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Modern Music Essay

By Matilda Ensér.



The music has developed and changed a lot during the last decades. All from different genres to artists. Music has inspired fans and made artists into rock stars. Music has a special impact on us which expresses hopes and disappointments, makes us happy or sad. The music changed and still changed with time. The music changes under just 10 years, as it did between the 70s and the 80s.


The 1970s was a revolutionary time in music history. The 70’s music style was like a bridge from the rebelliousness of the 1960s and the happy songs that are characteristics of the 1980s. After the counterculture of the 60s, the 70s created a trend of relaxing music as well as dance music. This happened because people got tired of hearing the battle that happened the last decade. Many people started sough to dance clubs to enjoy and have fun, and happy times. It was out of this idea the genre disco and the disco movements started. There were of course still musicians that expressed the ills of society and the typical punk music in the latter part of the decade. Even though the rebellious idea had died down shortly after Woodstock 1969, there were still people that disagreed with the establishment and the way the country was being run. Most people just thought they were just looking for another way to vent their frustration, which helped to give rise to the fun that disco music provided. The 70s was not a very unique decade in terms of creating innovations in musical styles and genres, but it was unique at the part how it connected the hippie lifestyle in the 60s with the yuppie lifestyle that occurred in the 80s.


Disco was a big part of the 70s and was the biggest genre of the decade. Now in retrospect disco, was the definition of the 70s. It was from the United States urban nightlife scene where it occurred. Many think the disco occurred as a result of a reaction against the dominance of rock music. Disco was the music you heard on the radio as well the music you danced to. Although its popularity was relatively short, the genre hosted a lot of songs and artists that people are still dancing to today and had a large influence on the fashions of the decade.

Many people say that Van McCoy’s “The Hustle” was the first disco song created. Gloria Gaynor also enjoyed the disco popularity with her “I Will Survive”. Many other popular songs were created, such as YMCA - The Village People, Dancing Queen - ABBA & Bohemian Rhapsody - Queen.


Funk music came out of the R&B, Jazz and Soul music of the late 60s after musicians put in more beats and psychedelic tones into their songs. This genre saw the height of its popularity in the 70s with artist like James Brown, Sly, Parliament-Funkadelic and Family Stone. Funk was known for its danceable beats and strange costumes. The funk rhythms were more complex than soul music and often involved lots of drums and electric bass. Which was an instrument that hadn’t been featured as prominently in popular music before the funk’s development. Sometimes funk included horns, such as saxophones and trumpets. When you listen to funk songs you can hear horns pop out aggressive notes. James Brown was an icon for the funk and is thought as the creator of funk. He developed the funk sound into the 70s and guided many other artists into the genre. Funk was famous for its no limits with psychedelic tones. Many famous songs with the new style were created, such as “Superstiches” with Stevie Wonder, “More Bounce to the Ounce” with Zapp and “Don’t Stop Til U Get Enough” with Micheal Jackson.


Many big hits were made during the 70s and artists that got really famous such as ABBA, Queen, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye and The Rolling Stones. Many big hits were made such as “Ain't no Mountain High Enough” - Diana Ross, “I’ll be there” - The Jackson 5 and “Let it be” - The Beatles.

The music of the 1980s was all about image and with the popularity of MTV, the image that made artists became more important than ever. When the music came during the decade, nothing was understated, not the sound, not the fashion, not even charity. This was a huge change compared to the last decades where the music was very important. This was the start of a period of great income difference which was reflected in the music. There were several new genres that popped up including Hip Hop, New Wave and Hair Metal, which all influenced the music. This happened after the disco music fell out of fashion. The 80s is often remembered for an increase in the use of digital recording. Many electronic genres were developed including electro, techno, house and freestyle. The cable network MTV (Music Television) influenced the music during the 80s. It was the first network to make music videos, with its debut on August 1st 1981. When the first music video came out “Video Killed the Radio Star” music would forever change and the focus would shift from music and lyrics to fashion and theatrics. Since the changing concept was created a whole new style of pop was made.


Pop was a big part of the music in the 80s. Pop stars and their music changed thanks to MTV and the focus on image was greater. A new group of pop stars became iconic mascote for the genre pop and defined the decade through their talent, fashion and personality. Some of them were Whitney Houston, Micheal Jackson, Madonna and Price as examples. They became huge and their level of fame and success hasn't been seen since Elvis Presley and The Beatles. They influenced fashion through their music videos thanks to MTV. Their songs sat the standard of what pop music should be like and were able to navigate pop culture and keep themselves relevant. Therefore we still today compare today’s pop with their music.


Greater public, gossip, fashion and an increased obsession grew during pop culture. Changes in technology happened and it was now a better way to listen to music, thanks to CDs, cassettes and MTV.

Many old pop stars that already had experienced success and once been popular as a part of a group tried their own solo career now. They updated their looks to keep up with fashion and tried a new style of pop. They brought a sense of nostalgia from the old days music in their new songs where the styles were updated, which made them popular again.

The hip hop/rap genre originated in African American communities in New York in the 1970s but became popular in the late 1980s. Hip hop had a difficult time breaking into the mainstream because MTV didn’t show music videos of black artists. After much criticism, the network started to embrace black musicians like Michael Jackson, whose videos were the most popular. As the genre was published on MTV, white middle class people discovered the new genre that had been called the “new rock n’ roll”. The characteristics of this genre were old records, rapping lyrics, beat-boxing, electronic sounds and fun sounds with an underlying message. The hip hop genre was nothing that the people used to listen to before and it was in the late 80s as the Golden Age hip hop breaked through. It was at this time people started seeing hip hop and rap original. At the end of the decade MTV did a program called “Yo! MTV Raps' ' where they did hip hop and rap music globally. Hip hop artists like Run DMC and LL Cool J made the genre commercial and became icons for the genre.


Many songs and artists got really popular during the 80s. Such as Elton John, Madonna, David Bowie, Rod Stewart and Micheal Jackson got really famous. Many songs got also very famous, such as “Break my stride” - Matthew Wilder, “I wanna dance with somebody” - Whitney Houston, “Don’t stop believin” - Journey and “Beat it” - Micheal Jackson.

Even though the 1970s and 1980s was under a time of 20 years the music changed a lot, but there are also many similarities. The music styles changed which affected the whole society, by influencing fashion and theaters. But by looking at the music we can see that the 70s focused on happy music, that would make the people happier. The lyrics weren't about all the wars and rebelliousness, as it was in the last decade. People should be happy and music should be fun, which resulted in people sought to dance clubs and enjoy a fun time. It was out of this idea the genre disco was created which was a huge part of the 70s. Compared to the 80s where everything was about image, thanks to MTV. Many new technical inventions were made and nothing was understandable anymore, not the sound, not the fashion, not even charity. Everything was new. Many new genres popped up which all influenced the music and resulted in the disco genre falling out of fashion.

But there are still similarities between these two decades. The music had a very important impact on us people. The music influenced and influenced fashion and theaters as two examples. When the music style changed, the whole society changed. Music had an important role for us and our society, which it still has. But we can really see it in the 70s and the 80s. By just looking at the way they got dressed. When the disco genre was popular in the 70s everyone dressed with flared pants with the brightest colours. When the music genre later changed, the way to dress also changed.

After the 60s the way of doing music changed. So in the 70s the music’s lyrics weren't as important, music should be fun. The 80s had the same thought about music. Even though the music genre had changed over the two decades, the message of music was the same, that music should be fun.

The music changed a lot from the 70s to the 80s and how the songs were played. Aside from the different types of genres huge technical inventions were made. They started to create music different thanks to new electronic devices, which made new electronic sounds. It was also thanks to MTV which is a cable network that developed the music from the 70s to the 80s. The music was now all about image and you could now do music videos. People could now listen to music differently with CDs and cassettes which was a change from the 70s. This was a huge step from the 70s to the 80s how fast the whole image of what music is could change this fast.

I like the music from both the 1970s and 1980s. But I have always been a fan of the 80s pop, even though I really like the disco genre from the 70s. I think the 70s disco is really fun to listen to and it is great music. But I can really understand why it died out so fast, because it is a short-lived genre that can’t stay popular for a long time. It is a pretty unique genre and type of music that I like, but I can understand people that don’t like it. I sometimes go back and listen to some 70s disco music. The 70s funk is not what I usually listen to, but I think it’s okay. It is not my favorite type of music, but not the least. The 1980s pop is a genre that I often listen to and really like. I like the style of the songs and really like artists that did 80s pop such as Micheal Jackson and Elton John. Unfortunately I’m not a big fan of the 80s hip hop/rap and have never been a fan of any sort of hip hop from other decades.