrics #Social Responsibility


By NaSa

My husband and I were going outstation by car. Long drive and music seem inseparable to us but our choices in music are poles apart. Whereas, I like more of Sufi music, Punjabi folk, most songs from the era of Mohd. Rafi, Mannadey and Lata Mangeshkar and some select contemporary Bollywood numbers, my husband likes all kinds of Punjabi songs but for Punjabi folk. Music, when of choice delights senses and when not becomes a punishment.  Therefore, for the fear that the journey might not turn into a punishment for any of us and to accommodate our choices, we devised a plan – to play his songs in the first half and my songs in the second half.

The likes of the songs played in the first half were ‘Party all night,’ ‘Amplifier’ and ‘Jaguar.’ Such songs might not be in my list of favourites but they definitely provided me food for thought. These songs are hit party numbers and most contemporary music lovers love them. These days, no party fits into the tag ‘#party’ sans these so called ‘party numbers.’ They have become a rage among youth and kids. Such is the height of the popularity of these songs and the likes of them that even the elderly or the non-party animals too know them because they are being played incessantly on radio channels, TV channels and trending on YouTube. Those who don’t watch TV, surf Internet or tune into radio, get to listen these songs from the toddlers in their families. Toddlers these days know more raps than rhymes.

Once upon a time, songs used to have souls (herein after songs with souls will be referred to as ‘SWSs) and those who had souls survive even today; as they say souls never die. However, these days songs have trends (herein after songs with trends will be referred to as ‘SWTs’) and a trend has a tendency to change with changing times. Not only the music has become more trendy and peppy and is full of innovation and techniques, a lot of experimentation is happening in lyrics writing too.

Contrasting are the USPs of SWSs and SWTs. Whereas SWSs had a rich vocabulary and would add more words to the dictionary of listeners , SWTs make people who use it, proud of their slangs and abusive language; after all, when used in a song they become part of an art.

The SWSs would talk about anything under the Sun including ‘phool’ ‘patti’ ‘padosan’ ‘ghar’ ‘dil’ ‘dhadkan’ ‘darr’ ‘dushman’ ‘dost’ depending on their mood and situation on which they were based. However, SWTs would solely talk about girls and the variation lies in whether it talks of a girl’s handbag, or her selfie, or her dress, or her glares, or her madness over rich boyfriends or her infidelity. If only our politicians also start thinking so profoundly about women’s safety, empowerment, education and participation, the future of the women of this country will shine.

We recently heard a statement of Aamir Khan about the rising intolerance in the country. That statement was criticised by many saying that such statements adversely affect India’s reputation around the globe. Let’s see what kind are the musical statements like “Jee bhar ke nach le baby, champagne ke shower mein, yaar tere ka friend minister baitha hai jo power mein’ and ‘Kaaliyan baariyan ve gaddiyaan nu mein lawaan, speed mein 200 vi di chalaan, police de samne mein  nai rukda i am a knight rider?’ There might have been another angle to look at these lyrics but on the face value it seems they convey that it’s cool not to respect traffic rules or other laws and why won’t it be when you have a minister friend.  Though, I am not sure of what impression such lyrics give of our youth and the strictness of rules and regulations in our country?

An argument against criticism of such lyrics could be that these songs are just for fun and are not intended to influence one’s thought process. But the reality is just like movies have an impact on their viewers, music too has an impact on its listeners and that influence is all the more when we have videos supporting music because a visual is bound to have more effect than and when combined with an audio.

We cannot get away from our social responsibility in the name of fun and it’s not that there is no fun without obscenity or crossing limits of decency. Melody and lyrics are heart and soul of a song and I don’t think injustice should be done to either of them.

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